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Greg Buckley @gbucking

Faculty members of Las Positas Community College developed and have begun instructing a workshop on how to spot fake news. The first of a series of workshops kicked off on Feb 28 in the LPC library.

Its intent was to increase awareness amongst Las Positas staff and students on the misinformation of media outlets, and gave them tools to use to spot credibility.

Using PowerPoint presentation, conducting polls amongst those in attendance and having them participate in a practical application of identifying credible news sources.

Nadiyah Taylor, faculty in the Early Childhood Development department, and Karin Spirn, faculty within the English department were the presenters for this Workshop.

“I’m concerned about the idea of all information is equal”, Spirn said.

In front of a packed room with some onlookers standing in the back they briefly went into the background of the world of Journalism.

Introducing principles of ethical journalism, mission statements from corporate media outlets and explaining that a Journalist is human first, and humans at times can make mistakes.

It can be even harder for a journalist when there are organizations who go out of there way to report fake news, political leadership who use there platform to question the integrity of media outlets and individual journalist who get caught up in personal desires over the idea of truth.

“The focus has always been on regurgitating information not critically analyzing it”, Taylor said.

The presenters then introduced the CRAAP test, which stands for Currency, References, Authorship, Appropriateness and Purpose. Its intent is to serve as a tool to challenge the credibility of a source, and give the user a tool in determining if the information is legit.

The CRAAP test focuses heavily on the applied skills of critically thinking, and can work as a fake news buster, although if the user isn’t willing to do the work of critical thinking, then the CRAAP test doesn’t work.

During the workshop the presenters passed out an article evaluation worksheet that engaged the room in applying the CRAAP test on an array of sources. Credibility of sources ranged from what the PowerPoint considered reliable sources to the NOPE category of credibility.

“There are college educated people who I know that I see sharing fake news throughout social media, and its partially because they don’t have the tools to evaluate it properly”, Spirn said.

The workshop was capped with them giving sources students at Las Positas could utilize to assist them in determining fake news. The LPC library contains guides and databases that can help.

Upon completion of the workshop students stayed behind to ask questions amongst each other, the presenters and some were just filling out the extra credit forms their Professors instructed them to do if they showed up.

Katie Heller-Evans, a student at Las Positas said, “I enjoyed this, and I think its useful information. It’s a hop topic today, and its good our school is doing something, so people understand about how to find out what is credible”.

Fake news is an epidemic that is sweeping the country. What is and isn’t considered fake news is starting to become a blurred line. The faculty and students of Las Positas are positioning themselves to bring the solutions to light.

The series of workshops, which will feature a rotation of presenters, will continue March 28 and be followed April 12 and May 2. They will be held in the LPC Library.

Melissa Korber, advisor to the LPC Express, was a contributor for the presentation.

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