Developing Informed Digital News Consumers in the Era of Misinformation

Eligibility: All teaching faculty, librarians, and graduate students

Amount: Each participant will receive $500 in professional development funds

Submission: Online Application

Due Date: Monday, April 10, 2017

Purpose and Description

With the growth of the Internet, the concept of “news” has changed. No longer the purview of major networks, anyone can now become a journalist on the scene or have a “learned” interpretation of events. The Internet was widely touted as a democratizing force. Yet, as it’s been widely discussed, the 2016 Presidential election served as a breeding ground for “fake” news, which sometimes outperformed real news on Facebook - where nearly half of U.S. adults get their news. In addition to maliciously fabricated information, even the most educated, well-meaning citizens get their news from exceedingly narrow social media networks. These “echo chambers” are made up of mainly like-minded contacts who share and post stories from hyper-partisan pages that confirm their beliefs. Even mainstream news sources have well-known political slants: Fox News to the right and MSNBC to the left, and most Americans tend to only consume from one side or the other. Even though more information is readily available to the public via smartphones, social networks, and the 24-hour news cycle, consumers of media are often less informed on social and political issues than they think and are easily duped by fake or bogus information. How do we empower ourselves against misinformation and manipulation? How do we encourage students to seek out reliable sources, to fact-check what they read and to examine information for bias? How can educators address this emerging crisis in digital literacy and how does it affect our students work in the classroom and their future roles as global citizens? This Faculty Learning Community (FLC) will explore these questions as well as news industry operations and trends and how news is commodified. We will explore aspects of news, digital and information literacies and develop direct applications for improving the quality of student research in a learning environment and in their future work and personal lives. This FLC will tackle these issues by looking to the past and across disciplines for answers. This FLC aligns with the mission of the CTE by providing a venue for reflective teaching practices as they relate to technology, social media, news, and politics. The spirit of the FLC is rooted in Miami’s values in discovery, inquiry, and critical thinking with integrity.


  • Meet 8-10 times during the academic year
  • Discussions of reading and scholarship
  • Presentations/consultations with guest speakers both from Miami and other institutions
  • Faculty generated research projects focused on integrating activities and assignments related to metaliteracy, digital citizenship, and information literacy
  • Attendance at local conference (Lilly Conference on College Teaching and Plug-In + Reboot)

Meeting Times

This FLC will meet from 11:30-1 pm on the following Wednesdays during the 2017-2018 academic year: 9/13, 10/4, 10/25, 11/15, 12/6, 2/14, 3/7, 3/28, 4/18.



  • Matthew Benzing, Library
  • Jennifer Bulanda, Sociology and Gerontology
  • Emily Channell-Justice, Global and Intercultural Studies
  • Nathaniel Floyd, Library
  • Katherine Good, Media, Journalism and Film
  • Ann MacKenzie, Teacher Education
  • Lindsay Miller, University Libraries; Co-Facilitator
  • Nicole Pankiewicz, Political Science
  • Jenny Presnell, University Libraries; Co-Facilitator
  • Elana Resnick, Global and Intercultural Studies
  • Joseph Sampson, Media, Journalism and Film
  • Terri Spahr Nelson, Family Science and Social Work
  • Beth Tumbleson, Gardner Harvey Library