Tim Bruns / News Editor

The campus community was able to learn about misinformation as  part of the Sidore Lecture series held at Keene State.

The lecture was streamed on  Zoom and held in the flag room in the L.P. Young Student Center, with professor and author Cailin O’Connor as the speaker. O’Connor joined via Zoom because she was unable to make it to campus. 

O’Connor discussed many aspects of misinformation throughout an hour-long lecture that ended with a Q&A session. 

O’Connor described how misinformation has been around since the beginning of spreading information, and started off the lecture by talking about how misinformation spreads.

Most beliefs come from the people around us rather than our own experiences. When that happens, it allows for misbeliefs to come through, O’Connor said.

O’Connor also mentioned how confirmation bias adds to making misinformation worse. 

Another topic of discussion was how corporations use scientific research to support their product. This is known as the tobacco strategy, a method where, most notably, Big Tobacco would selectively share information, as well as take real research that backed their industry, but does not acknowledge research against, O’Connor explained.

Just because the science is real does not mean that it is good science, it depends on the context that it is shared in, O’Connor said.

One student that attended the lecture, Ryan Pacheco, said he is always looking for ways to get engaged with his major, Journalism, Multimedia and Public Relations (JMPR). 

He said he was interested to hear that scientists aren’t always paid off by propagandists. 

“I think I’ve also kind of fallen for the myth that a lot of the time it’s some kind of shady backroom kind of deals things,” Pacheco said. “Just to find out that they’re just hand picking that they trust.”

One of the organizers,accreditation and assessment officer Kimberly Schmidl-Gagne, said she found O’Connor talking about how journalists play a role in how misinformation spreads an interesting aspect. 

O’Connor said that journalists are sometimes too balanced in how they present their facts in an attempt to have fair reporting, and that can lead to worse reporting.

“Sometimes we are too gentle about the things that we talk about, which is that journalism [is] balanced, and I like that she wasn’t. She just kind of put it out there, sometimes journalists shouldn’t do these things because that’s not the right way to present information,” said Schmidl-Gagne.

“There are places to talk about different sides of issues, then there are places where facts are facts,” Schmidl-Gagne added.

This semester’s Sidore lecture themes are on topics surrounding misinformation, Schmidl-Gagne said. 

She added that they asked this year’s distinguished teacher, JMPR department chair and Equinox advisor Julio Del Sesto, to pick the theme. 

This lecture and the coming lectures for the rest of the semester will be on misinformation surrounding different topics.

“I think it’s helpful when you don’t just do bubbles that float in the air, but you’re connecting a lecture series along and do a few different things on the same topic,” said Schmidl-Gagne.


Tim Bruns can be contacted at


Share and Enjoy !