Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” visited Keene State on April 4 to speak about misinformation in the media and how to dismantle it.
Keene State College welcomed Stelter for the conclusion of this year’s Sidore lectures, which are designed specifically around media based topics. This lecture focused on how facts in the media have been misinformed and used.
Stelter answered many questions from journalism professor Dr. Kimberly Lauffer, ranging from his thoughts on how to navigate the current information ecosystem productively to his thoughts on the Dominion lawsuit against FOX News. He said, “It was gratifying to see this information come out.” During the lecture, Stelter compared the “fact pool”, the ease of posting false content on the internet, to pollution, as “anyone can post garbage.” Stelter said this analogy is a reminder that society needs journalism. “Anyone with [an] Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter account. We are all part of this. We are massive consumers. We are all members of the media.”As artificial intelligence is expanding, Stelter said he is worried about misinformation being displayed throughout these systems, and that it needs to be taken out of the systems to help protect newsrooms. Questions then moved to the audience, with one of the audience members asking, “What keeps you going, both as a journalist and in life?”
Stelter responded, “In life, for me, my kids keep me going. But as a journalist, it’s to tell all of the interesting stories there is to tell. Every scandal is worse on the inside than it looks on the inside, and I want to get the rest of the story.”
Audience members were asked if they ever fell for misinformation and what they do to verify information. An employee of the city, who wished to remain unnamed, replied, “Yes I do, for the first question. I was a student of journalism for a long time, a very avid reader of the news. And then I got exhausted. So, my bandwidth of curating the greatest sources as they multiplied ran out. But for your second question, when it is something very important, I’ll check multiple sources and I’ll pay for news. If you’re paying for the news, you’re far better off.”
The talks were organized by Kimberly Schmidl-Gagne, Keene State’s assessment and accreditation officer, Celia Rabinowitz, dean of Mason Library, and Lauffer. As the school plans to continue holding Sidore lectures in the fall, Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell asked for guidance from students to curate future lectures and topics.
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