Could higher ed suffer from the rise of 'fake news'?
- The New York Times profiles the rapid decline of the media industry, which is reeling from decreasing revenues and increases in citizen journalism and social media, which is building a culture of fake and unimportant news items on important subjects of coverage.
- The political season has amplified the number of voices running a range of perspectives, and these voices are shaping the ideologies of millions of news consumers.
- Beyond the election, other industries may soon be affected, or disaffected, by similar trends in coverage and the disappearing journalism profession and the public accountability it affords.
One prominent example of the damage "fake news" could do to an institution is the case of sexual assault at the University of Virginia reported in Rolling Stone. On Nov. 7, jurors awarded university administrators $3M in damages after finding the publication defamed, with actual malice, its dean of students over mishandling of a sexual assault case. The story has since been discredited, but not before bringing the university community almost to its knees and forcing the ouster of the dean.
College leaders, who should already be avid news and industrial information consumers, must be careful to examine the ways in which alternative and traditional media drive perspective on affordability, athletics, campus safety, and community outreach to get ahead of sensationalized coverage produced by untrained journalists and unproven outlets.
- New York Times Media's next challenge: Overcoming the threat of fake news