A pointed and realistic viewpoint on the state of journalism today.
One of my responsibilities as Research & Strategy Librarian at Calgary Economic Development is fact-checking data points and verifying statements. At times I have explained (repeatedly) why specific information can or cannot be used. Statements in the media or elsewhere are often misleading and taken out of context to suit specific purposes including marketing, messaging and promotion. Using critical judgement, objective analysis and interpretation of data, reviewing methodology and investigating sources are essential and routine activities when sourcing information. I have developed a categorized inventory of verified statements and data points for staff to use when creating content and marketing collateral. The inventory is updated on an ongoing basis. I am available on request to fact-check any content before publication, ensuring all statements are verified and sourced. I highly recommend all organizations develop such a resource.
True story: The Government of Alberta recently issued a news release with an incorrect statement and source for an important factual statement about the provincial film industry. I contacted the media representative twice to request a change to the statement and the source. Thankfully, the news release has now been revised. How do I know the statement source was incorrect??? My organization is the source…and I completed the analysis to develop the statement. Lesson learned: Consider the source.
This great How to Spot Fake News infographic from IFLA outlines the questions we should be asking when viewing media. Be critical!
One woman is on a mission to demystify the realities of abortion — using illustrations. Writer and artist Leah Hayes created an illustrated book, Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something Hard, which takes readers through the thought processes of two women who choose to have abortions — one medical, the other surgical. She hopes the book will chip away at the stigma that often surrounds abortion. READ MORE: A Woman Made A Comic Book About Abortion And It’s Awesome | Huffington Post
As part of National Library Week, the American Library Association just released its annual State of America’s Libraries Report analyzing the shifting role libraries play in today’s society. The full report is interesting in and of itself, but it also includes one of the most fascinating book lists of the year — the most frequently challenged books of the year.
In 2014, the ALA received 311 requests to ban books from schools and libraries. [Here] are the top 10 books that caused the most controversy over the past year, including the reasons they were challenged, as well as each book’s publisher description. READ: The 10 Most Controversial Books of the Year | BookBub Blog
If anyone knows what it means to be publicly humiliated, it’s Monica Lewinsky. In one of very few major media appearances in more than a decade, Monica Lewinsky took the TED stage on Thursday to champion online compassion. In the years since arguably the biggest sex scandal of our time, Lewinsky has turned her attention to activism, namely the fight against cyberbullying and public shame.
One of the most hurtful things you can say to a comic book reader is that comic books are for kids.
It’s a chilling insult that the stuff they read — the stuff they love — never advanced beyond its funny-page beginnings. But it’s also — often unknown to comics fans — a blunt reminder of one of the worst things to ever happen to comic books.
Some 60 years ago, during the era of McCarthyism, comic books became a threat. The panic culminated in a Senate hearing in 1954. This, of course, isn’t to say that McCarthyism and the comic book panic were comparable in their human toll. But they share the same symptoms of American fear and a harsh, reactive response to it.
The reaction to the suspected scourge was the Comics Code — a set of rules that spelled out what comics could and couldn’t do. Good had to triumph over evil. Government had to be respected. Marriages never ended in divorce. And it was in the best interests of publishers to remain compliant.
What adults thought was best for children ended up censoring and dissolving away years of progress and artistry, as well as comics that challenged American views on gender and race. Consequently, that cemented the idea that this was a medium for kids — something that we’ve only recently started disbelieving.
Adobe’s Digital Editions e-book and PDF reader—an application used by thousands of libraries to give patrons access to electronic lending libraries—actively logs and reports every document readers add to their local “library” along with what users do with those files. Even worse, the logs are transmitted over the Internet in the clear, allowing anyone who can monitor network traffic such as the National Security Agency, Internet service providers and cable companies, or others sharing a public Wi-Fi network to follow along over readers’ shoulders.
Ars has independently verified the logging of e-reader activity with the use of a packet capture tool. The exposure of data was first discovered by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, who reported the issue to Adobe but received no reply.
Scary. As librarians we have a responsibility to uphold the right to intellectual freedom. For situations such as this, there has to be checks and balances that hold criminal behaviour, such as harassment and death threats, accountable. Brings up all sorts of questions about social media and freedom of speech, anonymity, censorship, privacy and trolling.