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 of the most popular buzzwords in library-land at the moment is ‘curation’. It’s used to describe anything from old-fashioned collection development to human filtering activities on social media like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The word ‘curator’ gets used too liberally to describe the stuff people do on the web and, in my humble option, dilutes and pollutes the professional things that librarians do.
Librarians are so much more than assemblers of information, but let’s begin a discussion in this column about the difference between ‘curation’ and the activities performed by librarians. Is there really any way what someone does on Facebook is remotely like the work product of information professionals in special libraries? READ MORE: Curation: Buzzword or What? | Lucidea
Libguides, aka research guides aka subject guides aka study guides aka topic guides aka pathfinders aka resource lists aka information portals, have a special place in my heart. Whenever I find a great one I always have one of those Hallelujah ah-ha moments. Then I bookmark!
Librarians have probably created libguides for every topic you can think of. The libguides mentioned in the above article are relevant to the current news cycle of nationalism vs populism and the shifting economic climate of globalization to protectionism. Librarians advocate for and uphold intellectual freedom, diversity and privacy. Libguides represent these values as they provide unbiased, valid sources of information on a specific topic and are a helpful tool in verifying information and combating fake news.
More research supporting that Librarians are the solution…and always have been the solution…to the fake news problem! Verify, verify, verify. ALA Code of Ethics “We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.” – infophile.ca
The past few months there was quite the vacuum of factual, non-fake news to post to infophile. Thankfully, with the U.S. election finally over, some cool, timely and hopefully accurate stories are percolating up in my news feeds. Interesting times. How about just Hire a Librarian!!!
A cadre of technologists, academics and media experts are thinking up solutions, from hiring human editors, to crowdsourcing or creating algorithms
Another “slow news” entrant. I subscribe to the theSkimm newsletter but often wish it had more depth to its content like NextDraft, which I find too long at times. Lenny might be exactly what I’m looking for. I’m all for women supporting other women in any way they can!