‘Fake News’ has become a fake issue

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Are you sick of hearing about “fake news”? I am. The term has been rendered useless, devolving into an empty rhetorical device. People on both sides of the political divide have taken to simply calling something they disagree with “fake news,” as seen in a recent exchange on CNN. Here’s a hint: using that term now labels you as a shallow parrot.

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To duck or not to duck challenging viewpoints


It seems like the whole rest of the world is weighing in on the whole Phil Robertson/A&E controversy. I had intended to just duck it (arrrrgh) therefore. But it just keeps coming up, and I just. have. to. say. something.

A few things, in fact. Continue reading “To duck or not to duck challenging viewpoints”

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Telephone reluctance in the Internet age


Is there such a thing as telephone reluctance? I can tell you that when I was in the newspaper business, I would get in the car and drive across town to talk with someone face-to-face rather than take care of it in a five-minute telephone call. I communicate well in writing, and I communicate well face-to-face. The telephone (and its analogs like audio-only Skype calls) are my least favorite communication method. Continue reading “Telephone reluctance in the Internet age”

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You can lessen the grip of media-induced fear


I have heard many cry out in the last few days, “Media! Leave Newtown alone! You’re despicable!” The humane part of me agrees with this cry. But you have to understand something. That media frenzy that everyone decries? It’s all our fault. Continue reading “You can lessen the grip of media-induced fear”

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Students need to get a jump on social media

Social Media Trends for 2012
Creative Commons License photo credit: HonestReporting.com

It’s easy to assume college students have social media all figured out. Experience shows, though, that while many are savvy about Facebook, they may not realize they need to build a social media presence in other avenues before graduation rather than after. Sue Murphy notes in her article Social Media Success Tips for Students two particular areas that seriously need attention while a student is still in school but looking to the outside world.

Many students believe they don’t need to worry about getting their profiles up on LinkedIN until after they graduate. But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to get on there. Now. LinkedIN is one of the best places to connect with the kind of companies and people you want to eventually end up working for. And the only way you’ll be able to find and connect with them is to start building your profile there.

She also builds a case for starting a blog–and she’s not talking about a chatty personal journal you share with the world.

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Choice of fact selection will bias your communication

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson

Last week we talked a little about the impossibility of reporting “Just the Facts.” I wasn’t actively looking for examples this week, but one just jumped up and slapped me in the face.

I followed a Twitter link to Mashable’s story entitled Kelly Clarkson’s Album Sales Down After Ron Paul Twitter Endorsement, intrigued by the headline. I knew they had reported last week that Clarkson’s sales were up following her endorsement of libertarian Ron Paul as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, although even then they focused on the “flap” rather than either the endorsement or the rise in sales. (The “flap” was about some followers who reacted badly to her endorsement. Other stories elsewhere reported a surge of over 400% in a single day, and quoted a number of tweets to her explicitly saying they had bought the album because of her endorsement. None of this was mentioned in either Mashable story.)

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