Project for Deeper Understanding to talk fake news |

Project for Deeper Understanding to talk fake news

Panel includes local media experts

Thanks to sources ranging from Russian operatives to Macedonian teenagers, “fake news” has entered the lexicon and shows no signs of exiting.

The numbers don’t lie: a Common Sense Media study taken in 2016 found that 44 percent of children aren’t able to tell the difference between what’s true and what’s false online. More recently, Congressional investigations and media reports have unmasked massive disinformation campaigns that have been conducted over social media, a place where the Pew Research Center says 67 percent of Americans get their information.

In a cultural environment where the noise might very well outweigh the signal, media literacy is gaining newfound attention. The Project for Deeper Understanding, an effort to foster dialogue in Summit County, wants to help out.

Next week, the Project will conduct a two-hour panel discussing the fake news phenomenon and its effect on American civil discourse, from elementary schools all the way to the Oval Office.

“We’ll be exploring the relationship between fake news, propaganda and professional journalism, and how can a consumer differentiate between news that seeks to report the facts and that which seeks to deceive,” said Bob Richer, a member of the Project.

KPCW General Manager Renai Bodley will moderate the panel, which includes:

  • George Pyle, editorial page editor, The Salt Lake Tribune
  • Ben Winslow, reporter, FOX 13 Salt Lake City
  • John Mejía, legal director, American Civil Liberties Union Utah
  • Stu Stanek, West region president, iHeartMEDIA
  • Marsha Maxwell, doctoral student in communications, University of Utah
  • Robert Huber, tech expert

Points of discussion will include the genesis of fake news, the varied reasons for its existence, its intersection with social media and its usage in modern political rhetoric, like that of President Donald Trump.

Rev. Charles Robinson began the Project several years ago to promote civil discussion of tough issues within an increasingly uncivil political environment. Previous panels have covered topics like partisanship, immigration, taxes, law enforcement and all manner of issues that inspire deep passions in those who care about them.

The Project for Deeper Understanding will host “Fake News and the Demise of Civil Discourse” at St. Luke’s Church in Snyderville on Oct. 5 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. KPCW will broadcast the panel live.

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