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Archive for the ‘Information literacy’ Category

The most interesting part of Tom Hiddleston’s recent (February 14, 2017) interview with GQ magazine was the relevation that a photo of him and interviewer Taffy Brodesser-Akner had inspired a false news story. Briefly, Hiddleston and Taffy had been photographed hugging on the street after their interview and the photos had been published in the Daily Mail with some nudge-nudge-wink-wink-know -what-I-mean kind of captions e.g. “Hiddleston is seen embracing mystery brunette.” In a confluence of old and new media, the story then spread via social media with Taffy getting inquiries about her “relationship status” with Hiddleston from colleagues and family. [For the record, Taffy is happily married to fellow journalist Claude Brodesser].

Naturally, I had to compose a song to commemorate the event. Here is my effort set to “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon.

If you’ll be my internet boyfriend,
Can I be your mystery brunette?
The affair that never happened, baby,
That’s the one that’s hardest to forget.

Somebody took our picture and
Those photos got a million views.
Posted them up on the Web
My, how those Twitter rumors did ensue!

Husband saw the pictures
Asked me what was going on.
No worries, babe, I just hugged
Tom Hiddleston in London.

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One of the topics of conversation between me and my colleagues recently has been the much-talked of proliferation of fake news stories this election cycle and the difficulty students (and adults) have telling fictional stories and real stories apart. Most recently, you may have read about a 12-state survey conducted by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education that found that students on all levels (college, high school, and middle schoool) displayed an unfortunate lack of ability to distinguish between true and false sources. [If you would like to read more about the study, click here for an executive summary].

The solution, the study concluded, was to teach students to evaluate sources like fact checkers would. For a list of tips on spotting fake news, check out this post from Factcheckers.org. As the post highlights, part of the problem is that fake news is now more sophisticated that the viral e-mails of 2008. Also great fact checking sites: Snopes.com and Politifact.com.

Librarians aren’t immune from fake news syndrome either and, as I’ve discovered, it can be difficult to track down quotes even from relatively well-known sources. For example, here’s a quote that I struggled to place:

thorin-death-scene-quote

Should be easy to find a quote from a famous actor about a movie [The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies] that he’s promoting, right? Think again. I hunted all over the ‘Net before I discovered that the source of the quote was an Empire magazine podcast. The quote itself appears at the 52:38 minute mark, almost at the very end of the podcast.

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