FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, Ext. 1-5122
BERKELEY COLLEGE COMMUNITY EXAMINES PERSPECTIVES AND IMPACT OF FAKE NEWS
“It is fake news when the content is meant to obscure or distort with emotions, preying on prejudice or bias, is factually inaccurate and optimized for sharing.”
See caption below.
“This is an important topic when we teach information literacy,” said Laurie McFadden, Library Director, Berkeley College. “For this discussion we had professors from several disciplines provide their perspectives on how fake news impacts individual thinking and our society.”
“Regardless of the academic definition, not all fake news is really fake or intended to mislead,” said Christian Ehiobuche, PhD, Management, Larry L. Luing School of Business®. “In America today the term fake news has become a weapon to discredit any media channel that one disagrees with. A news story is not fake simply because it is impolite or inconvenient.”
Professor Moya Bansile-Williams, JD, Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies, described the effects of fake news using two examples.
“In February 2018 a fake news story caused the stock market to fall 350 points in a few hours. Many people lost money that day, perhaps in their retirement funds or other savings,” she said. Another time she received a fake news report of an accident causing lengthy delays on a major highway. This caused her to make emergency telephone calls to the campus to let students know she would be delayed for the exam that evening. It turned out the story was false because it gave an incorrect location of the accident. The situation caused undue stress and anxiety for the students and herself.
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Adrianna Young is on target to complete her Associate in Applied Science degree in Health Services Administration this year. A resident of Newark, NJ, she is President of the Berkeley College Business Club and served as a participant on the panel.
“I learned that fake news has been around a long time,” Ms. Young said. “Many people have strong beliefs about fake news, and people from different cultures have different opinions about it.”
Bradley Jenkins, Humanities and Social Sciences, Berkeley College School of Liberal Arts, teaches a unit on Cognitive Psychology. “In this unit there is a concept called ‘availability heuristics,’ and fake news uses this in an unethical manner all the time to socially engineer public opinion,” Professor Jenkins said. The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision.
While there was agreement that fake news is not always created intentionally and sometimes occurs negligently by over-zealous reporters seeking to be the first in line to report “breaking news,” all the panelists emphasized the need for students always to go beyond the original source of the news, not relying on one source.
“Do not be lazy or loyal to just one source,” said Earl Brown, Berkeley College Campus Operating Officer, who attended the panel discussion. “Look at different sources even if you don’t believe what is said, so you have an entire perspective. Then make your opinion and your judgment.”
Photo Captions (Top): At the Berkeley College Fake News Panel event held at the Newark campus on June 18, 2018, faculty representing the fields of business, criminal justice and liberal arts, along with student Adrianna Young, President of the Berkeley College Business Club (third from left), Amanda Piekart, Director, Research and Instructional Services, Berkeley College Library Services and moderator (far left), and Laurie McFadden, Library Director (right), discuss the impact of fake news and the need to look at a variety of news sources – even if you do not agree with a particular one – before making your opinion or judgment. Other panelists are (seated, left to right): Christian Ehiobuche, PhD, Management, Larry L. Luing School of Business®; Moya Bansile-Williams, JD, Legal Studies, School of Professional Studies; and Bradley Jenkins, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Liberal Arts. (Below): Serving on the Fake News event panel discussion held at Berkeley College on June 18, 2018, are (left to right) Amanda Piekart, Director, Research and Instructional Services, Berkeley College Library Services and moderator; Christian Ehiobuche, PhD, Management, Larry L. Luing School of Business®; Moya Bansile-Williams, JD, Legal Studies, School of Professional Studies; Adrianna Young, student and President of the Berkeley College Business Club; Bradley Jenkins, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Liberal Arts; Laurie McFadden, Library Director; and Kim Bost, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Liberal Arts.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has four New Jersey campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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