Filter bubbles

Today we are going to review the rubric I created from our class discussions on Tuesday and test it through a peer review exercise. Then we’re going to talk about the importance of reading laterally through an activity on filter bubbles.

Rubric for Fact-checking

On Tuesday both sections worked to create a list of expectations for the fact-check blog posts; I thought we did a nice job and produced a list that overlapped between the 2 sections. Yesterday I organized these lists into a rubric:

Take a look at this rubric and notice how I used the expectations we brainstormed to convert them into an evaluation tool. In order to test the effectiveness of this tool, I want you to evaluate a post by doing the following:

  1. Choose a post that you would like evaluated and quickly re-read it.
  2. Evaluate your blog using the rubric. Is this post mostly ?, ?, or ??
  3. Once you’ve done that, exchange posts with a nearby partner and have them evaluate the same post. Do they see it as mostly?, ?, or ?? The goal here to check your self-evaluation with someone else’s. As an evaluator, please imagine that you are me and really scrutinize the post. In other words, be a tough grader and be ready to justify your selections.
  4. Do the scores match? How can certain aspects be improved? Do you know what you need to do?

Filter Bubbles: Or, the Importance of Reading Laterally

After Trump was elected last November, Saturday Night Live ran this satirical ad of a planned community called “The Bubble”:

The ad poked fun of the privileged position that hipsters, progressives, or white millennials can choose to close themselves off from a version of America that threatens their worldview (they jokingly call it “Brooklyn”). It’s a funny skit because it plays of off some of the fundamental trouble with a networked view of reality.  Hence, the importance of what Caulfield calls “reading laterally.” For your homework today, you read laterally by looking at what others have said about BreitbartOccupy Democrats, or FoxNews. From this you were supposed to answer a few questions:

  • What did you discover from other sources? Did you trust this information you read?
  • What could you find about each of these sources in terms of the site’s process, expertise, and aim?
  • What makes these three sources –BreitbartOccupy Democrats, or FoxNews – a potential threat to democracy?

Activity: Bubble Briefing

Click your group’s link below and use the Google Doc to follow your bubble of sources. Use these sources to compose a briefing on the top stories of the day. Each group should make a list of the Top 3-5 stories (write only a few sentences for that summarize each) and include a link to one representative article.

ConservativeTownhallDrudge Report, The Geller ReportBreitbart, and The Blaze

LiberalThe Raw StoryOccupy DemocratsHuffington Post, The Intercept, and AlterNet 

Mainstream: NY Times, ABC News, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Politico 


Homework for Tuesday, 9/26

  1. Watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser on filter bubbles.
  2. Read the briefings above and a few of the representative articles each group linked to. As you read, compare them. Create a new (4th) post in WordPress wherein you discuss some or all of the following questions:
  • What headlines and stories cut across the three bubbles? What stories seem unique to those bubbles?
  • Do particular keywords keep coming up across or within each bubble?
  • How do they differ? Do they draw from different sources—interviews, studies, unnamed sources, etc.? How do they link to other sources or stories?
  • Thinking back to how we read laterally, how would you judge these sources on their process, expertise, and aims? What standards of credibility or accuracy seem to exist in each bubble? How do you know?
  • Are there any claims or supposed facts in these stories that are just begging for a more detailed fact-check? Which ones and why? How might you do about it?