Workshop: Truthometer drafts

Today we are workshopping your drafts with help from the Writing Center, but before we get to it, our tutors will begin by giving us a sense of what the WC can do for you, where it’s located, and how to make an appointment.

The Writing Center!



Workshopping the Truthometer posts

  1. Make sure your draft is titled correctly and is easy to find on your site. It should have [DRAFT] before and/or after the title of the post (example: “[DRAFT] Did Vegas Shooter Attend Bernie Sanders Rally in 2016? [DRAFT]”)
  2. Everyone will respond to 2 drafts today.
  3. To find out who you are responding to, go to this spreadsheet. Find your name the blog URLs you will respond to in the next two columns.
  4. For each author: go to their blog, find their name and their draft, and complete this form.
  5. At the end of class, we’ll look at some of the results together.

Homework for Tuesday, 10/10

  • Post your final Truth-o-meter fact-check as a new post. That is, do not overwrite the DRAFT post; instead create a new post so that I can compare the changes. This post is due by midnight on Tuesday, 10/10 unless you go to the Writing Center. If you do that, and you email me the client report form, you may turn in your work on Thursday, 10/12 instead.


Workshop: 3 ideas for your Truthometer post

Today we are spending most of our time workshopping your ideas for the Truthometer post. Before we do that, we’ll also work on tightening up your WordPress sites. But first, after Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, a number of sources were busy circulating bad information, either out of haste, virality, or a general lack of shame. Two sources I came across yesterday tracked these fake news stories quite well:

While these don’t exactly model the kinds of move I’m asking you to make in your Truthometer post, they are a helpful reminder that there are also good journalists out there who sort through the junk on the web to try to bring us closer to the truth. And as you’ll see below it’s actually not all that difficult to make junk look (sort of) like truth.

Fake News Generator

Some of your WordPress sites need a little character, so let’s start today by having you create your own fake news headline. You’ll then use this for your About Me page in WordPress.

There are several sites where you can do this, but here are two in particular:

Use these sites to make your own fake news headline that you will convert into an image for your WordPress site. Once it’s ready, add your image to either your About Me page or use it in a widget, which I’ll show you below.

WP Cleanup

I looked at many of your sites this weekend and noticed they still need some cleaning up by doing one or more of the following. Nearly all of these can be done from the themes > customize menu in the dashboard in WP:

  • Set the home/landing page as your blog posts, which will show your most recent post at the top (not “featured content” posts — get rid of those).
  • Create a unique name for your blog and a custom banner. Making your own is pretty easy. I’ll show you how.
  • Add widgets that make all blog posts visible, including the archive, authors, display WordPress posts, and recent posts widgets.
  • Delete or revise boilerplate WP pages, posts, or content. This includes revising the About Me page, removing featured content, deleting menu items and/or pages that aren’t taking us anywhere else.

Workshop your 3 ideas for the Truthometer post

  1. Open a new document in your WRT folder in Google Drive. Name this “Feedback on Truthometer ideas” and add your name and post URL to your post at the top of the page. Be sure to grab the link from the copy tool at the top of your dash window and not the browser URL (otherwise the link from the dashboard will send users to their own WP dash — confusing, I know).
  2. Copy and paste the following bullets at the top of your document:
  • For each source this author listed, what specific information would be fact-checked? Which idea would require the most research? Which would require the least?
  • Map “the moves” that would be required for each potential choice. Which posts would require discussing previous fact-checks? How many times would this require going upstream? How much lateral reading would this post describe? How many sources? Check up on the author’s preliminary work.
  • Would writing this post help clarify expert consensus about a fact that is often debated or confusing, or would it merely confirm what we already know?
  • What media should be used in this post? Which sources should this post link to?
  • What tags could be used for this post?
  1. In a new tab or window, go to this spreadsheet and find your name. Copy the emails of the three respondents next to your name. Toggle back to your document and click the blue share button at the top right. Add these email addresses to the “share with others” field. Make sure they can edit.
  2. Respond. In a moment you should receive invitations to respond to three authors (looked in your Shared With Me folder in Drive). Follow the link to the Google Doc and then to the WP post. Ultimately you are trying to help the author decide which of these 3 ideas are the most appropriate for the Truthometer task. Put another way, you are checking up on their ideas to see which are viable. The bulleted questions, then, are meant to guide this process. Be sure to sign your feedback and clearly separate it from other respondents. Aim to respond to at least two peers in class today.

Homework for 10/5

  • Draft your Truthometer post. On Thursday we will have representatives from the Writing Center assisting us in running a workshop with these drafts. The more your have done for Thursday, the more advanced your draft will be. The more advanced your draft will be, the more advanced your final will be. Make sense?