Filter bubbles

Today we are going to review the rubric I created after our class discussions on Wednesday. Then we’re going to talk about the importance of reading laterally through an activity on filter bubbles.

Rubric for Fact-checking

Last week 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 two sections. Yesterday I organized these lists into a rubric:

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 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 DemocratsFoxNews, and others. 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 consuming info from these sources a potential problem for democracy?

Activity: Bubble Briefing

  1. Click your assigned group’s link below. This will take you to a Google Doc.
  2. Once on the document, follow the links at the top for the sources listed.
  3. Read all of the sources and make a list of 3-5 common themes, stories, subjects, topics to all of the sites. These can be loose or specific. It is up to each group to decide how to find these commonalities.
  4. Then use the Google Doc to compose a summary of for each common theme or topic or story.
  5. Also for each, include a link to one representative article.
  6. Here’s an example from last semester’s conservative bubble: Muslims and immigrants are ruining everything: There are a host of stories claiming that muslims or immigrants are the source of different crimes and disasters around the world. In general casts muslims in a bad light. This one from, for example, claims that certain interpretations of Quran promote violence and sexual assault.

Conservative: Townhall, Drudge Report, The Geller Report, Breitbart, and The Blaze

LiberalThe Raw Story, Occupy Democrats, Huffington Post, The Intercept, and AlterNet 

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

On Wednesday we’ll talk more about what you found.

Homework for Wednesday, 2/7

Read Caulfield’s chapters on using scholarly sources to read laterally, Chapters 20-25 (“Stupid journal tricks,” “Finding a Journal’s Impact Factor,” “Using Google Scholar…,” “How to Think About Research,” “Finding High Quality Secondary Sources,” and “Choosing Your Experts First“).

Use WP post #4 to go upstream on a news report that cites a recent study. (For some of you who have already blogged about a recent study, feel free to pick up where you left off.) If you’re stuck, type “recent study” into Google and click the “News” tab at the top. Like so:

Once you find a news story that cites a study or piece of scholarship, go upstream to find that original study. [Note: You may have to log in to Rowan’s library to access some of these.]

Even if you cannot find the actual study, use the strategies from the chapters above to check the credibility of the journal and the expertise of the author(s). If you get stuck on one strategy, discuss it in your post, but move to another. Not all journals will have an impact factor and not all authors can be easily found in Google Scholar, but you should seek both. Ultimately your goal is to use these search strategies to “accurately summarize the state of research and the consensus of experts in a given area, taking into account majority and significant minority views.”