Fake News, Twitter Rights, and NBC News: Weekly Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Have you ever noticed how “fake news” (false rumors, conjecture, outright lies) seem to spread faster on social media than the truth? It turns out that isn’t a subjective assessment, but an actual fact. The Washington Post reports on a recently conducted survey that charted the speed with which phony stories were disseminated via Twitter, and compared the results with the speed actual stories were passed along. “Fake news” consistently spreads faster. Why? According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is because the “fake news” is more sensational, attracting (and engaging) people who otherwise might ignore it. What does that mean for those of us who report real news? It means we have to work even harder to find story elements that will grab the attention of perennially distracted audiences.



One of the reasons why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) bases its Broadcast Journalism programs in New York is the outsize role the city plays in all aspects of media. Just block from the NYFA campus, an important court case is being heard regarding the nature of social media, in particular Twitter. Present Trump has blocked certain individuals from commenting on his private and public Twitter feeds. One of those banned has taken the president to court, arguing that social media is the 21st century equivalent of the 18th century town square, and preventing anyone from participating violates the Free Speech clause off the U.S. Constitution. This case will likely to go all the way to America’s top court, the Supreme Court.


Meanwhile, NBC News marked an anniversary last week, as the NBC Nightly News celebrated its 70th birthday. (The program has had several titles over the years, but has always been NBC’s primetime news broadcast.) As some of you know, the NYFA Broadcast Journalism School began as a partnership with NBC News. It’s a relationship we continue to value.


So, regular readers of the Weekly Update know that this is place where I usually include “alumni news.” Well, this week is no exception. However, the alum being featured is not a former student, but a former faculty member — in fact, the former Chair of the department! Marian Porges helped create the NYFA Broadcast Journalism course-of-study, then she returned to NBC News, where she became Vice President for Standards and Practices. Last week I heard that Marian is being promoted to head that crucial department. (It’s the one that makes sure journalists, like us, have done a thorough job prior to a story hitting air.) Congratulations, Marian!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail