fake news
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  • Students Fighting Fake News, a Visit From CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker, Reporting the Austin Bombing, and More From New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    As everyone reading this email already knows, this is a challenging time to be a journalist, especially here in the United States. In fact, some have gone so far as to to term the current style of political discussion here as nothing short of “toxic” to democracy. Marketwatch posted a fascinating story last week on one of the unexpected results of the battle over “fake news”: Journalism schools in the United States have seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending. This growth in enrollment seems to be driven by a sense of duty, as well as a belief that there are a growing number of career opportunities for those studying journalism.

    Journalism.co.uk is always a good read. Last week they posted an article on how 45 newspaper writers and editors in Slovakia, in response to their paper being taken over by a local oligarch, started their own “paper” … only this publication is primarily digital, but it still has a physical presence. And instead of outsourcing news coverage — as many sites do — they outsourced the business-side of the enterprise. That way they could devote their time to what they know best — journalism. Fascinating story…

    A big thank you to CNBC correspondent Leslie Picker, who was kind enough to take time out her busy schedule to meet with some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. Her detailed description of her own personal career arc taught our students that the process is never easy, but is full of potential. She also told them “the story behind the story” of an award-winning investigation she reported for CNBC. She’s a great role model, and a fabulous communicator. Thanks, Leslie!

    CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker visits the New York Film Academy.

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Nicole Cross admitted mixed feelings last Wednesday, when police in Austin, Texas, apprehended the suspect in a series of bombings. The suspect chose to blow himself up, rather than be captured. Nicole reports for KVUE in Austin, and has been following the story (along with her colleagues) from the start. And while the bombings now appear the be over, the story certainly isn’t…

    Former NYFA student Daniella Gemignani reported a complex story last week on how agriculture represents one-third of Brazil’s GDP. (I know that thanks to Google translate.) It’s the kind of story that isn’t easy to visualize. It also involves figuring out complicated economic, business and technological concepts. And then there are the cows … another great job, Daniella!

    Abiola Jinadu traveled a long way, from Nigeria to New York City, so she could study at NYFA. Smart, inquisitive, hardworking, and personable, she has a lot going for her. She writes, via LinkedIn:

    I create and produce content for a living. Folio Communications PLC was my first client this year and I produce content for their online platform – Miss Nigeria TV. 
    Congratulations, Abiola!
    The Broadcast Journalism Update will be on hiatus of the next two weeks. It is Spring Break at NYFA, and I am using it as an opportunity to travel to Vietnam for a feature film project I am consulting on. It is something of an irony that last week I was shoveling snow, and this week I will be looking for places to cool-off. It is the first U.S.-Vietnam-China co-production I have ever participated in, and it promises to be challenging. Any project involving three languages is, by definition, challenging…
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  • Fake News, Twitter Rights, and NBC News: Weekly Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    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!

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