Fake News identified, discussed by students in popular SAB event


UK students were able to participate in the Student Activities Board TrendingTopics: Fake news event on Friday, February 2, 2018 in Whitehall classroom building on UK’s campus in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Kene Amadife | Staff

Abigail Davidson

The hallway in White Hall Classroom Building was packed with students but Thursday the walls were adorned with click bait headlines, Kim Jong Un and Kylie Jenner.

#TrendingTopics: Fake News was put on by the Student Activities Board with an aim to give students an interactive experience reviewing the news they consume every day.

While the free donuts may have been the reason they came, students stayed for the game of exploring what is fact, satire or entirely false.

UK SAB decorated the first floor hallway of White Hall with posters including real, published articles under a ‘Questionable News Monthly’ newspaper heading to hide their publisher’s identity.

In addition to the stories, they created red, yellow and green labels to identify where the story actually came from and where it falls on the spectrum between real and fake.

A green label represented a reputable, minimally biased source with correct citations and information, yellow represented an opinion piece, a rumor or a source with a strong political bias and red represented an entirely fabricated story or satirical piece.

Students were encouraged to use critical thinking, a skill that organizers hope they can apply to their every day life.

“It’s not about telling people how to think or what to do,” said Aiko Lovejoy, Director of Engaging Issues and organizer of the event. “We get a lot of interesting things on our social media feeds everyday, we have a lot of stuff going on, so it’s sort of sorting through that noise a little bit, and thinking critically—not just going off of a click bait headline.”

UK mechanical engineering major David Evans said he encounters fake news every day, especially with political biases.

“I think it’s a good idea. People need to be informed about what’s going on and not take things at face value,” Evans said. “I’ve been fooled too many times, even major news networks—if it’s extreme on one side or the other, I generally don’t trust it.”

Trending Topics is a SAB series that takes something currently buzzing in the community and gives students an opportunity to talk about it and start the conversation.

Fake news was by far the most popular option on the SAB all student survey for Trending Topics.

“We knew going in we wanted a mix of things – maybe some op-eds, campus stuff, and satire websites,” Lovejoy said on the selection of articles. “We steered away from politics a bit because that’s not our goal here. We’re not trying to convince anyone to change their political view.”

The articles chosen covered a range of topics with headlines from “Is Pregnant Kylie Jenner Secretly Kim Kardashian’s Surrogate?” to “How to Increase Your Chances of Surviving A Nuclear Blast.” Publications included a wide range as well, from the Onion to the Kernel.

“We all have different things that color our opinions, so being aware of that when we’re searching for something is something everyone has to work on,” Lovejoy said. “Finding sources that don’t always agree with you, digging a little deeper, is something we all should do, and this is just a fun reminder.”