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RBR Hosts Forum on “Fake News”

 RBR Holds Forum on "Fake News"

Joseph Amditis, the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State

On March 16, the RBR Student Public Policy Group welcomed Joseph Amditis, Associate Director for the Montclair State Center for Cooperative Media, (affiliated Montclair University) to give a presentation

on “Fake News.”  His audience was composed of approximately 250 students including AP English and Journalism students.

            Dr. Moore explains, “The impetus for this program came directly from the students, who thought that “fake news” played a significant role in our recent presidential election.”

RBR students and Dr. Moore partnered with The Network for Responsible Public Policy to bring Joseph Amditis to the school.

            Mr. Amditis gave the students some examples of fake news –that is articles that are completely fabricated for the purpose of profit or political persuasion. 

            Principal Risa Clay targeted the crux of this dilemma when she told her students, “Years ago people only got their news from newspapers and television.  Many people now rely on social media. How many people really look at the sources they are reading and sharing? You should always ask, ‘what is the source?’”

Mr. Amditis explained that it is incumbent on citizens to be able to discern what is real and what is fake, relegating us essentially to become “Internet Detectives.”

            So what are some of the clues citizens and students must look for when evaluating “real” versus “fake” news stories:

·       Question the headlines or visuals when they don’t seem to support the context

·       Look at the way punctuation is used; for example using “?!” on a headline is not what a real journalist would do.

·       Look at the sources—does it have a byline? Does it seem sketchy?—No links or sources cited? -You can always google it to confirm the sources.

·       Does it contain a warning?  Facebook is now flagging fake news with warnings stating that real sources refute this post. The warning link leads directly to the fact-check  sources.


In the age of social media, one major source of fake news has surfaced, in addition to fake articles, as memes. What is a meme?  It is an image or a slogan which is passed on, which promotes an idea without context or without saying it outright. Looking upon the students as future journalists, Joseph Amditis left them with the thought:  “Call lies, lies and falsehoods, falsehoods. Not doing so undermines credibility and trustworthiness with the public (even if that frustrates partisans). In turn, cover the partisans who support powerful people who lie.”

            The presentation was very well received by the students. 

Junior Jay Izzo commented, “The whole topic is very interesting. The news can be very polarizing, but one common ground is that everyone wants real facts. He found the common ground uniting everyone.”

Senior Mizani DelValle stated, “He did a real good job relating to us and he made the material very easy to understand.  I was interested in the topic as kids are more curious and want to be well informed more than people might believe.”

Senior Kyle Eber added, “We have not seen the effects of the things we learned in history.  But, a lot of this is in our face. It is something we are involved with and not voluntarily.  We have to bear witness to it and react to it.”

The Montclair State Center for Cooperative Media’s mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism to best serve New Jersey’s citizens. For more information on it visit their website at