Spotlight on Research
Engaging News in a Partisan Age
A podcast with Talia Stroud
Talia Stroud visited the UNC School of Media and Journalism on April 27 to give a keynote for the Junck Colloquium. Stroud joined me in the podcast studio to talk about the influence of partisanship in media engagement, the disruption caused by fake news, how AI could help in detecting and communicating misleading news, and the role media has in moderating civility online.
Talia Stroud is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism, the founding and current Director of the Center for Media Engagement, and Assistant Director of the Strauss Institute in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.
Stroud and her team research how people respond to negative news online and if their reactions differ on social media than they do elsewhere on the internet. In our discussion, we talk about how national news outlets that have seen an increase in readership (often referred to as the “Trump bump”) could help smaller local newsrooms increase their capabilities. Stroud contends that the reality of the news business is that it is a commercial enterprise, but that larger media could let local media learn from their mistakes and be defenders of journalism’s role in democracy.
We also talk about the total disruption caused by fake news and how the language media uses to communicate falsehoods or exaggerations is inconsistent and confusing to users. She brings up a since-removed Facebook tool that flagged false content with a message that read “This content has been disputed by third-party fact-checkers.” The use of the word “disputed” alarmed Stroud as it could be taken to mean that third-party fact-checkers are in disagreement over a story’s factual reality.
Listen to the podcast below.