Oaks Neighborhood offers Fake News Game Show

The event demonstrated how difficult it can be to discern what's real and what's fabricated.

The Oaks Neighborhood hosted a Fake News Game Show Nov. 8 to wrap up its Information Literacy Week, which also featured a neighborhood dinner and a talk from media literacy expert Julie Smith.

The game show invited participants to differentiate between real and fake news. In the first round, contestants were shown a story and asked to determine if it was real or fake. In the second round, two stories were placed side-by-side, and contestants had to choose which one was made up.

At the end of the game show, host Carson Brennan ’20 offered some tips on how to identify fake news, such as:

  • No byline? No dateline? Probably fake.
  • Stock photo with no photo credit? Probably fake.
  • If your friend shares an incredible story, check the site it’s posted on. If you’ve never heard of it and no other legitimate news source is reporting on it, it’s probably fake and time to teach your friend how not to be duped.

“I hope the game show taught people that it can be tricky to spot fake news,” said Colin Donohue, director of student media, instructor of communications and faculty director of the Oaks. “But if we take a few moments to look at the information, ask questions about it and then do some research, we’ll be better news and information consumers.”

The winning team comprised Emmanuel Morgan ’19 (executive director of Elon News Network), Anton Delgado ’20 (managing editor of The Pendulum), Kelly Furnas (lecturer in ommunications) and Teresa LePors (coordinator of library research and scholarly services and assistant librarian).

Delgado said he found it hard to believe that so much fake news was published online, but he now feels more equipped to fight back against it.

“I learned a lot about different methods you could use to spot fake news, like looking out for bylines and datelines and cutlines,” Delgado said. “This was co-sponsored by Elon News Network, which I’m a member of, and I wanted to show the community how important it was to be able to spot fake news. In this day and age there’s an information overload on the Internet, and we want to make sure all college graduates know how to identify fake information.”

The game was sponsored by the Oaks Neighborhood, the School of Communications, the Student Government Association, Elon’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Elon News Network.

The Fake News Game Show was originated by Michael Koretzky, the director of a regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Donohue and Oaks Community Director Trianne Smith organized Elon’s version of the game show because it fit the Oaks Neighborhood’s theme of Emerging Adulthood.

Test yourself. Is the image below an example of real news or fake news?