Wednesday 14 February 2018 – Lunchtime Seminar with Dr David Clarke (Reader in Journalism)

Speaker: Dr David Clarke, Reader in Journalism, Sheffield Hallam University

From ‘Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster’ to PizzaGate: what is Fake News and what can we do about it?

Journalism Reader David Clarke has published research on false news and propaganda disseminated by governments and media organisations during the First and Second World War. In this presentation he traces the origins of Fake News and asks: Why Now? Who is responsible? Why don’t we trust mainstream news sources? And what can we, as journalism, media and PR educators do about it?

‘Fake News’ is the most serious and dangerous challenge facing journalism today. As public trust in mainstream media, business and politicians falls we have witnessed a corresponding rise in unverified and unchecked stories and legends that circulate on social media platforms. Responsible journalists know that public trust in their MSM is dependent upon verification and credibility: ‘if you can’t check it out, throw it out’. But as the old business model for journalism has broken down, the dominance of social media platforms leads users to default to information sources that reflect their world view but may be riddled with misinformation. Whatever view we hold about the so-called ‘post-truth’ era, there is no doubt we live in a highly propagandised information environment. The perceived threat posed by Fake News has led to inquiries by the government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the Labour Party and campaigns by Facebook and other platforms to raise user’s awareness of the issues. Part of the problem is finding a satisfactory definition of what we mean by Fake News: how, for instance, does it differ from propaganda such as that disseminated in the past?

David Clarke was an investigative journalist with The Star and Yorkshire Post. He joined Sheffield Hallam University in 2006 as a founder member of the journalism team. He leads on integrating teaching and research in the Journalism Subject Group. He has worked with as a consultant/curator for The National Archives UFO project and curates the website, Folklore and Journalism.


See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.