C.S. Lewis: “On the Reading of Old Books”

Gearing up for teaching a new “American Lit 1776-Present” course. I’ll be at the office, sitting at my desk all day, wearing long pants instead of shorts. Not a screw gun or a stage platform or a digital camera within reach. This essay offers some well-phrased arguments for reading classic literature. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were…

President Trump speaking at a political rally in Florida. He is pointing his finger in the direction of the camera.

‘Not good, not nice’: At Florida rally, Trump says China has ‘targeted our farmers’

They weren’t the most newsworthy part of Trump’s Florida rally yesterday, but I’m just taking a moment to acknowledge a journalist who is using muted language, in keeping with the charge of journalists to report objectively.  It’s perfectly neutral to place, deep in the body of the article, a note about the president’s claim that you need a picture ID to buy groceries, without using any loaded language.  Other reporters…

Alice E. Marwick (headsnot)

Why Do People Share Fake News? A Sociotechnical Model of Media Effects

Verrit, like Snopes, Politifact, and a host of other fact-checking sites, reflect fundamental misunderstandings about how information circulates online, what function political information plays in social contexts, and how and why people change their political opinions. Fact-checking is in many ways a response to the rapidly changing norms and practices of journalism, news gathering, and public debate. In other words, fact-checking best resembles a movement for reform within journalism, particularly in a moment…

College students in a lecture hall. A facilitator is kneeling in the aisle, talking to a smiling student.
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Moving from Debate to Empathy

In my freshman writing class, my job is to teach students how to write a researched essay. I encourage students to pick topics that interest them, but I warn them that if they go into their project already convinced that one answer is correct (that euthanasia should/should not be legal, that abortion is murder/healthcare, that high schools should increase funding to whatever activity they did in high school and cut…