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UT Social Media Week 2020 – Tuesday

Brought to you by the School of Journalism and Electronic Media

Morning Kick Off

#UTSMW2020 will kick off at 9:35 a.m. on Tuesday, February 18. Stop by to register to win free prizes, grab a donut and coffee, and enjoy the music before heading to the week’s first session!

Session 1

“But I saw it on Facebook!”: Social Media as Channels of Misinformation and Disinformation

9:40-10:55 a.m. (COM 321 – Patrick Auditorium)

Concerns about the role of social media platforms in distributing misinformation and disinformation — or more colloquially, “fake news” — hit a fever pitch in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Since then, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have continually refined their strategies for identifying and combating the spread of misinformation and disinformation, from fact-checking initiatives to media literacy efforts to all-out bans on political advertisements. Although some research has shown that social media had less of an impact on voters’ opinions in 2016 than generally believed, concerns remain about what role misinformation and disinformation might play in the lead-up to November 2020. This panel will address key questions surrounding the role of social media in disseminating news and information about the 2020 presidential election, including what we’ve learned since 2016 about the impact of social media, how platform companies’ policies and strategies are changing and what new trends might emerge.

Speakers: Jessica Maddox, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama

Mark Harmon, Professor, University of Tennessee,Knoxville

Damian Ruck, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Brandon Hollingsworth, News Director, WUOT


Session 2

“According to a Tweet …:” “Using Social Media as News Content

2:10-3:25 p.m. (COM 402 – Scripps Theater)

Social media, including Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos, have become standard elements of news reporting for newspapers, magazines, TV newscasts and other types of outlets. Professional standards differ, however, for how and when social media content should be published. Can social media posts be used as stand-ins for public opinion? Should the authors of social media posts always be notified before publication? Are journalists too dependent on social media platforms to derive story ideas and sources? How can social media help journalists better connect with their readers and communities? Panelists will discuss the legal and ethical implications of the role of social media in news production as well as their advice for navigating both the challenges and opportunities social media present for reporting.

Speakers: Tonja Burke, Digital Director, News, WBIR

Scott Barker, Editor, Compass

Joel Christopher, Executive Editor, the Knoxville News-Sentinel

Moderator:  Darina Sarelska, Doctoral Student, University of Tennessee-Knoxville