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First, let’s watch this 1-hour documentary on the issue of media manipulation, in “Digital Disconnect:”
Students will submit for a grade a multimedia examination that analyzes a global problem in mass communications and its impact on culture. The Global Media Project is using the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals as one way to identify the global nature of the various experiences USF offers students. Students must frame their project in one of these areas as they intersect with globalized media:
Design a course, seminar, software or other media tool to educate people about media literacy and how to consume political information in an era where information wars and fake news are being used to interfere with sovereign nations’ internal affairs. You do NOT have to actually create your invention. You will answer questions below about your idea.
In the United States and throughout Europe, fake news and social media are being used to disrupt societies and elections. While Russia has been linked to this type of activity, there are other nations playing in this area, as well as non-state players (e.g. terror organizations).
In Finland, the government has had a focused effort to fight back, as detailed in this Foreign Policy article (Links to an external site.): (make sure you read the entire article)
“The best way to respond is less by correcting the information, and more about having your own positive narrative and sticking to it,” Jed Willard, director of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Center for Global Engagement at Harvard, told Foreign Policy. Willard, who is currently working for the Swedish government, was hired by Finnish officials to help them develop a public diplomacy program (Links to an external site.) to understand and identify why false information goes viral and how to counter propaganda.
That initiative started at the top. In October 2015, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto took the first step, when he acknowledged (Links to an external site.) that information warfare is real for Finland, and said that it was the duty of every citizen to combat it. In January 2016, the prime minister’s office enrolled 100 officials in a program across several levels of the Finnish government to identify and understand the spread of disinformation based on Willard’s advice.
National security specialist Catherine Theohary wrote (Links to an external site.):
Social media is used as a tool of information warfare—a weapon of words that influences the hearts and minds of a target audience, and a weapon of mass disruption that can have effects on targets in the physical world. Low-cost, easily accessible social media tools act as a force multiplier by increasing networking and organizing capabilities. The ability to rapidly disseminate graphic images and ideas to shape the public narrative transforms social media into a strategic weapon in the hands of terrorists, insurgent groups, or governments engaged in conflict.
In no more than three pages total, answer the following questions:
- Given what you know about Mass Communication’s impact on culture and society from this course, and knowing what you know about the history and development of the various media, describe how the Information Wars relate to previous media problems and issues, and how is it unique from them? Cite at least one example from the text or from online research you do. (For instance, book censorship as outline in Baran.)
- How can the Information Wars be fought with peaceful means? What information or research supports your answer?
- If you were to design something to combat Information Warfare, what would it be? (Some examples: A computer program to ferret out social media bots; requiring real people’s IDs be used to engage in information online; an educational program for public schools; an app that somehow grades information; etc. Extra points for creative but realistic answers.) How would it attack the problem? Is your assessment backed up by any research or information about it being done anywhere in the world (other than the already cited Finland)?
- Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals linked above, which one of the goal areas is impacted by this problem and by your solution? How does your solution relate to one of those goals? (In each icon on the UN website page http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ (Links to an external site.) you can click on it and get the individual area of concern, and then click on the Goals Tab to find more detailed U.N. goals that you should cite.)
To Complete this Assignment:
- Answer all four questions above and number them, please.
- Limit your submission to 3 pages. I am not seeking a term paper. Concise and targeted answers vs. bluster and BS.
- 12 point font, preferably Times New Roman. 1.5 to double spaced.
- Put your name, MMC 3602 and Semester at top of page. File name: YourFullName_Global Media Project_S18.pdf
- Convert your paper to PDF and upload to this assignment page.
Please consult the grading rubric carefully to ensure you include all the critical analysis that I am looking for.
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