Editorial: Join the Facts Matter community conversation

Updated 10/3/2018 9:30 AM

Last week, we began a five-part series of Facts Matter discussions in collaboration with Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Community Education program.

The first 90-minute session focused on Bias in the News. If you weren't able to attend, you can check the video attached to this editorial.


We've developed a checklist you can use for assessing bias in news -- similar to the informal checklists we run through to try to guard against bias ourselves. Email us at factsmatter@dailyherald.com if you'd like us to send you a copy.

The final four installments of the Facts Matter series will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for the next four Wednesdays at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights.

We encourage you to attend and take part. Admission is free. Seating is limited so please register in advance via https://events.dailyherald.com or by calling 847-718-7700. You don't have to be a resident of the district to attend.

This Wednesday's topic should be one of the most compelling: How to Spot Fake News.

As the Community Education magazine description says, "Lies masquerading as real news are getting more sophisticated. They also spread quickly over social media, with the aim of inflaming your emotions, influencing your vote, selling you something or just creating instability or chaos. We'll demonstrate ways you can debunk fake news and offer simple clues that will help you spot it."

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We've designed it as an interactive discussion that will involve the audience and hope it will be a lively and informative conversation.

Subsequent topics include:

Wednesday, Oct. 10 -- How Well Can You Trust Photos and Videos?

Wednesday, Oct. 17 -- How Does a News Organization Work?

Wednesday, Oct. 24 -- The First Amendment and Its Role in the Republic.

Our form of government is built around the notion that the public is well-informed. As we have said many times, that places an obligation on the citizenry to be active consumers of news and information. And an obligation to apply critical thinking to that news and information.

This becomes even more important and even more challenging in an age of ever-fragmented news outlets; in an age not only of the traditional media but also of partisan media and, increasingly, of vested interest media too; in an age of social media; in an age where big brother technology makes us all much more susceptible to manipulation. All these factors place an increasing burden on all of us as consumers to become more and more discerning.

Facts matter. We hope you'll come out to Forest View and join the discussion.

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