The Women’s Center “Brown Bag” informational session “Policy and Modern Day Media” on Wednesday, April 5 in the Nebraska Student Union centered upon policy changes under the new presidential administration with emphasis on effect of social media and fake news. Tomjack also explored the topic of fake news and how easy it is for people to be fooled online.
Tomjack said that 50 percent of the 1.4 billion people using social media say they see breaking news on social media before they hear about it anywhere else.
“I go through social media and follow political policy change to see how it affects women’s and gender studies and the LGBT community,” Tomjack said.
“Using social media to report politics is relatively new,” Tomjack said, “Obama was the first president to actively use Twitter and social media along with the @POTUS account.”
Tomjack said that online news sites purposely make outrageous headlines in hopes for people to share them on Facebook and Twitter.
Tomjack put up several different sensational headlines and articles for the audience and asked them to decipher which were fake news and which were real.
Most of the audience members could decipher fake from real based on the logos of the websites, as fake news sites were often slightly different from the actual logos. For example, the actual ABC news logo is a black circle with “ABC” inside, and this website was a black oval with “ABC” inside. The slight difference was easy for some to spot, but others said they didn’t even think to look at the website logo.
“When I’m looking at news on Facebook, I’m not even paying attention to anything besides the story,” said Kiphany Hof, the associate director of UNK Counseling Care. She said that she will start to look more closely at the small details on websites to find out if they are real or fake news sites.
Tomjack decided on this presentation after being approached by Bailey Bond, the graduate intern in the Women’s Center. She is sophomore social work and pre-law major with a women’s and gender studies minor from Wahoo.
“I asked her to present about the changing policies because she keeps so up-to-date on politics, and it’s very relevant to what the Women’s Center does,” Bond said.
Tomjack also went into detail on recent policies in the news that affect students on our campus.
“The immigration ban has had such an immediate effect on citizens in our country. International students on our campus are worried about travelling home and if they do, how they will return to the United States,” Tomjack said.
She discussed the very recent repeal of the Violence Against Women Act and how it affects women on our campus and the Women’s Center.
Tomjack urged students to let their senators know if they are unhappy with policy changes. “Calling senators is more effective than emailing,” she said, “They put your name and address down and keep an ongoing tally for policies and issues.”
Tomjack said that she calls the senators’ offices very frequently to give her opinion of future policy changes, and that it is a great way to make a difference in Washington D.C, even from Kearney, Nebraska.
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