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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fact or Fiction?


The process by which educators teach their students in developing skills to determine fact from fiction must always begin with verification. What is verification? It is the steps by which we gather, assess, confirm and weigh evidence in search of truth.

 New School & Old School Strategies

 How Do We Recognize A Fake News Story?

1)   Who is the author

2)   Check what news outlet published it

3)   Look at what links and sources were used

4)   Check the publish date and time

5)   Look out for suspicious quotes and photos

6)   Beware of confirmation bias

Old School? Take a trip down the rabbit hole when researching authors and their publications. Always begin by researching primary sources of information, such as public documentation cited by author. Research all footnotes and links. Locate what else might have been published by the author with regard to topic, either through abstracts or journals. If in a book format, look to see who might have contributed to the foreword and research their publications.

 Resources for Spotting Fake News

Tin Eye Reverse Image & Search

Washington Post Fact Checker

On The Media Fake News Handbook

Below is a glossary of “The Language of News Literacy” from the School of Journalism; Stony Brook University, LI, NY 

1) Accountability – Taking direct responsibility, by name, for the truthfulness and the reliability of the report. Examples include bylines in print and digital journalism and signoffs in audio and video reports.

2) Actionable Information – Information that empowers a news consumer to make active choices about matters of both public and personal importance. Examples include which candidate to vote for or making career or personal health choices. 

3) Balance – Equality between the totals of the two (or more) sides of the account. Balance is a more technical term than fairness. It’s a quantitative measurement that can be used as a tool to achieve fairness, especially in cases where the facts are in dispute or the truth is still developing. 

4) Bias – A predisposition that distorts your ability to fairly weigh the evidence and prevents you from reaching a fair or accurate judgment. Here’s how to spot bias: Look for evidence of unfairness over time; compare a variety of news outlets, especially to search for bias by omission; take note of the self-interest of those alleging bias. 

5) Cognitive Dissonance – A psychological theory that people who are so powerfully motivated to reduce their discomfort that they will dismiss, block or warp incoming information that does not conform with their beliefs, viewpoint or understanding of the truth. 

6) Context – Background or ancillary information that is necessary to understand the scope, impact, magnitude or meaning of new facts reported as news. 

7) Direct Evidence – Anything that was captured firsthand or on the scene (i.e. video, recordings, photographs, documents, records, eyewitness accounts). 

8) Entertainment – Something affording pleasure, diversion or amusement. 

9) Fair Comment – Protects your right to criticize and comment on matters of public interest without being liable for defamation, provided that the comment is an honest expression of opinion and free of malice. 

10) Fourth Estate – An old European phrase used to describe the     press and its role as a watchdog. In America, the four estates of   power are the three branches of government and the citizens to   counterbalance them. 

11) Independence – Freedom from the control, influence or support of interested parties. Journalists are expected to avoid reporting on matters in which they may have a financial stake, personal/familial ties, or intellectual prejudice by virtue of declarations of allegiance. 

12) Information Neighborhoods – News Literacy students are taught a taxonomy that allows them to quickly navigate information neighborhood: News, Entertainment, Advertising, Promotion, Propaganda and Raw Information. 

13) Journalist – A journalist’s primary mission is to inform the public while employing journalistic methods such as verification to uphold journalistic values in order to maintain independence and accountability. 

14) Scientific Truth – A statement of probability proportional to the evidence, which will change over time, as further research changes our understanding daily (covid19). 

15) Propaganda – Information, ideas or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution or nation. It is often biased and misleading, in order to promote an ideology or point of view. 

16) No Prior Restraint – The government and courts cannot stop something from being published, broadcast or posted on the Internet, except in rare instances. 

17) Privilege – Protects your right to publish court testimony, police reports or other public documents, even if they contain falsehoods. This is because the public has the privilege to review the contents of government files as a means of ensuring police, courts and other agencies are conducting themselves correctly. 

18) News Literacy – The ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether the come via print, television or the Internet. 

19) Truth – Events as they actually happened, phenomena as they actually exist. 

20) Verification – The investigative process by which a news organization gathers, assesses, confirms and weighs evidence in search for truth. 

Disciplines of Verification

Gather, assess and weigh evidence

Place facts in the big picture (context)

Be fair when appropriate, adjust balance

Maintain transparency 

21) VIA – Acronym used in the course to stand for Verification, Independence, and Accountability. Reliable information has all three of these characteristics.

Find more info on checking for facts, bias, and fake news here:


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Helping Teachers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

   The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people of all walks of life.  With many systems returning to school already or in the near future, teachers are facing a great deal of uncertainty.  There are concerns for the safety of their students and themselves.  There is new technology to learn in order to best connect with their students virtually.  Added to these challenges is the need to prepare students for the ever-present state tests.  Classroom teachers, regardless of their years of experience, need the support of Delta Kappa Gamma members more than ever.  Unfortunately, members cannot enter the schools to assist in the classroom but there are ways that DKG members can show teachers their love and support.

  • Write encouraging notes.  Personal hand-written notes from others let teachers know that they aren’t in this alone.
  • Share inspirational quotes from well-known leaders.
  • Consider asking the chapter’s “resident poet” to write a short poem to thank the teachers for their service.
  • To up the ante, gift small school items with a note attached.  Highlighters, pens/pencils, glue sticks, etc. are inexpensive items that can bring a smile to a teacher’s face.
  • Food is always a good choice!  Perhaps a piece of candy or a couple of other treats could be attached to a note.  (Be sure to check with the school administration before preparing the treats.)
  • Post signs of thanks and encouragement along the school driveway so teachers can see those on their way to school.  Such action would help jumpstart a teacher’s day!
  • If it’s a small community, perhaps the chapter could put an ad in the local paper to thank teachers for their dedication.

Here’s the bottom line: Teachers need to know that they are appreciated and loved.  Any action which a chapter takes to achieve that goal would be well received.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

GAPP Digital Communication Policy Changes

Among our DKG governing documents is a set of files called Guidelines and Policies/Procedures (GAPP). One of those outlines the policies for digital communications, which was recently updated.
The file says, “Digital communication resources, as defined by the Society, include but are not limited to the Internet, World Wide Web, digital mail, facsimile, landline and cell phones, databases, audio and visual recordings, graphics, photographs, CD, DVD, digitized information and social media.”
So, basically, all forms of communications are impacted since most newsletters are posted on the web!
Among the eight purposes of this policy is one that deals with privacy, confidentiality, and security in digital communications. Because of the increasing problems of phishing and scamming, the update to the policy includes this paragraph:
An individual’s email address is personal information. For this reason, use of BCC (blind carbon copy; normally found under the CC address line) is recommended for mailings to groups. This will protect email addresses of those in the group from being shared unnecessarily or improperly. The Society will not publish the personal email of any member in any publication without her express written permission. Wherever possible and practical, the Society will use contact forms rather than emails to facilitate member communication with Society personnel and leaders. All lists of contact information will be password protected. Chapter and state organization may not link to contact information lists without providing password protection. The Society will establish procedures to hide/disguise emails on websites.
Take particular note of the use of blind carbon copy (BCC) for group emails and the use of forms instead of email addresses. This is DKG policy.
The entire Policy for Digital Communications can be found at

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

DKG Member Lisa Olson Serves as City Alderman

One of the goals of the EEC is to empower women to impact policy and people worldwide. DKG member Lisa Olson has certainly taken that goal to heart. She was recently spotlighted on a local TV station’s feature on Remarkable Women for her work as an alderman for the city of Minot, ND. In the article, Lisa relates her disappointment when she lost her first race for city council. She turned the loss into an opportunity to teach her young daughter that one could lose with dignity and could still persevere. Lisa had this message for women: “They can do it. You don’t have to have a great background; you don’t have to have the answers to everything.” The important message from the article is that women can certainly share their voice in their local communities and make a difference in our world. We applaud Lisa for her service to her community and to DKG.

Want to know more? The full article is posted on Facebook at

(This information was taken from a feature re: Remarkable Women.
The story was then shared on Facebook.))

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ways to Spot Spam or Phishing Emails

 Many spam or phishing emails look like legitimate emails to the unsuspecting. A healthy dose of skepticism goes well with the adage “better safe than sorry” but there are definite tell-tale signs for which to watch. There is no single fool-proof way to avoid phishing attacks, but watch for these:

• Check the spelling or grammar. If a message is poorly written or contains grammatical errors or misspellings, it might have been translated from a foreign language. Often a phisher will change one or two letters to mimic a trusted source.
• Request for personal information. Never give out personal information through email. Refer to the sender’s website if you have questions on the legitimacy of the request.
• Discrepancies between the language of links and the URLs they direct to. Mouse over a link before clicking on it to see where the URL is directing you. The name listed might be different from the actual web address.
• Forms within emails. Phishers try to gather personal information this way.
• A sense of urgency, scare tactics, or highly emotional or charged language. “There’s a problem with your charge card that needs resolving immediately.” “I lost my pocketbook and need you to loan me some money.”

“Phishing” via SMS (text) messaging, called smishing, is gaining strength. Watch many of the same signs plus unusual numbers or references to the last 4 digits of a credit card number. Voice phishing, called vishing, has been around for years. Callers posing as IRS agents is the most common form and has scammed individuals out of millions of dollars. Watch for fear tactics, masked phone numbers, use of personal data that could be gained from social media accounts, or “too good to be true” tactics.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year. 

If you think a scammer has your information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, go to There you will see the specific steps to take based on the information that you lost.

Be vigilant. When in doubt, don’t.

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