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Seeking the truth, Campbellsville University to host ‘Fake News Forum’ on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

By Matthew M. Billiot
Campbellsville University

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

That’s what Stan McKinney believes all journalists should seek and report to the best of their abilities.

“The idea of ‘fake news’ actually sickens me,” said McKinney, an associate professor of journalism at Campbellsville University who was a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and is in his 19th year as a full-time journalism professor.

That interest in the truth is why a seminar on “fake news” offered earlier this year at Madisonville Community College caught McKinney’s attention.

He contacted Al Cross, a former political reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal and now a professor at the University of Kentucky who was moderator for the forum, and Richard Nelson, with the Commonwealth Policy Center who has studied news literacy.

Both agreed to participate in a “Fake News Forum” set for Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Banquet Hall at Campbellsville University. It will be open to the public and convocation credit will be available for students.

Also participating on the panel will be Jeff Moreland, publisher of the Central Kentucky News-Journal; Larry Smith, station manager for WVLC-FM, The Big Dawg 99.9, in Campbellsville, Ky.; Bill Sanders, program director of WGRK-FM, K Country 105.7, Campbellsville; and Ryan Craig, owner of the Todd County Standard, an adviser to the Kentucky Kernel at the University of Kentucky and a former president of the Kentucky Press Association.

Cross will talk about the history of “fake news” and Nelson will discuss how the problem has become a serious issue. Each of the other panel members will then speak about how they gather news and what they do to make certain it is truthful.

Those attending will be asked to write any questions they might have on note cards that will be supplied. The panel will then answer as many as possible.

“Americans have lots of questions about the news media and journalism, which are under greater attack than ever,” Cross said. “This is an opportunity for people to get their questions answered and better understand this critical service to democracy.”

Said Nelson: “The challenger of living in the digital age is to become more responsible news consumers. Distinguishing trustworthy from dubious sources and sorting out fact from fiction is the first step.”

McKinney agrees.

“All of us as media consumers need to determine for ourselves if something is credible or not,” McKinney said. “Ideally, we should all seek multiple sources for the same story, analyze what we read, see or hear, and then come to a reasonable conclusion about what is true.

“Every journalist I have ever known was and is dedicated to the truth. Sometimes, though, determining the truth is difficult for even reporters. The best a reporter sometimes can do is report all sides of a story and leave it to the reader to determine what is credible.”

Refreshments will be served at the forum, which should last about an hour and a half.

Matthew M. Billiot is a student news writer for Campbellsville University

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