EVANSTON – Fake news has been called a threat to democracy, but Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism has embraced it in their new department of Fake News and Alternative Fact Reporting.
The school’s dean, Bradley Hammitup, addressed the university’s Board of Trustees last week. “Medill is known for innovation,” Hammitup said, “such as publishing ‘anonymous’ quotes that cannot be traced to anyone. Now we will be adding ‘Fakery’ to the pillars of journalism.”
Fake News students will have access to Dark Knight Lab, which will assist them in making up stories and introduce them to new ways of disseminating false information. Courses will include Art of the Slippery Slope and How To Be Your Own Best Source. Skeptics are doubting the validity of the classes and say that the Fake News Course Catalog itself might be fake.
Students of various backgrounds are expressing interest in the new department. “Fake News sounds like my kind of thing,” said English major Oliver Day Dreemen. “Now I can apply my fiction writing to something more grounded in reality. Kind of an alternate reality, but I guess that’s the new frontier of fact.”
Not everyone is pleased with the direction the school is taking. “This is just yellow journalism!” said Professor Nat Wentoff.
One Medill student, May Kittupp, disagrees. “What is yellow journalism, anyway?” Kittupp said. “New journalism is color-blind, and open to everything. I’d say, if you feel it, print it.”
Journalism Professor Dale Sheridan warned that Fake News is creating a mistrust of news sources everywhere. “Who knows what we can believe anymore?” Sheridan said. “In fact, this very article on fake news might be completely fake!”