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Cronkite School, Facebook to collaborate on media literacy

Facebook joins Cronkite School to battle misinformation, enhance media literacy.
ASU j-school joins with McClatchy and Facebook to improve engagement with news.
October 3, 2017

The venture will work to battle misinformation and help the public find new ways of engaging with the news

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication today launched News Co/LabPronounce it "collab," like the first half of the word collaboration. , a collaborative lab aimed at helping the public find new ways of understanding and engaging with news and information. News Co/Lab’s initial funder is the Facebook Journalism Project, and McClatchy is its first news media partner.

The Facebook Journalism Project’s support is a direct outgrowth of the “News Literacy Working Group” that convened last March at ASU. The gathering included experts from around the world who seek innovative approaches to fighting misinformation. Dan Gillmor, director and co-founder of News Co/Lab, spearheaded discussions at the ASU-Facebook gathering to focus not only on the “supply side” of the news equation but also the demand side.

“The launch of News Co/Lab at ASU is a great step forward in accelerating the growth of news and media literacy,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships. “We are proud to work with the Cronkite School to establish this important effort to develop and expand innovative tools for news-literacy-friendly newsrooms.”

The lab’s first project, in collaboration with launch partner McClatchy, will help newsrooms work with their communities to develop innovations that increase transparency, engagement, mutual understanding and respect. Three McClatchy newsrooms will participate, with the Kansas City Star as the lead newsroom, and two to be announced later.

“We are delighted to partner with Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and Facebook to develop innovative ways to strengthen news literacy and build trust between citizens and newsrooms,” said Craig Forman, president and chief executive officer of McClatchy. “We know that local news is essential to thriving communities, and the results of this timely and important collaboration will guide not only McClatchy newsrooms, but also serve as a best-practices template for the media industry.”

The lab will be based in the Cronkite School, a national leader in journalism education. Eric Newton, lab co-founder and the school’s innovation chief, will work with Gillmor and other lab staff on projects. Cronkite News, the student-powered news division of Arizona PBS, will be a test bed for lab experiments.

Over time, the lab plans to work with a variety of partners, from educators, librarians and technologists to community groups and newsrooms of different types and sizes.

“The News Co/Lab aims to promote and accelerate the best work already being done, and to try out new ideas that can help in scalable ways,” Gillmor said. “Our long-term goal is to collaborate with anyone who wants to make critical thinking, honest conversation and reliable news part of our information ecosystem in communities of all kinds.”

"We deeply appreciate Facebook and the McClatchy Company for their support in launching News Co/Lab," said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School, university vice provost and Arizona PBS CEO. "The lab fits perfectly with the experimentation, innovation and engagement we practice at Cronkite News."

ASU Gammage 2017–2018 Beyond season kicks off Oct. 7

October 3, 2017

ASU Gammage Beyond is not your typical performing arts season. Expect the unexpected with a curated set of performances from Taylor Mac, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Hālau O Kekuhi, Malpaso Dance, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Company and Kristina Wong.

ASU Gammage will launch the 2017–2018 Beyond season Oct. 7 with Mexican pop-rock singer and Grammy-award winner Natalia Lafourcade. The season will run through April. Natalia Lafourcade The season kicks off Oct. 7 with Grammy award winner Natalia Lafourcade. Photo courtesy of Chino Lemus Download Full Image

“ASU Gammage fulfills its mission of Connecting Communities by presenting and embedding these brilliant artists on ASU’s campuses as well as the entire Valley of the Sun with workshops, master classes and discussions,” said Michael Reed, ASU Gammage senior director of programs and organizational initiatives. “The 2017–2018 Beyond Series will go beyond your expectations.”

The purpose of Beyond performances is to showcase internationally acclaimed artists from various cultures that go beyond the typical theater experience that ASU Gammage usually offers.

“Beyond is an amazing array of performing artists that truly speak to the global, diverse face of America today,” Reed explained. “With passion, joy and honesty, these artists will allow audiences to experience a season of adventurous, meaningful performance for all.”

One of the performers in the season this year is Kristina Wong. She will be coming to Gammage for one night only, on Jan. 20, with her show “The Wong Street Journal.” Wong is a nationally recognized performance artist, comedian and Twitter troll.

She is very excited to be involved in the Beyond series.

“There’s something really amazing about seeing another human being live,” Wong said. “I learn so much about other people and the world from watching solo performances. There’s a certain intimacy that’s available in a live performance space.”

Wong’s show is based off her trip to Uganda and her hopes of volunteering. She knew she was going to write a show based off her journey, but “The Wong Street Journal” ended up being a much different show than she originally intended.

“I basically thought I was writing a show that was going to be about poverty,” she said. “I knew there was going to be politics involved as far as a Westerner showing up in a developing country, but what the show ends up being about is ;me as an Asian American, someone I think sort of represents a marginalized perspective in America, showing up in East Africa and being the most privileged person in the room in the face of colonization.”

Wong ended up spending some of her time in Uganda creating a hit rap album with local rap artists.

“It was just the weirdest thing,” Wong recalled. “We started to record and improvise. They were like ‘just rap something right now.’ I just started to rap about the situation in the street about being charged the ‘Mzungu Price.’ That whole story is in the show.”

Although the topics covered in Wong’s performances are very introspective, she assures audiences that her comedic nature and hilariously fortunate accidents will make for a lively show.

“The fun hook is the rap album. The more serious hook is all the stuff about deconstructing privilege,” Wong said. “I’m trying to get my audience to think about how can we think deeper about helping and is it ever possible to completely separate our ego from it?”

Wong’s storytelling is just one of the many performances coming to ASU Gammage through the Beyond series. Guests can experience an immersive show watching elaborate performer, Taylor Mac, sparkle and entertain audience with the musical highlights of the last 240 years. Taylor Mac will perform on April 7, 2018.

Malpaso Dance Company will be traveling from Havana to showcase how they are bringing Cuban contemporary dance into the 21st century on Oct. 28.