Course on Fake News


Program Description

Basic information

Title: Course on Fake News
Own title: Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset
Study Mode:
Price: 1250 euros (see discounts)
Duration: 60 hours

Presentation and Objectives

The globalization of connections fostered by the Internet has enhanced information flows that run transversely and without membranes of any kind. Social networks have become accessible, fast and universal channels for the transmission of any idea. Also for the fake news or fake news that, thanks to networks and new technologies, quickly spread with a level of sophistication never seen.

According to the results of the Eurobarometer (April 2018), 37% of Europeans say that they receive distorted news daily, and 31%, once a week. 83% of Europeans also think that misinformation is a serious problem for democratic stability.

Some forecasts warn that in 2020 citizens could receive more false news than true, which has led European authorities to promote actions that counteract the devastating effects of misinformation on public opinion.

It is often relativized the fact that in most cases are the users themselves who are reluctant to contrast the news they receive, which they usually share compulsively without checking its content.

The instantaneity of the communication and its reduced cost have dismantled the traditional communication system, in which the sender of the messages was known and, therefore, its foreseeable behavior. However, the emergence of so-called citizen journalism, which is the contribution of any person to the flow of information, has democratized social communication to match the position of the issuer and the consumer. The public, in short, has ceased to be a patient patient of the news to become an active and proactive subject of the information process.

In this context, the work of journalists should not be spared. Handling a material as sensitive as information requires professionals. Citizens must clearly distinguish between the media, which have the human resources and the necessary tools to generate, develop and disseminate the news, and social networks that act primarily as means of transport.

Good journalism is called to play a leading role in the preventive work of the fake news, helping to detect and unmask them, at a time when large technology platforms are preparing to combat the phenomenon and different governments are considering specific legislation to stop its spread
Goals: The main objective of the course is to deepen the nature of the so-called fake news, know its origin, understand its propagation mechanisms, design strategies to contain its effects and, ultimately, reflect on the threat they pose to our democracies.

The specific objectives of the course are:
1. Raise awareness of the consequences of fake news and encourage active rejection of them.
2. Publicize the phenomenon of fake news.
3. Understand the nature of the problem and correct erroneous perceptions about it.
4. Combat bad informative practices that contaminate social networks, proposing a journalistically rigorous and socially responsible information model.
5. Lay the foundations of critical thinking that allows students to distinguish by themselves the degrees of truthfulness and consistency of information.
6. Know procedures and resources to verify the authenticity of the information received through social networks.
7. Have methods and criteria to detect and neutralize fake news, both on the Internet and social networks.
8. Integrate responsibility and the rational use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), promoting the collaborative principle that should govern networks.
9. Develop dynamics and activities that improve social and civic competences.
10. Transmit the idea that the best channels for managing information are still professional media.

Academic program

The content of the course is distributed in 60 hours, which are taught in the format of seminars and practical workshops. There is also an activity outside the classroom (visit to a reference communication medium) and two master classes with professionals of recognized prestige.
Below are the three blocks that develop the training proposal:

1.1. Public opinion and post-truth. From the "public sphere" to the "emotional public sphere".
1.2. How do we perceive reality? Phenomenological approach. "Ideas and beliefs" and "Truth and perspective", by José Ortega y Gasset
1.3. The reception as a hermeneutical process of appropriation of the message.

2.1. What are fake news? Definition and context.
2.2. Why are there fake news and why are they successful?
2.3. Why they are difficult to counteract. Reliability of the media and social networks.
2.4. Consequences of the fake news. Principle of active collaboration.
2.5. Fake historical news. The long saga of the hoax.

3.1. The vulnerability of the media. Unreliable or malicious pages. The regulation as an alternative?
3.2. Citizen responsibility Why must we fight the fake news? Antibul or factcheker websites.
3.3. Generic mechanisms to detect and neutralize fake news.
3.4. Preventive protocol. Guide of concrete actions to identify and dismantle the fake news.

Methodology and evaluation

The course has an accentuated practical character and is based on the pedagogical principle of learning-by-doing .

The training actions are designed so that the classroom transforms into a collaborative and dynamic space, where critical thinking is favored and a comprehensive discourse is built -but never closed or directed- of the threat that the falsified news represents for democratic systems.

The pedagogical techniques will encourage students to work individually and in groups; participate in debates and expose their reflections; and experience for themselves the effects of misinformation by participating in experiments designed to understand the effectiveness of fake news .

The evaluation system will consist of different practical and essay exercises that will allow the student to exercise and test their capacity for synthesis and argumentation.

Who is it for?

The content of the course, the teaching proposal and the methodological design allow the profile of the student to be transversal. However, it is a course especially indicated for undergraduate or graduate students of any of the Communication Sciences, as well as recent graduates and professionals of journalism.

Given that the content is highly current and concerns interconnected spheres of the knowledge society, it can interest any citizen with concern for social problems, and university students of any branch of knowledge, especially those of Social and Human Sciences (Sociology, Sciences Politics, Humanities, International Relations, etc.).


Last updated Mar 2019

About the School

Fundado en 1986, el Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset (IUIOG) es un centro de posgrado e investigación equivalente, en esencia, a las graduate schools de las universidades norte ... Read More

Fundado en 1986, el Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset (IUIOG) es un centro de posgrado e investigación equivalente, en esencia, a las graduate schools de las universidades norteamericanas. Fue el primer instituto universitario promovido y gestionado en España por una entidad privada, la Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, y adscrito a una universidad pública, la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Read less