Grady doctoral student’s fake news research becomes book

Grady doctoral student’s fake news research becomes book

March 02, 2021
Madeline Fiorante

Marcus E. Howard, journalist and Grady doctoral student, recently wrote a media literacy book in partnership with the Georgia Humanities Council and Atlanta Press Club.

“How Journalists and the Public Shape Our Democracy: From Social Media and ‘Fake News’ to Reporting Just the Facts” educate the public on the societal phenomenon surrounding facts and misperceptions of journalism.

Janice Hume, head of Grady’s journalism department and Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism; Kelly Caudle, Georgia Humanities; and Lauri Strauss, Atlanta Press Club, approached Howard about the controversial phenomenon of “fake news.”

“As we see globally today and historically, people suffer when there is only one version of the truth handed down from the government,” Howard said.

As a journalist for more than ten years, Howard agrees that criticism of the press is good, however, political attacks on the media can alter accountability of reporting. He hopes the book will demystify journalists’ efforts for timely and accurate news while also demonstrating to readers how mistakes occur and how the profession works towards correcting and improving journalism.

“Marcus did a fantastic job pulling together all the research and writing on a tight timeline,” Caudle said.

The book is in narrative form, when each chapter starts with a story related to the topic. Issues range from social media to native advertisements.

“One minute you’ll be reading about the journalism ideals of Walter Lippmann and the next minute you’ll learn how the Kardashians’ use of native advertisements landed them in hot water,” Howard said.

Howard spent last summer researching on campus and reaching out to media experts at Grady and within the state. Monica Pearson (MA ’14), a retired WSB-TV Atlanta news anchor, wrote the forward of the book in order to bring trusted credibility to the project. Howard also spent the summer attending panels and events.

“[Atlanta] featured panel discussions with prominent journalists who talked about many of the issues raised in the book,” Howard said. “The turnout was impressive, which I think is a testament to how interested and concerned people are about the state of news media. I hope the book enlightens them on their paths in some small way.”

Read Howard’s book, available online, here.