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'Fake News' and the Future of Democracy 

Sponsored by the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL)

A Community Conference via Zoom

Click above image to watch the trailer.

Friday evening, May 7; Saturday morning, May 8; Saturday morning, May 15, 2021

Advances in communications technology have theoretically made it possible for citizens to be better informed than ever before; however, they have also made it increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction: ‘Fake News’ is becoming a growth industry. This conference will explore the ‘Fake News’ phenomenon with a view to assessing its possible impacts on democratic institutions, and to providing participants with some tools to combat the tsunami of distortions coming our way.

Friday, May 7

7:00 PM Welcome and Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Adrienne Kertzer, MC  
7:15 PM Keynote Address: Dr. Maria Bakardjieva, "Fact or Faux? On the Crisis of News and Democracy in a Tweet-As-You-Go Era"  
8:00-9:00 PM  Q & A (Facilitated by Adrienne Kertzer)  

Saturday, May 8

9:30 AM Welcome and Introduction to the event: Adrienne Kertzer, MC
  Introduction of Expert Panel: Doreen Barrie, Moderator
• Brooks DeCillia, "Can We Overcome 'Fake News' in a Post-Truth Political Environment?"
  • Kim Groome and James Murphy, “Community Misinformation and Research Skills Workshops for High School Students in the Calgary Region”
  • Gillian Steward, The Irrelevancy of Journalism in the Age of Information Overload
  • David Swann, “Truth and Fiction in This Pandemic ”
11:00-11:30 AM Q &A (Doreen Barrie, Moderator)
11:30-11:45 AM Wrap-up Discussion, Adrienne Kertzer, M.C.

Saturday, May 15  Eight Facilitated Discussion GroupsSelection of small group discussions opens Monday, May 10. Participants will be limited to registering in only one group discussion.

 9:30-10:45 AMSession 1 (Groups 1, 2, 3, 4)
11:00-12:15 PMSession 2 (Groups 5, 6, 7, 8)


MC:  Adrienne Kertzer is Professor Emerita, Department of English, University of Calgary. The author of My Mother's Voice: Children, Literature and the Holocaust for which she received the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Scholarship, she is also a recipient of The Order of the University of Calgary. Since retiring, she has continued her passion for learning, teaching, and service, first as a volunteer with the Calgary Public Library and now as Coordinator, Current Issues, Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Maria Bakardjieva is professor and Chair in Communication and Media Studies at the University of Calgary. She is the author of Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life (2005, Sage) and co-editor of three collections, most recently, Socialbots and Their Friends: Digital Media and the Automation of Sociality (Routledge, 2017) with Robert Gehl. Her research focuses on digital media use in various social contexts. Between 2010 and 2013, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Her current projects investigate the role digital media play in citizen engagement and democratic participation.

PANEL MODERATOR: Doreen Barrie is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary. She has written on Canadian and Alberta politics, health care, federalism and environmental protection. She is currently researching issues on water, particularly water markets.

Brooks DeCillia spent more than twenty years reporting and producing news at CBC. These days, he splits his time between researching public opinion at the University of Calgary and teaching communication and journalism at Mount Royal University. His research focuses on the nexus of journalism and political communication.

Jackie Flanagan taught at Mount Royal College (now University) for many years, and is the founder of Alberta Views magazine, where she continues to work daily. She is a recent recipient of the Order of Canada.

Kim Groome has been helping students and scholars hunt down quality information through mastery of technology for almost a decade. An information specialist at the University of Calgary—Libraries and Cultural Resources, Kim assists with information literacy workshops. For pleasure, Kim loves to learn languages, study deception detection, and care for huge house plants!

James Murphy is a Student Learning and Engagement Librarian at the University of Calgary, liaison to the Department of Art and School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. He also designs, implements and coordinates a range of library educational, outreach and engagement programming for students based at the Taylor Family Digital Library. This includes teaching students how to become more critical of information quality to better incorporate authoritative sources in their own work and practicing strategies for spotting misinformation.

Gillian Steward is a Calgary-based author and journalist. She currently writes a regular column for the Toronto Star and teaches journalism at Mount Royal University. She was the managing editor at the Calgary Herald from 1987 to 1990 and was the publisher/editor of Alberta Views magazine in 2006/07.

David Swann is husband to Laureen, a retired family physician, with 3 children and 14 grandchildren. He was in Public Health practice for 25 years before entering politics as Liberal MLA for Calgary Mountain View.

 Cost:$20 (Members and Non-Members) 
  This covers the events on all 3 days.
  Non-Refundable All are welcome!
 Where:Online with Zoom

Conference Organizing Committee: Tamara Seiler, Chair; Doreen Barrie, Mary Lou Kerr, Adrienne Kertzer, Lee Tunstall

For general inquiries email: info

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Please read this disclaimer to be advised of CALL's policy with respect to the endorsement of opinions, products or services associated with CALL programming.


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