Academics, News

CNN producer shares importance of combatting ‘fake news’

Christina Zdanowicz, a CNN iReport and Social Discovery Senior Producer, spoke to students in the School of Communication (SoC) about her experience with verifying content for news stories in an era where “fake news” plagues media outlets’ credibility.

Zdanowicz spends the majority of her workday in the CNN social discovery department that focuses on newsgathering exclusively from social media.

In the department, social media specialists search for story ideas from trending online content and assign reporters to them for CNN digital and social platforms.

With the constant flow of information coming through social media, Zdanowicz said she can spend from minutes to days verifying information posted by users.

“Sometimes it can take me two minutes to vet something and it’s super easy,” she said. “Other times it can take me hours, and it just totally depends on what the story is. But there’s always this pressure in the news world to get things out quickly. You want to be first but – at least the way that we operate as a company – you want to be right.”

Zdanowicz participated in a Skype conference as a guest lecturer in one of Professor Boriana Treadwell’s classes. Treadwell, a former CNN producer, said she invited Zdanowicz because of the passion she has for her job and the willingness she has to share her passion with young generations of journalists.

“She was a pro in social media before social media was cool,” Treadwell said. “Christina has seen tens if not hundreds of thousands of stories that have been posted on social media during her tenure with CNN, and she is an experienced journalist who knows how to distinguish the real from the fake story.”

For Zdanowicz, the weeks following the inauguration of President Donald Trump have been “really interesting,” with – among other things – the president and some in his administration labeling CNN as a purveyor of “fake news.”

Zdanowicz said the accusation will not stop CNN from producing news.

“We’ll keep telling stories and keep pushing,” she said. “We’re going to keep digging on stories, lining off the sources. I think it is really important, and we’re going to keep going.”

SoC Dean Gregory Shepherd said the insight guest lecturers can share with students is essential to the educational process. Many of the speakers are connected to UM in some way, either as alumni or as professional connections of the faculty.

“Students benefit tremendously from these visits, both in hearing the perspective of working professionals, and in being able to network with people outside the university,” he said in an email.

Shepherd said lectures are often a chance for students to turn conversations into internships or jobs. He said Zdanowicz is one of many speakers slated to visit the school this semester but did not give specifics.

William Uricchio, principal investigator at the M.I.T. Open Documentary Lab, will be speaking about documentary filmmaking in the digital age 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Bill Cosford Cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

Correction, Feb. 16, 2017: This article originally misspelled Christina Zdanowicz’s last name as “Zdancowicz” in a number of occasions. The Miami Hurricane regrets this error.

February 15, 2017

Reporters

Elina Katrin


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Marlins will be represented at the All-Star Game for the 25th time on July 11 when the Midsummer ...

Most NBA mock drafts had Miami Hurricanes guard Davon Reed going late in the second round of Thursda ...

University of Miami shooting guard Davon Reed will gather with friends and family in Ewing, New Jers ...

University of Miami great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp announced on Tuesday that he pl ...

The University of Miami continues to make a hard push for five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley of ...

UM female scientists share some insight on women in science, science in Hollywood and how Wonder Wom ...

Read the latest entries from UM students who are spending part or all of their summer visiting diffe ...

UM Student Affairs Advocacy Coordinator Heather Stevens has been awarded the William Leftwich Award ...

President Julio Frenk makes the case for collaboration at eMerge Americas. ...

UM College of Engineering Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet and alumnus Rony Abovitz share the stage in a disc ...

Seven members of the University of Miami track and field program received All-ACC Academic honors fo ...

Three members of the University of Miami rowing team were named to the 2017 All-ACC Academic Rowing ...

The Miami women's basketball team will take on Michigan State at the Watsco Center in the 2017 ...

Two outgoing Miami student-athletes, Shakima Wimbley and Gracie Lachowecki, have officially been nam ...

Miami Deputy AD/SWA Jennifer Strawley has been named a member of the WBCA Board of Directors, as ann ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.