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Fact vs Fiction: The Advent of Fake News and How to Discern the Truth

  • 06:00 PM
  • 970-476-0954

Fact vs Fiction: The Advent of Fake News and How to Discern the Truth

Hot Topics

with Sam Gill and David Mikkelson, moderated by Greg Dobbs

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Hotel Talisa | Vail

Turn on the television, pick up a paper or peruse social media and chances are you’ll find a mention of “fake news.” But what are the origins of fake news? The term is relatively new, but the proliferation of inaccurate information is nothing original. But it’s not just up to journalists to seek out the truth from fiction (though that’s an integral part of their jobs) — individuals must learn how to measure validity, too, because the impact of fake news on society is still being measured.
In the last national election, the term “fake news” reached its zenith in the public lexicon but many questions remain: How can an inaccurate news story influence voters’ choice of candidate? Did the proliferation of fabricated news influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election? What are some strategies we can use to distinguish between fake news and truthful reporting? How can individuals, families, organizations, companies and governments protect themselves in this new information environment?
Join the Vail Symposium for a special program where these questions and many others will be addressed as our experts help distinguish fact from fiction.
Sam Gill joined the Knight Foundation in June 2015. The Knight Foundation fosters informed and engaged communities and supports ideas that promote quality journalism. Gill oversees the Community and National Initiatives program, which works to attract and nurture talent, promote economic opportunity and foster civic engagement in 26 communities across the United States. He also oversees the Learning and Impact program, which pursues research on the broader context of Knight’s work and the impact of Knight-supported programs.
Gill earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Chicago and a Master of Philosophy in politics from the University of Oxford, England, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He serves on the boards of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami and the Miami-Dade Urban Debate League.
David Mikkelson is the founder and CEO of, the oldest and most respected fact-checking site online. Mikkelson founded the site in 1994 and today the site receives more than 20 million unique monthly visitors. Managing everything from researching and writing articles about urban legends to overseeing the site’s technical infrastructure, he made the go-to place for Internet users to query the veracity of anything questionable they encounter online. Mikkelson also speaks worldwide about combating fake news and the rise of the digital age and its impact on investigative journalism.
Veteran correspondent Greg Dobbs will moderate this program. From his “boots on the ground” news coverage in more than 80 countries around the world, particularly throughout the Middle East and Russia (as well as coverage of the U.S. space program), Greg Dobbs is a professional speaker on global affairs, the author of two books (with two more in the works) and a journalist for almost 50 years, spending most of his time as a correspondent— including roughly two decades as a foreign and war correspondent— for two American television networks, primarily ABC News. He also hosted Colorado State of Mind for six years for Rocky Mountain PBS. Greg is the winner of three Emmy awards and the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Society of Professional Journalists. For many years he also wrote weekly op-ed columns, first for The Rocky Mountain News, then for The Denver Post. In 2017, Greg was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.
This program is generously underwritten by Sandy & Fred Pack and Laura Tumperi; the Hot Topics Series is generously underwritten by Cindy Engles and Kathy & Neal Kimmel.

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