As the American public is confronted daily by a flood of disinformation – content intended to mislead – some people may be surprised to learn that mainstream news media are contributors to this problem. Not only do digital news outlets disguise paid content to look like news articles, a practice called “native advertising,” but recent research suggests that this form of advertising influences the real journalism that appears next to it. This talk, given by Dr. Michelle A. Amazeen, informed attendees about the origins and evolution of this media practice, how it affects audiences and the industry, and what the implications are for an accurately informed democracy. By better understanding the role of news organizations in perpetuating disinformation, the public can more critically consider the news content they consume.
Dr. Michelle A. Amazeen is Director of the Communication Research Center and an associate professor in the Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations at Boston University. Amazeen’s research program examines mediated persuasion and misinformation. Working at the intersection of journalism studies, media effects, and political communication, her scholarship explores the nature and persuasive effects of misinformation and efforts to correct misinformation. She employs a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to yield results with practical applications for journalists, educators, policy makers, and consumers who strive to foster recognition of and resistance to persuasion and misinformation in media.