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Communication, Academic

Twitter bird illustration
Spring 2018

Truth or consequences

Fake news nearly started a war between Qatar and its neighbors in 2017. In Pakistan, a highly placed official bought into a fake news story warning that Israel was going to destroy Pakistan, and tweeted a warning at Israel that his country, too, was a nuclear power. And in Washington, D.C., an armed vigilante burst into a pizzeria and fired three shots, thinking he was bringing down a sex-slave ring.

While news has never been neutral, something has changed: Information has become weaponized. What’s changed, says Washington State University communications professor Doug Hindman, is that the marketplace of ideas has broken down under the … » More …

Illustration of paper with question mark
Spring 2018

How to become information literate?

It takes four moves and a habit

Michael Caulfield’s approach to information literacy is simple. He argues that we should teach students to be fact checkers instead of rhetoricians. In rhetoric, readers spend a great deal of time reading closely, analyzing syntax and word choice for tone. Fact checking, though, is quick, involving only “four moves and a habit,” Caulfield, director of networked and blended learning at WSU Vancouver, says. A recent Stanford University study supports the idea that a fact-checking strategy is superior to close reading.

Look for previous work. When fact-checking a particular claim, the quickest, simplest thing to do is to … » More …

Cover of At Home with Ernie Pyle
Spring 2018

At Home with Ernie Pyle

Cover of At Home with Ernie Pyle

Edited by Owen V. Johnson ’68

Indiana University Press: 2016


A glimpse into the life and times of American journalist and Indiana favorite son Ernie Pyle, as seen through an extensive collection of Pyle’s folksy newspaper columns stretching from his student days in 1921 until his death by sniper fire during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

The homespun Hoosier, as Pyle was known, grew up in small-town … » More …

Charles Hudson
Spring 2018

Living the fighting spirit

Hunting and rodeoing, playing football and singing in the school choir. For Charles Hudson ’84, growing up in the ’60s and ’70s on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation in rural North Dakota also meant listening to stories from his Hidatsa mother and white rancher father. One of them was about a huge flood — and it wasn’t a myth.

Six years before Hudson was born, construction of the Garrison Dam submerged 550,000 acres of Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara (the Three Affiliated Tribes) land, resulting in Lake Sakakawea and forcing hundreds of families to flee, including Hudson’s. The tragedy only inspired his parents to triumph over it.

» More …

Stop signs with x and green check marks
Spring 2018

Fact or Fiction? Using the Web to Quickly Fact-check Social Media Feeds

Although titled Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, Michael Caulfield’s book is in fact for all of us. That’s why he subtitled the book as also being for “other people who care about facts.” As he writes, the web “is both the largest propaganda machine ever created and the most amazing fact-checking tool ever invented.”

Most efforts at teaching web literacy have focused, the Washington State University staff member writes, on time-consuming critical thinking and on producing and publishing things on the web. While both are valuable skills, they fail to address the much more urgent need: how to evaluate the information we are presented with … » More …

Ana Cabrera
Fall 2017

Live from New York . . .

When Ana Cabrera ’04 first set foot on Washington State University’s Pullman campus in 2000, she had no idea she’d be live on national television in 17 years.

She didn’t know she’d go on to work as a weekend anchor for CNN and live in New York City. She was unaware that she’d cover major stories like riots in Ferguson, marijuana legalization, and immigration—or that her life would soon be at the 24/7 mercy of the “news gods.” And she certainly couldn’t predict that the president of the United States would call her and her fellow journalists the “enemy.”

What she did know was … » More …

Privacy, Surveillance, and the New Media You cover
Fall 2017

Privacy, Surveillance, and the New Media You

Privacy, Surveillance, and the New Media You cover

Edward Lee Lamoureux ’80 MA Speech Comm.

Peter Lang: 2017


You open your browser to your favorite news site, and there on top is an ad for Cougar logo socks. “Wait a minute,” you might ask yourself. “How did they know I just looked at a tweet about Coug socks?” Or you might not even think about it.

That slightly creepy sensation of losing one’s privacy, and … » More …

Robot typing
Summer 2017


Subject. Verb. Object.

These are the basic building blocks of written communication. It’s what you need to make a complete sentence like the one you’re reading now.

Structured. Logical. Direct.

This also is why parts of my chosen career are ripe for takeover by robots.

For millions of Americans, the defining realization of how fast artificial intelligence is evolving came in 2011 when Watson — IBM’s now-celebrated language processing computer — won the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy by beating two of the game’s top champions.

I watched with fascination as well. But, for me, the point was driven home even harder a few years … » More …

Spring 2017

Anna King ’00

Growing up in the foothills of Mount Rainier, Anna King ’00 figured she’d end up either a veterinarian or a writer. Her family ran a small cattle farm in Roy, and she loved animals.

King participated in 4-H projects, raising animals but also giving presentations that taught her to communicate with an audience. When a TV reporter from the Seattle area paid a visit to her high school class, she remembers thinking, “This person is so smart, so edgy, so inspiring.”

The Honors College alumna worked for several newspapers in the Puget Sound area, including the Puyallup Herald. She figured out early that … » More …

Dan Maher
Spring 2017

Dan Maher ’78

Everywhere you go on the Palouse, there’s Dan Maher ’78. He’s playing at the Co-op in Moscow, the farmers’ markets in Pullman and Moscow, on Terrell Mall on the WSU campus—if there’s acoustic live music, Dan Maher, his guitar, and his guide dog can’t be far.

But, says Maher, the music scene is nothing like what it once was. “When I was a student here in the early ’70s there was a guitar every 30 feet. Everybody played guitar! We used to go to the basement of the K-House and jam every night.”


Even if you’ve never seen Maher play live, you may have … » More …