‘Infodemic’ Reporting Project Investigates Impact of Scams, Disinformation

The rise of scams and disinformation and its impact on society and daily life are the focus of a comprehensive reporting project produced by Newhouse School students.

Infodemic” includes more than 30 stories packaged with photos, videos, illustrations, audio, data visualizations and other interactive media. The wide-ranging report was released May 1 on TheNewsHouse.com, a multimedia news site for Syracuse University to teach practical and digital skills needed for the media industry, in conjunction with WAER-88.3 and The Stand South Side newspaper.

The project, which involved more than 100 student journalists, investigated the sources and effects of disinformation that have undermined trust in communities and democracy overall, and explored ways to combat disinformation. About a dozen Newhouse faculty and staff members advised the student editors and contributors who worked on stories during the 2022-23 academic year.

A broadcast journalism graduate student stands before a cameras to be filmed in front of a green screen
Tyger Munn, a Newhouse broadcast and digital journalism graduate student, stands in front of a green screen to be filmed for a video to introduce the Infodemic project. (Photo by Collin Bell)

“The truth about so many aspects of life seems rather elusive these days,” said Jon Glass, professor of practice of magazine, news and digital journalism and executive producer of TheNewsHouse.com. “This project gave our students a chance to dive in and explore the prevalence of scams, disinformation and propaganda.”

“Infodemic” drew inspiration from work connected to a Knight Foundation grant project led by Greg Munno, an assistant professor of magazine, news and digital journalism, and Shelvia Dancy, a former Newhouse professor of practice now teaching broadcast and digital journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

That project, “Combatting Disinformation in Communities of Color,” has been developing and testing community-based disinformation interventions on Syracuse’s South Side, according to the Knight Foundation.