Calling Bullshit on Fake News with Jevin West

2018, Media + Information

"The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit—and take advantage of our lowered guard to bombard us with bullshit of the second order. The majority of administrative activity, whether in private business or the public sphere, seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit."

— excerpt from the "Calling Bullshit" course page

Jevin West, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of the DataLab, teaches a course entitled "Calling BS: Data Reasoning in a Digital World" that equips students with the skills to identify and combat misinformation.

On September 13, West will come to SFU to discuss strategies for fighting fake news with an emphasis on data, figures, visualizations and statistics, and participate in an interactive panel discussion with Stuart Poyntz, associate dean of SFU's Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, and Lasia Kretzel, digital reporter with News 1130.

This event takes place as part of the President's Dream Colloquium on Making Knowledge Public.

Thu, 13 Sep 2018

5:30 p.m. (PT)

Fletcher Theatre (Room 1900)
SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre

515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the unceded, traditional, ancestral territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


Jevin West

Jevin D. West is an Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington and co-founder of the DataLab. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences and a Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute. With his colleague, Carl Bergstrom, he developed a new course on "Calling BS" for combatting misinformation, with a particular emphasis on data, figures, visualizations and statistics. The course is now being taught at universities around the globe. The course rooted out of his core research studying the science of science, where he asks questions about the origins of scientific disciplines, the social and economic biases within science, and the impact of publication models on the health of science.


Stuart Poyntz

Stuart R. Poyntz is associate dean of the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology and an associate professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. In 2015, he was a visiting scholar at the Children and Youth Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology and at the Griffith Institute for Educational Research and the Centre for Social Cultural Research Centre at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He currently serves as president of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People and director of the Media Democracy Project.

Stuart’s research addresses children’s media cultures, theories of public life and urban youth media production. He has published three books, including Scene Thinking: Cultural Studies from the Scene PerspectivePhenomenology of Youth Cultures and Globalization: Lifeworlds and Surplus Meaning in Changing Times, and Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction, and has published widely in national and international journals, including the Journal of Children and MediaCultural Studies, the Journal of Youth Studies, the Review of EducationPedagogy and Cultural Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Education, as well as various edited collections.

Lasia Kretzel

Lasia Kretzel is a digital radio reporter with NEWS 1130, based in Vancouver. Her work uses digital and social media, in conjunction with traditional radio formats, to bring accurate, breaking news to audiences. However, it can often bring her in contact with dubious and fake news sources. Her personal experiences with fake news were recently featured in several media outlets including The Guardian, after altered versions of her photographs were circulated online.