Poynter Institute hosts event in Tampa on fake news and democracy

Stop the Presses! The Poynter Institute is hosting a discussion on the evolution of fake news and its impact on the democratic system at the Henry B. Plant Museum located at The University of Tampa on Friday, April 29th.

Cynthia Gandee Zinober, executive director of the Henry Plant B. Museum, says that “Yellow journalism and fake news are phrases used regularly today, but the history of both is so very interesting. The speakers are brilliant journalists and will cover the topic in a creative way by sharing details and information that is not well known.”

The event, The History of Fake News: From the War of 1898 to the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine, will begin with a cocktail reception of hors d’oeuvres on the veranda at 5:30 p.m. After chatting with fellow guests, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the new exhibit at the former Tampa Bay Hotel called Stop the Presses! Fake News and the War of 1898.

Curated by Dr. Charles McGraw Groh of The University of Tampa, the exhibit invites visitors to explore the effects of yellow journalism on democracy during critical moments in history. The term “yellow journalism” stems from cartoonist Richard F. Outcault’s character “Yellow Kid,” which was originally created for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. William Randolph Hearst realized the success of the use of color in comics and convinced Outcault to bring the character to the New York Journal. The tense rivalry between the two publishers translated into the character becoming a symbol of sensationalism in journalism. When attendees enter the Stop the Presses! exhibit, they will be met with original images of the character Yellow Kid by Outcault. 

The exhibit documents the wartime experiences of journalists who stayed at the Tampa Bay Hotel while it was a headquarters for the U.S. Army’s invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Stop the Presses! provides attendees with the unique opportunity to view reports from war correspondents, authentic artwork from Frederic Remington, and even read a piece from the New York Journal about the torpedo hole in the USS Maine.

The event will immerse attendees in journalism from the late 1890s to the present day with the featured presentation at 6:45 p.m. when Poynter’s senior VP Kelly McBride will moderate a discussion on journalism’s role in encouraging citizens to participate in the democratic process. Panelists will include Alex Mahadevan, program manager of MediaWise, and Katie Sanders, managing editor of PolitiFact.

Tickets to the event are $50 and space is limited to the first 75 ticket purchasers. Proceeds from this fundraising event support Poynter’s work to safeguard press freedom in healthy democracies. 

To learn more, visit The Poynter Institute for Media Studies online.

83 Degrees Media and the Tampa Bay Times are media partners for the event.

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Read more articles by Meghan Christopher.

Meghan Christopher is a graduating senior at the University of Tampa pursuing a degree in advertising and public relations. Originally from Palm Harbor, her dream job is to work for a public relations agency dedicated to social change. Meghan also is on the digital communications committee for PRSA Tampa Bay and currently works as a public relations intern for Lynn Public Relations. Meghan enjoys painting, spending time with friends, and finding new places to explore in the Tampa Bay Area.