CCHU9074 Arts and Humanities
Beyond Fake News


Course Description

Never before has the need for “news literacy” been more urgent for our healthy civic life. A constant stream of fraudulent news stories in our daily media diet has given rise to troubling cultural trends and alarming political movements in recent years across the world. False claims, misleading factoids, exaggerations, propaganda, hoaxes, rumors, satire, questionable advertising, radical extremism, and other types of misinformation and disinformation are now being masqueraded as journalism.

We need to understand the complexity of information disorder and its intertwined ecology composed of human behavior, computer algorithms, and strategic communication tactics. We need to know how to effectively navigate through the abundance of media content in order to identify dependable facts and recognize an intricate web of factors affecting our perceptions from culture to ideology.

Drawing on data science, statistics, digital forensics, journalism, cognitive science, social psychology, marketing, politics, and media studies, this inquiry-based, hands-on course teaches how to conceptualize methods of news consumption. Students will investigate specific topics and work on case studies in order to acquire a more advanced digital tool dexterity as well as a more analytical mindset.

[The 2-hour lecture and 1–hour tutorial will be held back to back each week on Wednesday.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyze information and evaluate its authenticity by employing fact checking skills and latest online verification tools.
    2. Identify falsehood and demonstrate precisely why it is erroneous.
    3. Recognize the differences between assertion and verification, between evidence and inference, between message frames and media bias, and cognitive dissonance and logical flaws.
    4. Understand how the misinformation ecosystem works and forms a network of influence.
    5. Produce quality case studies on the process of verification.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self-study 24
Laboratory 24
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 30
Assessment: Poster presentation (incl preparation) 15
Total: 129

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Case study 30
Research proposal 25
Poster 25
Participation 20

Required Reading


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr M. Kajimoto
Journalism and Media Studies Centre, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4005
Email: kajimoto@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr M. Kajimoto
Journalism and Media Studies Centre, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4005
Email: kajimoto@hku.hk