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This is an extra credit assignment worth up to 25 points.
We have a new category of news, “fake news” defined as:
Fake news refers to fabricated news. This type of news, found in traditional news, social media or fake news websites, has
no basis in fact, but is presented as being factually accurate. Michael Radutzky, a producer of CBS 60 Minutes, said his
show considers fake news to be “stories that are provably false, have enormous traction [popular appeal] in the culture,
and are consumed by millions of people”. He did not include fake news that is “invoked by politicians against the media for
stories that they don’t like or for comments that they don’t like”. Guy Campanile, also a 60 Minutes producer said, “What
we are talking about are stories that are fabricated out of thin air. By most measures, deliberately, and by any definition,
that’s a lie.” The intention and purpose behind fake news is important. In some cases, what appears to be fake news may
in fact be news satire, which uses exaggeration and introduces non-factual elements, and is intended to amuse or make a
point, rather than to deceive. Propaganda can also be fake news.
With the threat of fake news we are suddenly asked to scrutinize our news sources more carefully to ask not only
what are they telling us, but what is their agenda in telling us something. Does the study of Visual Design Literacy
offer us any tools that help us visually assess the credibility of our news? Using the principles and material offered in
Visual Design Literacy create a written summary and a visualization revealing what might be invisible to us about the
news source.
preparation and research
1. Choose a news source for your review. It can be:
• a newspaper or magazine
• online news source
• social media
1. To the best of your ability, answer these questions about the news source.
• What kinds of stories are being reported?
• Who’s voices are being represented?
• Are there voices suppressed?
• Does the news source seem to have a point of view? If yes, how would you describe it?
• Who is funding the news source? What are their personal interests?
3. What kind of visual grammar does the news source use for its layout and branding? Think about it in terms of the
visual grammar that we outline in Visual Design Literacy.
• Point, Line, Plane
• Rhythm & Balance
• Scale
• Color and Texture
• Time and Motion
4 Based on what we have learned in class, how does the news source use visual material to create meaning?
Do you see signs of:
• Representation, Abstraction, Symbolism?
• Plagarism, Parody Pastische?
• Is the news in any way shaped by the technology that it uses for production or distribution?
• Are there language games or visual jokes at work?f
5. Read the sample case studies on iLearn for examples and suggested approaches to visualizing your material.
Visual Research, An Introduction to Research Methods in Graphic Design
By Ian Noble and Russel Bestly
Pages 174-183
• Write a 250-500 word summary of your news source and what you discovered in your research.
• Create an 11”X17” poster that re-imagines your news source or a story from your news source using relevant visual
techniques that we have learned in Visual Design Literacy to reveal something about your news source that may
have been invisible to us.
grading criteria
• Following the design brief: 20%
• Demonstrating the concept: 40%
• Demonstrating professional execution and high production values: 40%

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