Vail Symposium to tackle fake news |

Vail Symposium to tackle fake news

Daily staff report
"Fact vs Fiction: The Advent of Fake News and How to Discern the Truth" will take place at Hotel Talisa in Vail on Thursda from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Special to the Daily


What: Fact vs Fiction: The Advent of Fake News and How to Discern the Truth

with Sam Gill and David Mikkelson, moderated by Greg Dobbs.

When: Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Hotel Talisa.

Cost: $25 prior to midnight on the day before the program and $35 after midnight and at the door. Tickets:

Turn on the television, pick up a paper or peruse social media and chances are you’ll find a mention of fake news. Though the phrase “fake news” initially popularized in the lead up to World Wars I and II and it’s believed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg entered it into our modern public lexicon in November of 2016. It was even named word of the year in 2016. But what are the origins of fake news? On Thursday, two experts will help distinguish fact from fiction in this special discussion with the Vail Symposium.

“The term ‘fake news’ reached its zenith in the last presidential election,” explained Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “It made people stop and think about how they consumed news and where these stories and ideas were actually coming from. We’re thrilled to have Sam Gill and David Mikkelson join us to help us not only understand what’s accurate, but also how to proactively search out the truth.”

As the proliferation of inaccurate information continues to saturate the public, individuals must learn how to measure the validity of what’s being disseminated because the impact of fake news on society is still being measured. And while journalists strive to seek out the truth from fiction (it’s an integral part of their job), it’s also important to learn how to distinguish the truth for yourself.

Join the Vail Symposium and learn how an inaccurate news story can influence the voters’ choice of candidate and if the proliferation of fabricated news influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. We’ll also discuss strategies to distinguish between fake news and truthful reporting to protect yourself in this ever-expanding information environment; the speakers will also answer questions after the presentation.

About the speakers

Sam Gill joined the Knight Foundation in June 2015. The Knight Foundation fosters informed and engaged communities and supports ideas that promote quality journalism. Gill oversees the Community and National Initiatives program, which works to attract and nurture talent, promote economic opportunity and foster civic engagement in 26 communities across the United States. He also oversees the Learning and Impact program, which pursues research on the broader context of Knight’s work and the impact of Knight-supported programs. Gill earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Chicago and a Master of Philosophy in politics from the University of Oxford, England, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

David Mikkelson is the founder and CEO of, the oldest and most respected fact-checking site online. Mikkelson founded the site in 1994 and today the site receives more than 20 million unique monthly visitors. Managing everything from researching and writing articles about urban legends to overseeing the site’s technical infrastructure, he made the go-to place for Internet users to query the veracity of anything questionable they encounter online. Mikkelson also speaks worldwide about combating fake news and the rise of the digital age and its impact on investigative journalism.

From his “boots on the ground” news coverage in more than 80 countries around the world, moderator Greg Dobbs is a professional speaker on global affairs, the author of two books (with two more in the works) and a journalist for almost 50 years, spending most of his time as a correspondent for two American television networks. Dobbs is the winner of three Emmy Awards and the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; he was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame in 2017.

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