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A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Celebrate National News Engagement Day 2015

News Engagement Day"Imagine a day when everyone engages with news in some form or fashion. That’s the idea behind 'National News Engagement Day,' a day to encourage people of any age to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news."

An initiative of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, "National News Engagement Day" — Oct. 6, 2015 — was created to make engaging with news a priority in society again.

At the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, we took part in the celebration by offering a prize drawing for the top scorers in our news quiz. Inspired by National Public Radio's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" members of the K-State community competed in the quiz by discerning fact from fiction and choosing the correct story amid other fake stories. The results are below.

Google's recent restructuring indeed included a name change to Alphabet. While Volkswagen is  facing criticism over manipulating emissions tests, it has not suggested trade-ins as a solution. Finally, Uber's surge pricing might be controversial, but has not reached the $175 minimum level.

False

As the end of the year approaches, ride-sharing service Uber is under scrutiny about its "surge pricing" policy that will again raise minimum fares up to $175 during New Year's Eve.

"It's just supply and demand," said Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick.

Uber, which uses a cell phone application to request, map and pay for rides, has been wildly successful because of its efficiency and convenience, leading to a $50 billion valuation of the tech start-up.

And while the value might be coming at the expense of captive consumers, Kalanick maintains the cost is worth it.

"By the time you buy a ticket to a party, drinks, maybe some party favors, can you place a price on your safe ride home?" Kalanick said. "It's still way cheaper than getting a DUI."

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26 (36%)
False 

Embattled auto manufacturer Volkswagen is trying to get in front of a public relations disaster by offering to replace customers' diesel cars with its electric model, the e-Golf.

"We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work," Chief Executive Matthias Mueller Mueller said.

The company has admitted to using engine software to cheat diesel car emissions tests.

"There were people in the company who figured you weren't looking," Mueller said. "But we are going to work to rebuild the confidence of our customers, investors and regulators — one car at a time."

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27 (37%)
True 

Internet giant Google renamed itself "Alphabet" this month, forming an umbrella company that oversees several sub-companies, including ventures in smart home products, capital funding, life sciences and robotics.

The restructuring includes a management shake-up, as founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will become CEO and president of Alphabet, respectively. Sundar Pichai will become CEO of Google.

With the transformation to a Alphabet, the company has adopted new code of conduct. Google's famous creed — "don't be evil" — is absent from Alphabet's new code of conduct. "Don't be evil" had been part of Google for more than 10 years, and it was the first line of the organization's code of conduct.

The first line of the code of conduct now reads: "Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries ... should do the right thing."

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20 (27%)

 

Because there are fewer news sources available, local news is sometimes more difficult to engage with, yet the majority of you knew that Provost April Mason is a finalist for the top spot at the University of Arkansas. "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey" is no longer on television, let alone the subject of Kansas legislation. And K-State 2025 is still driving many decisions at the university.

True 

K-State Provost April Mason is a finalist for the chancellor position at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Mason came to K-State in January 2010 as provost and senior vice president, having previously served as dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State University.

Mason is one of three finalists for the Arkansas position, which includes another Kansan -- Jeffrey Vitter, provost at the University of Kansas. Ohio State Provost Joseph E. Steinmetz is the third candidate.

"I am very excited about introducing these individuals to the campus," said U of A System President Don Bobbitt. "I have personally met with each of these candidates and have gotten to know them, their leadership characteristics and their track record."

K-State's provost serves as the university's chief academic officer, overseeing the academic affairs of the university and ensuring its academic standards.

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39 (54%) 
False 

K-State President Kirk Schulz announced last month that the university's ambitious 2025 Visionary Plan was being pushed back. The new goal is for K-State to become a top 50 research university by 2030.

"In my conversations with faculty, staff and students, I often hear recurring questions or statements: 'How are we ever going to pay for everything in K-State 2025?' " Schulz said in the announcement.

Schulz said that tighter budgets forced the move to make the change to "K-State 2030," but that the same thematic elements tenets -- research, undergraduate education, graduate education, outreach, faculty/staff, facilities and athletics -- would be part of the strategy.

"If we can find ways to get the entire K-State family all pulling in the same direction, it will be amazing what we can accomplish as a university," Schulz said.

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11 (15%)
False 

The upcoming season of "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey," hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, might be caught in a black hole for Kansas viewers.

Several state senators in Kansas will propose a bill that would force Fox affiliates in the state to black out the science show completely.

The bill would impose fines on local Kansas television stations affiliated with Fox that air any of the program's 13 episodes.

Statehouse observers see little chance in the bill passing, however, as such control over content would likely result in litigation over First Amendment protections.

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22 (31%) 

 

One of the defining characteristics of news engagement is the need to read beyond the headline or first sentence of a story. While Yogi Berra did pass away, the quotes in the story are generally credited to Winston Churchill. Collin Klein isn't coming back to K-State, but football news is even worse in Maplewood, Missouri, where the district eliminated its team.

 False

Collin Klein, the former K-State star quarterback who finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2012, will get one more year of college eligibility following the NCAA's ruling over paperwork.

John Currie, the K-State athletic director, said that a key document regarding Klein's eligibility was missing. Without it, the NCAA could not verify that Klein had completed his college athletic career.

Currie said that Klein, the 2012 Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, will be listed in the fall K-State football roster in time for next weekend's game.

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5 (7%)
False 

One of baseball's greats died last month. Yogi Berra, 90, who played for the New York Yankees and led both the Yankees and New York Mets to the World Series, was as famous on the field as he was for he unwittingly witty sayings.

During the 1955 World Series, after the Yankees lost a game to the Brooklyn Dodgers, Berra said to his teammates, "When you're going through hell, keep going."

He is also widely quoted for observing that "Americans will always do the right thing, after they've tried everything else."

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47 (67%)
 True

The school board in Maplewood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, disbanded the district's high school football team even though it reached the state championship game five years ago.

A decade ago, such a move would have seemed radical. But concerns are growing about players' safety, and soccer and other sports are gaining popularity.

"Over all, it was, 'Can we field a team that is competitive and safe for the kids to perform?' " said Nelson Mitten, the president of the Maplewood Richmond Heights School Board.

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18 (26%) 

 

It's important to recognize the difference between tongue-in-cheek news and satire. Gov. Sam Brownback had some fun with promoting disaster preparedness when he actually signed the "Zombie Preparedness Month" proclamation. While Scott Walker did end his presidential campaign, the suggestion that the Kochs' campaign donations would be refunded was satirical, not true. Carly Fiorina's opposition to Planned Parenthood comes directly from an Associated Press report.

 False

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called it quits in his run for the Republican nomination for the White House last month.

Walker entered the primary in May as a front-runner in New Hampshire and a darling of both the conservative base and powerful donors after winning battles against public unions in his left-leaning home state. But that promising start was quickly dashed after poor debate performances dried up support from donors.

Two of them, Charles and David Koch, said in a press release that they expect donation to Walker's political action committee, or PAC, to be refunded. The Kansas billionaires gave $500,000 to Unintimidated PAC, which is aligned with Walker's campaign.

Brad Dayspring, Walker's campaign chairman, announced that the money will be refunded as soon as the campaign sells enough T-shirts and other Walker paraphernalia to cover the expense.

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36 (49%)
 True

If he had to, Gov. Sam Brownback might turn to farm equipment to dispatch a horde of flesh-eating zombies — but he is not entirely sure.

However, his youngest son, Mark, has spent time plotting zombie survival strategy, Brownback said Wednesday.

"My son and I talked about this. It would be best to go to my dad's farm and get on a combine. Then you could move through — hopefully you've got enough fuel," Brownback said.

The governor's musings on defeating the undead came as he signed a proclamation declaring October "Zombie Preparedness Month."

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse, or any other disaster for that matter, ideally includes having supplies to last 72 hours. That includes water as well as nonperishable food.

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7 (9%)
True 

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has spent the last two weeks repeating an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. That seems bound to continue as she makes her opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign.

Campaigning here on Friday, Fiorina said she "absolutely" stands by her criticism of Planned Parenthood. Fiorina has brushed off the facts surrounding her claim as a "technicality."

The flap began at Republicans' Sept. 16 presidential debate, when Fiorina brought up widely circulated videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists and showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue to researchers.

"As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape — I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," Fiorina said. "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

That scene does not occur in the videos, produced by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.

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31 (42%) 

 

Entertainment news is rife with rumors and misinformation, so turning to reliable news sources is key. Elton John's talk with Vladamir Putin is true, but the Beckhams outrank the queen in terms of net worth. Brown University is actually the latest institution to revoke — not grant — an honorary degree to Bill Cosby.

True 

What started with a prank call to singer/songwriter Elton John turned in to an actual conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin called the British musician, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian state-run Sputnik news agency, days after news emerged that a prankster claiming to be the Russian leader had phoned him to talk about gay rights.

John, who regularly speaks out on gay rights issues, sided with human rights groups that have criticized a Russian law passed two years ago that forbids discussion of gay issues near children.

In the real Putin-John call, the Russian President agreed to meet the singer if their schedules coincided, Peskov said.

John wrote on Instagram: "If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion."

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38 (54%)
 False

In Britain, who's the wealthiest of them all?

The Queen of England, according to a new study.

Queen Elizabeth II now outpaces even superstar Brits, The Beckhams in value. A report by the London School of Marketing found that David Beckham, 40, and Victoria Beckham, 41 – are valued at a mere $515 million (down from their #1 spot in 2014).

The Queen, 89, is reportedly worth a whopping $712 million due to major investments in the stock market.

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27 (38%)
 False

In recognition of his accomplishments as a humanitarian, author and performer, Brown University will award an honorary doctorate to comedian Bill Cosby.

Brown University President Christina Paxson announced in an email to campus Monday night that Cosby will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters degree during a ceremony Nov. 20, 2015. The decision was made by the Corporation's Board of Fellows, according to the student newspaper The Brown Daily Herald.

The decision has shocked and angered women who have put Cosby at the center of rape allegations. More than 40 women have filed claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

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6 (8%) 

 

Even slight misinterpretations can dramatically change the meaning of important science stories. Bees' tongues are getting shorter — a threat to their survival, and water on Mars is believed to be briny, not fresh. Your germy fingerprint, however, is lingering around your head.

False 

Bees are rapidly evolving to a warming world, in ways that will make them strong survivors of climate change — perhaps matching even the survival rate of certain cockroach species who are known for quick adaptation to a hostile environment.

New research from SUNY College at Old Westbury shows that a species of bumblebees in the central Rockies with unusually long tongues for their body size are showing an increase in the length of tongue — 0.61 percent longer every year. These are adaptations to the deep tubes of certain flowers like Parry's clover and alpine skypilot, that allow the bees to lap at nectar that smaller-tongued species can't reach. The tubes, in turn, are adaptations to the long bee tongues, providing exclusive access to nectar in exchange for exclusive pollination services. Both partners are locked in a co-evolutionary dance, held together by beautifully fitting tongues and tubes.

"We were really surprised at the strength of the result," says Miller-Struttmann, "particularly over just 40 to 50 years.

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19 (27%)
False 

In a major scientific finding, researchers confirm fresh water flows seasonally on the Red Planet.

Right now, 140 million miles away, somewhere on the frigid surface of Mars, there is water forming. Scientists announced they have strong evidence that water flows on the planet, a critical step toward identifying possible life on Mars.

That the water is believed to be fresh—not briny—is another exciting finding. It makes it more likely that the water could support life. Briny water would freeze on Mars, and likely kill any organisms with it.

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41 (58%)
True 

You might not want to tell your OCD friends, but scientists have found that physical contact isn't the only way we spread germs.

Humans have a personal cloud of bacteria that linger in the space around them — a germy "fingerprint" that hovers around our heads in a 90-centimeter (or 3-foot) radius, meaning there's a high chance our microbes are mingling.

New research reveals that the clouds of airborne bacteria may be entirely unique to each person, like a fingerprint. To reach this conclusion, the scientists ran two experiments in which they placed participants in a sanitized room and surrounded them with rings of petri dishes and suspended air filters to catch floating microbes.

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11 (15%) 
 

Want to learn more about National News Engagement Day?