Episode 38 – “The Misinformation Spread By Our Immigrant Parents” by Shaun Karakkattu and Sophia Yan

Created for the Exploring Disinformation in Media and Society Buchanan Fellowship

If you’ve ever used WhatsApp you’ve probably been added to a group chat with dozens of distant relatives and what seemed like a great way to reconnect with the family often becomes a tool to spread misinformation. In this episode, Sophia Yan and Shaun Karakkattu address this global phenomenon and what you can do about it.

What was your process for structuring this episode? Did you plan out the entire episode first or did you just experiment with audio until you found something that you liked?

“During the Buchanan Fellowship, the cohort had discussions about misinformation in different historical and cultural contexts, including the AIDs epidemic, Japanese incarceration camp during WWII, and anti-blackness media. At some point, the group brought up the fact that non-English-speaking immigrants in America tend to be more vulnerable to misinformation on social media due to the limited content monitoring and lack of credible news sources in their home language. I think that topic really clicked with me and Shaun due to our shared immigration and multicultural backgrounds. So we decided to produce this episode together on immigrants’ experience of misinformation in the US.” – Sophia Yan

How much research did you do and how did you decide what information to include?

“Because of the knowledge we accumulated during the Buchanan Fellowship, we did not spend a lot of additional time researching for this episode beyond identifying personal anecdotes. We spent some time watching the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episode on immigrants and misinformation in the recording studio together, and we ultimately decided to include our favorite clip in our episode.” – Sophia Yan

How long did it take for you to produce this episode?

“We took about a semester to develop our idea using the lessons we learned from the different weeks of the Buchanan fellowship, but once the idea was developed we filmed and produced the podcast in about two weeks. We spent the first-week planning and refining the script. Then, we proceeded to record the podcast at the Curb center which took about two days.” – Shaun Karakkattu

What advice would you have for students that are interested in producing something similar?

“For students who want to produce something similar, I would recommend finding an idea that they are passionate about or just something different they notice in their day-to-day lives. Sometimes the most interesting conversations are about how the little things people do that impact our system as a whole.” – Shaun Karakkattu