Won’t Get Fooled Again: A Graphic Guide To Fake News
Interview by Sheena C. Howard with Erin Steuter (Author) and Alan Spinney (Illustrator)
Can you tell us a little about Won’t Get Fooled Again: A Graphic Guide to Fake News?
Our graphic novel is a series of conversations among a wide variety of people who are trying to understand fake news and not get fooled. Their critical thinking skills develop through their camaraderie and shared analysis. They work through the frustrations of misinformation and disinformation with a good deal of humor and sincerity.
What inspired you to publish this book?
The rise of fake news generated urgent questions from many people in my community where I am a professor of media and have been giving workshops on media literacy and bias in the news. I felt that I could help more people cultivate their ability to decipher the media if I explained it in a graphic format. I was lucky to find a wonderful graphic illustrator who made my vision a reality.
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Who is your target audience for this book? Who would you like to reach?
Won’t Get Fooled Again: A Graphic Guide to Fake News has a very progressive analysis of the causes, consequences and solutions to fake news and it introduces these ideas very gently to curious readers of all ages and backgrounds. Anyone who feels that they don’t want to get fooled by fake news but doesn’t want to just sit back and trust corporate media is the target audience for this book!
Can you tell us a little about the creative process and the artwork in the book?
The book is illustrated in comic book format, as a graphic novel. It’s made up of dozens of scenes of several pages each, where we meet characters of all ages and from all walks of life. We learn about the characters as we see them interacting in everyday situations, and as they discuss various topics. There is a lot of drama sometimes, which makes for fascinating reading!
Scenes were broken down into a series of artwork panels on pages, first drawn in pencil by hand, and then reviewed to make sure the reader could follow the flow of the story. After they were good to go, I redrew each page in black marker, on paper. This inked artwork was then scanned, and the dialogue was added.
The pages have an open, easy-to-read feel to them. I minimized the background details in the scenes, to keep the reader’s focus on the characters, how they interact and what they say.
There are an amazing variety of characters in the stories in Won’t Get Fooled Again. From the dramatic grandmother figure, to the Muslim soccer fans, and the insightful and tenacious leadership of our Black student heroine. Along with the little creatures who live under the floorboards of the lab, and we have a full slate of personalities!
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What is your long-term vision for Won’t Get Fooled Again: A Graphic Guide to Fake News?
Our graphic novel captures and distills thousands of pages of research on media literacy and presents it in an accessible and engaging manner that resonates with readers. Our hope is that the critical thinking skills that are communicated through the stories will help people to make sense of the news in a variety of contexts and times to come.
Can you tell us a little about the publishing process for this book and who the publisher is?
‘Between The Lines’ is a progressive Canadian publisher that publishes nonfiction books that expose and challenge oppression in our society. We knew our book would be a good match for them because they aim to amplify the struggles of Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities; migrants; women; queer folks; and working-class people. They are organized on a cooperative model and pride themselves on publishing ‘books without bosses.’ This made for a wonderful experience working with their creative team.
Check out the publisher, ‘Between The Lines’ on Twitter below.