Alumnus Takes On Fake News

By Dan Verderosa, November 27, 2018
Adam Ellick ’99 produced a three-part video series on Russian disinformation for the New York Times.

New York Times correspondent Adam Ellick knows fake news. When the 1999 Ithaca College graduate was reporting from Pakistan a few years ago, he was targeted by conspiracy theories accusing him of being a CIA spy and a terrorist responsible for attacking a school. That experience prompted Ellick to produce a new video series exposing Russian disinformation campaigns.

Operation InfeKtion” explores Russia’s efforts to sow chaos in the U.S. and other Western countries by spreading conspiracy theories and fake news.

Ellick recently appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air, where he discussed the history of Russian disinformation and how some countries have tried to counteract it.

“If you're looking for a silver-bullet solution in how to extinguish a lie, I'm sorry to report that there isn't one,” Ellick told host Terry Gross. “You can't make this stuff go away. But fighting disinformation is an exhausting, never-ending game. And if you don't get in the game at all, you're definitely going to lose. So getting in front of these lies and showing facts is a big part of what's needed.”

Ellick is the director and executive producer of opinion video at the New York Times. He delivered the main address at Ithaca College’s 2016 Commencement ceremony, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.