Fake news, The Gainesville Sun, & the Cuban War of Independence

The Matheson History Museum is excited to welcome Paul Losch, Head Librarian of the George A. Smathers Latin American and Caribbean Collection at UF, to share a gem of fake news from the pages of The Gainesville Sun, tracing Gainesville’s connection to the Cuban War of Independence on Thursday, April 6, at 6 pm.

From April to June 1895, The Gainesville Sun ran a series of reports from a “war correspondent” who was supposed to be in Cuba, but who was actually living in Gainesville and fabricating the news.

These reports were picked up by wire services and were published in all the leading newspapers around the country, as if they were real news.

Eventually, the hoax was exposed in dramatic fashion.

While the story has some aspects of an amusing prank gone awry, it also offers a lesson on how the public can be misled on serious subjects when the media are not held to high professional standards.

Paul Losch is the Head Librarian of the Latin American and Caribbean Collection at the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. He is a graduate of Clark University and, before becoming a librarian, he was a Spanish teacher in the US, and an English teacher in Brazil.

He has a MA degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, a Masters of Library Science degree from Florida State University, and is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Higher Education Administration at the University of Florida.

The Matheson History Museum is loated at 513 E. University Ave. in Gainesville. Admission is free. Parking is available on the east side of the museum, at the Law Offices of Attorneys Folds & Walker, and the Kirby Smith Administration Building.

For other events at the Museum, see www.mathesonmuseum.org. D

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