Global tensions are simmering. Ethnic minorities are being persecuted. Propaganda and fake news stories are filling the headlines. How to sort fact from faction?

It sounds familiar, but the year was 1937. At Teachers College, a new organization called the Institute for Propaganda – bankrolled by the department store magnate and philanthropist Edward Filene – has set up shop under Clyde Miller, a former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. As reported in The Columbia Journalism Review, for the next decade, IPA's seven-member staff devoted its efforts to analyzing propaganda and misinformation in the news, publishing newsletters, and educating schoolchildren to be more tolerant of racial, religious, and ethnic differences.

Edward Filene

BACKING DEBUNKING Filene, known for fair deals, liked his journalism on the square, too.