A full house heard Naomi Schalit and John Christie tell us how to differentiate real from fake news. Christie gave a brief history of print and early television journalism, which required accuracy, and worked under a code of ethics. The couple then described the pressures put on mainstream media by the internet and 24-hour cable news, which requires constant attention to support it. Consequently, rather than using editorial discretion, the news that draws the most viewers is featured. Another affect of this pressure is the merging of information and opinion. Journalism should leave consumers to draw their own conclusions from the facts presented.
Christie and Schalit wrapped up their presentation with some tips for recognizing and separating news from fiction and opinion. They also shared On the Media's advice, below. You can see their talk at https://www.orcamedia.net/show/integrity-journalism
On the Media's Consumer's Handbook: Fake News Edition
Big red flags for fake news: ALL CAPS, or obviously photoshopped pics.
- A glut of pop-ups and banner ads? Good sign the story is pure clickbait.
- Check the domain! Fake sites often add “.co” to trusted brands to steal their luster. (Think: “abcnews.com.co”) 4. If you land on an unknown site, checks its “About” page. Then, Google it with the word “fake” and see what comes up.
- If a story offers links, follow them. (Garbage leads to worse garbage.) No links, quotes, or references? Another telltale sign.
- Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable outlet reporting the same thing.
- Check the date. Social media often resurrects outdated stories.
- Read past headlines. Often they bear no esemblance to what lies beneath.
- Photos may be misidentified and dated. Use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see where an image really comes from.
- Gut check. If a story makes you angry, it's probably designed that way.
- Finally, if you're not sure it's true, don/t share it! Don't. Share. It.
On the Media's Consumer's Handbook Breaking News
- In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will et it wrong.
- Don't trust anonymous sources
- Don't trust stories that cite another outlet as the source of the information.
- There's almost never a second shooter.
- Pay attention to the language the media uses. “We are geting reports”… could mean anyting “We are seeking confirmation”...means they don't have it. “[News outlet] has learned”...means it has a scoop or is going out on a limb.
- Look for news outlets close to the incident.
- Compare mulltiple sources.
- Big news brings out the fakers. And photoshoppers.
- Beware reflexive retweeting. Some of this is on you.