How to Tell a Fake….in News that is.

By Conner Geyer


The history of the news and how to report has completely changed.  In fact, with consumer journalism on the rise, it may be hard for people to find direct news sources with facts.  People are going to have to be media literate and know where the company that is presenting the facts stand because like all things, everyone wants to make money.  Personally, I am from the generation of online journalism which means I do not read hard copies often and I completely ignore Facebook since once you click on the sidebar of Facebook it links to so many fake stories.  For news I usually go to the television and CNN and at times I even scroll through my snapchat feed which brings me to sites like the Washington Post.  If I use an unfamiliar site I have learned to investigate the ABOUT US page of the site.  This is important since it tells you about the type of people that started the company.  It will also show bias from the company that one should know before using it.  For example the Catholic News Agency states that they follow Pope John Paul’s mission in their ABOUT US page.  This is good to know since there will be a bias.  Therefore, you should always go to more than one source and cross compare articles to find the truth.

According to Wynne Davis from NPR (12/5/16) there are ways to spot a fake story.  One way that I learned was to reverse search an image in an article.  That means to take the image from the story and backtrack the photo to the photographer that took it to see if it is authentic.  Also, if the image appears in many places it is not an authentic image from an original story.  Another tip from Davis is that anything with a .co instead of .com is corrupt.  It is a trick and may even have similar logos.  Davis also points out that the ABOUT US page is critical for readers.  Also, primary sources are important for any news article.

On a recent TED-ED blog, McClure (January 2017) explains that finding out where the article was published is important since some companies have better fact checking than others.  She recommends BBC, NPR, and ProPublica.  McClure also mentions that it is important to reflect on how the article makes you feel.  At first, this might seem silly but propaganda makes you feel strongly and wants to connect to YOU.  Therefore if something makes you super angry it may be fake and worth it to double check on a credible news organization.

The bottom line is that there is no excuse for not using critical thinking skills.  Things can be misrepresented and with the internet and consumer journalism it is important to go double check and not be impressionable with news stories with shocking headlines.  Chances are a company is trying to bait you and either give you fake news or direct you to an ad.  We need to become more media literate.


Fake or Real?  How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts by Wynne Davis (NPR: 12/5/16)

How to Tell Fake News From Real News by Laura McClure (TEDED Blog, 1/12/17)