Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Back in the good old days, news information was mainly delivered in the form of paper, magazines, radio and television. Now, as to whether the information was false or accurate, it seemed easier to detect fake information when its delivery was simpler. For instance, tabloid magazines will often feature stories using a silly headline in a large font. They specifically do this in hopes to capture your attention and read the content found in the magazine. In my experience with browsing tabloid magazines, the “National Enquirer” and the “Star” often distribute exciting yet suspicious information/stories. Celebrities and breaking news are usually easy targets for conflict. Inaccurate information, conspiracies, lies or changes to a narrative are spread often but now a days it can be more challenging to detect fake news due to the growth of the internet and social media.

In today’s digital world, news information can be found everywhere. Sites such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook contains a ton of stories and informational content, which we can choose to accept as true. It can be very easy to get caught up in an interesting headline or two. However, we must be aware that online websites will intentionally try to pass themselves off as authentic when they’re not.

I must admit, I have been fooled more than once with believing fake news to be true and after realizing it is not, I feel pretty ridiculous. As we learned from last week’s class, fact checking is important, especially before sharing creditable/non-creditable information using social media sources. Although it can be difficult to spot fake news, here are five different practices to detect a non-creditable resource:

  • Look for Unusual URL’s
  • Dissect the Layout
  • Dig Deeper
  • Cross-check
  • Try a reverse image search

As an educator, it is important first and foremost that I understand how to detect non-creditable information before I can teach my students about how to detect it. But, if I am not confident in this process, how can I expect my students to be? Doing this requires both research and critical thinking. When identifying fake news, it is essential to discuss examples of creditable and non-creditable resources with our students. In Ryan’s blog, he states “Fake news doesn’t mean we need to panic, and distrust everything’. ‘It does however mean that we need to slow down and read’. ‘Not just read the title of the article, but read the article, and compare it to information that we already know’”. I completely agree with Ryan. By presenting students with the tools they need it will assist them in identifying trustworthy resources, but also teach them how to critically analyze digital literacy. As teachers, we need to model this process and offer our students practice so they may develop self-assurance in their abilities to identify fake news and information.

Thanks for stopping by!

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5 thoughts on “Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

  1. You are so right in the sophistication of news delivery having advanced so much that it can be hard to detect “fake news.” You mentioned that you have been fooled before. I certainly have as well. I imagine headlines are being designed to attract attention from readers with a specific preconception, and we all have them.

    The important thing is not necessarily trying to neutralize our preconceptions, but having strategies to critically analyze the news we are reading, like those you list:
    Look for Unusual URL’s
    Dissect the Layout
    Dig Deeper
    Cross-check
    Try a reverse image search

    Thanks for the post!

    Like

    • Thank you for reading my post, Joe! I appreciate your kind words and I am glad to have shared some strategies that may be of great use for teaching ourselves and our students how to critically analyze news or information that may seem suspicious.

      Like

  2. Was the “National Enquirer” or the “Star” ever considered news or was it more entertainment? The fake news that we are exposed to currently is sold as fact and isn’t as blatant to detect. I grew up trusting CBC, CTV, CNN, NBC and had no reason to doubt them. Sure sometimes, errors happened, but they were always corrected through retractions. Now we have theories of media cover ups and biases, and the sad thing is, I can’t 100% say that there isn’t media cover ups or favoritism about new stories. The truth is that accepting what we see, read or hear through the media without reflection or critique only perpetuates the issues.
    I don’t know what the answer is, or if there is one, but I appreciate your post and the points it brings up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the great post! I completely agree – whether the “tabloids” were considered news or entertainment, it was easy to understand whether they were fake or not – those were the good ol’ days! I have to be honest, I feel pretty overwhelmed when searching the internet for credible information. I feel as though my personality lends itself well to being duped by fake news because I am a trusting, some might say even a gullible person. I love the quick list of ways to check for misinformation. 🙂 The sad truth also, is that even credible sources have incredible bias, pick and choose which facts they present and how and therefore aren’t really even 100% credible. It’s a tough go!

    Like

  4. I find news these days to be extremely overwhelming as I feel that there is as much ‘fake’ news as there is ‘real’ news. I find myself turning away from news and not reading it as it can be overwhelming and quite frightening before determining if it is real or fake. I think that learning to identify fake and real news will help relieve a lot of anxiety in society as some of the fake news stories circulating these days are quite alarming. I feel that news spreads so quickly and reporters just build on each others stories and it can quickly escalate out of hand. I think these tips to analyze news will help to look critically at news stories to determine how credible they are.

    Like

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