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News and Media Resources

Neo News

"Today, news breaks 24/7 and spreads instantaneously over cable TV and Internet, amplified by social media. Many purveyors don't adhere to traditional standards of accuracy; some willfully distort. Separating fact from spin - especially in a contentious environment - can be challenging."

Gordon, Dan. "Neo News." UCLA Magazine29.3 (2018): 16-17. Print

The following advice comes from Mr. Gordon's article:

1. Consider the Source

  • a Facebook source or link to an obscure website shouldn't carry the same weight as something in The New York Times.
  • Familiar outlets aren't infallible.
    Some people used to advise that if the URL ended in 'edu', you could believe it, but if it ended in 'com', you couldn't. Now, there are plenty of 'edu' sites putting out things that are outrageous.

2. Get to the Viewpoint

  • It's easy to distort something published or broadcast
    All information is socially constructed. People, events, and backgrounds can be changed or highlighted in different ways.
  • Consider not only the overall leanings of a source, but also the possible biases of individual reporters and editors within an organization.

3. Watch out for Hidden Interests

  • Is the purpose to sell ads by generating clicks or to persuade readers to support a candidate or cause?
  • Watch out for hidden influences of advertising by corporate owners, such as product placement.
    Most often the product placement within the story is purchased and not disclosed. It's harder to see the impact of advertisers in shaping the algorithms of our Google searches or the news we see on Facebook.

4. Keep Looking

  • Be on the lookout for hyperbole.
    Words such as "incredible" can convey partisan approaches without noting different possibilities.
  • Confirm and/or compare news reports and points of view with other trusted sources.
    Continue searching for more information to find layers of different interpretations.

5. Expand the Bubble

  • Seek out sources with fresh perspectives, including international media.
    Most of us depend on our chosen sources, what we see on social media, and what we hear from like-minded friends. What we read and hear tends to confirm rather than challenge our worldview.

6. Don't Stop Believing

  • Be skeptical
    Hyper-partisanship is leading too many people to assume all news is badly distorted or "fake".
  • Don't get to the point where you don't believe anything is real.
    eg. Climate change.
    Skeptics have raised doubts in the minds of a significant segment of the population, even in the face of near unanimity within the scientific community. Know when something is credible and when it isn't.

7. Act responsibly

  • Be responsible when you comment, forward, post and create information that can quickly go viral.

40 Percent

40 percent

With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just having wrapped up two days of testifying to Congress about his company’s data integrity issues, I offer you this fact: One study found that social media platforms are way more effective at driving traffic to purported “news” sites full of deliberately false information than driving people to sites that actually inform readers — 40 percent of visits to fake news sites came from social media, compared to 10 percent for the 690 top U.S. news sites. [NPR]

 

Hickey, Walt (April 12, 2018). 40 percent. Retrieved from https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/significant-digits-for-thursday-april-12-2018/.

How to spot fake trend stories

Reliability of a news source

        

Ideas to consider:  

  1. How long has it existed?
  2. Has it won major awards or the favor of journalistic bodies like Poynter?
  3. What are the potential conflicts with its corporate parent?
  4. What are the backgrounds of its writers and editors?
  5. How much original reporting is the site doing?
  6. How often are its basic facts in agreement with similar coverage elsewhere?

Red flags:

Fake trend stories:
1. Use words like these excessively:
   (These are words that writers use when they don't have data to support their argument.)

    some, few, often, likely, anecdotally
    2. News organizations are slow to retract a story or admit it's a hoax. ( When a story has been proven to be incorrect)

Can you tell the difference between:
1. opinion
2. storytelling
3. satire
4. pure fiction