In a world saturated by fake news, conspiracy theories and speculation, objective journalism is in a rocky state.
The 2016 election was the tip of the iceberg for fake news. Some are even calling 2016 the year of “post-truth” because of this.
There was a broad range of fake news stories, from Trump winning the popular vote to Pope Francis endorsing Trump and many, many more. Our own president-elect has even had his fair share of jumping the gun on misinformation. An example of this is when Trump tweeted “Just out according to @CNN: ‘Utah officials report voting machine problems across entire country.'” CNN had to later correct his tweet and said it was just Washington County, not the country.
According to an article by BuzzFeed News, an analysis found 38 percent of the time three major right-wing Facebook pages published fake news, and nearly 20 percent of three big left-wing Facebook pages did the same.
As journalists, it’s our duty to be objective. We’ll admit that it’s nearly impossible to be objective 100 percent of the time, but good, honest journalists will always strive to be objective. Complete objectivity doesn’t exist because no person is completely objective. To compensate, journalists need to have good journalistic practices like double-checking facts, researching before-hand, and giving both sides to a story. As the Dixie Sun News staff, we strive for these things.
We live in a time where our president-elect has repeatedly called out the media for not being objective. So, as journalists, we need to strive to continue to be objective and make sure what we’re putting out there doesn’t add to the already large pile of fake news.
Consumers may not know which media sources they can turn to in their time of finding news.
Facebook and Google have recently taken steps to assure that fake news doesn’t spread, but that is still not enough. Some consumers are taking these fake stories as fact, and that is not OK.
It’s very common for consumers to confuse fact with opinion, such as cable news network talk shows and opinion sections in newspapers.
Pause before pushing the share button on social media sites. Make sure what you’re putting out there is true and accurate. Even though consumers oftentimes don’t create the fake news, consumers are responsible for spreading it. Don’t just rely on one media site for your news, be aware of your own biases, and read beyond the headline. Headlines are meant to grab attention and can be exaggerated.
Don’t be the bearer of fake news.
There’s a whole industry built on fake news and clickbait articles, and every click is a vote for what kind of journalism you’d like to see endure. Let’s make it the honest kind.