Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News

Mainstream Media, News

The issue of fake news has been increasing exponentially in the technological era and it is becoming out of control. Emerging technologies have attracted new ways to spread the fake news and a lot of people have become victims. The reason for this is that a lot of people are still not trained to spot the wrong news. Students should learn the methods and strategies to evaluate the sources of the news and make sure if the news is accurate and trustworthy.

Whether something is fake or not really comes down to the type of news that a topic is covering. For instance something like popular Disney podcasts in 2017 that cover things like traveling, the best backpack for Disney World and more but those are more opinion based so not as based in actual facts. Other things like politics and such need to be based in facts unlike some other things.

A recent study from Stanford has revealed that adults are easy targets for fake news due to lack of knowledge and preparation. Now, I am going to share some ideas that can be used for teaching and learn how to spot fake news:

Check the Source

The primary step to spot fake news is to check the source of the news. For example, a news website recently published fake news about the Obamas buy a home in Dubai. However, such types of news were not published by leading news websites.

Unfortunately, publishing fake news has become a marketing tool for the new websites or newspapers to attract people. Therefore, you must check whether the source of the news is credible or not.

Similarly, teachers should inculcate to the students how to check the sources of the news and also to cross-check it with reliable sources.

Read the Minor Details of the News

If you find a catchy headline, you must read all the details of the news. Most of the time, the actual news is different from the headline. Nowadays, the headlines are written as a clickbait to attract people.

Take note, however, that the credible and trustworthy websites and newspapers also tend to sensationalize their headlines. Therefore, you must not assume the headline as the whole news; instead, you must continue reading the full story to get the exact news. Teachers should guide the students how to capture the full story. This exercise will prepare them to avoid the scams that use clickbait headlines.

You would be surprised how many people don’t read the details about the news but they will read every detail in an article they are interested in for other topics. If you are looking for the top rated Disney podcasts or the top rated Disney moderate resort for your next Disney vacation, I’m sure you would read the details of the article and even about the author, but when it comes to the news and

Find the Author

Students must be prepared to check the trustworthiness of the author. Most of the time, the authors of the credible news agencies are trustworthy and they report the exact news. However, if you come across articles featured on low-profile blogs, let your students check the credibility of the author.

Instruct your students to visit the bio page of the author and check his past articles and qualification. Search the internet for the name of the author and look if any fake news has been attributed to him in the past.

Look for the Support of the News

Students must also be taught to check the original source of the news. Almost all the news mentions the source of the news. If you cross check that source of the news, then you may find a different story. If you find a different or fabricated story, then it means that the story is fake.                                                                                                                                                    

All in all, we are living in a post-truth world where sensationalism overshadows the facts. We must prepare the students early on how to spot the fake news and to avoid the scam.

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