Discovering Real Information in the Sea of Fake News
The Vista staff works each week to produce an accurate, timely and relevant newspaper for the University of Central Oklahoma campus. (Cara Johnson/The Vista/Photo Illustration).
It seems there is a problem with trusting news.
People read the headlines on their social media newsfeeds and assume they know the full story without double-checking facts or even bothering to see if their source is credible.
When college students do not seem to understand their basic rights or why “freedom of the press” is included in the first amendment, or when the next President of the United States constantly calls the media out for being biased, why should people be surprised about news organizations going out of business?
.@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
Living in the digital age we are constantly bombarded with news, alerts and updates. We hear people around us referring to a story they saw on Facebook from a site that prides itself on giving people what they want to read rather than what they should be informed about.
This is troublesome because if society is always distracted by the latest hysterical video or just the feel-good stories then they are not going to be prepared when something critical comes along.
News organizations continue to fight the “fake news” battle. Some founders of these fake news sites, such as NationalReport.net, only publish these fake stories with the intention to debunk everything they published and show that fake news is harder to spot than what the common person might believe.
There are also satirical news sites, such as TheOnion.com, which are used merely for entertainment purposes.
New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said it best in his speech to the Detroit Economic Club when he spoke about society and the rise of fake news.
“Whatever its other cultural and social merits, our digital ecosystem seems to have evolved into a near-perfect environment for fake news to thrive,” Thompson said.
In this process, journalists and news organizations across the country have all united to say one thing: come to us for the real news.
Journalists are not the enemy. Journalists are trained to provide accurate, credible and timely information so people can make well-informed decisions about their lives. In other words, journalists are trained to be public servants- just like police officers, fire fighters or health professionals.
Therefore when there are people out on the streets that have shirts depicting lynching members of the press, then there is a serious concern for the safety of journalists.
— Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) November 6, 2016
But instead of falling prey to scare tactics, journalists wake up every morning for that higher purpose and do their job.
Here at The Vista, we know that we have a big responsibility on our shoulders. We want you to know that it is okay to disagree with us or to have an opinion on something we publish. Just like other newspapers around the state and country, we encourage interaction and double-checking our facts.
The goal of The Vista and other newspapers is to contribute to a well-informed society- something that this democracy needs to get a grasp of before we lose what it means to function freely in our “open-marketplace of ideas” country.
So value where you get your news, pick up a newspaper, do your own research to discover the truth. We are all here together to find out the truth.