Innovation in 2017

2017: The Year of Un-faking the News

Written by Bonnie Barkmeyer

Fake news; is this journalist’s most hated phrase? Imagine how a professional journalist working for a reputable news source would feel if someone accuses one of their stories of being ‘fake’ or ‘made up’. To even consider this question, we must first understand what exactly fake news is. The concept of fake news has been described as sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports. With this concept being plastered on our news feeds and screens, it is becoming increasingly popular for articles and reports in the media to come under criticism for containing false information. So how is the average reader meant to tell if a news story is ‘real’ or not? Test this out for yourself and see if you can pick out the fake news stories in this quiz from the BBC. Your results may surprise you…

Since the rise in popularity of the fake news saga, some journalists believe 2017 can be the year of ‘un-faking’ what is in the media. Transparency in journalism is key when it comes to gathering information and data; let the readers know exactly how and where you got your information. This not only ensures the production of quality journalism, but it can also be a way of gaining an audience’s trust and loyalty. Ole Reissman said in the 2017 Nieman Lab predictions, “we need to vaccinate the public with real journalism: explaining in detail how we come to a conclusion, how facts are gathered, what should be considered a fact and why — how journalism works in this article.” We need to make the processes and all the hard work that go into the story clear, but most importantly a story needs to be as accurate as possible. S.P. Sullivan agreed with Reissman’s statement, and comments in his article, “let’s tell readers every day: Here’s what we learned, here’s how we confirmed it, and here’s how you can do the same.”

2017 can be the year where we educate the public on how journalism works, so they can apply this to the stories and reports they read. So how will you help the public learn real journalism in your stories?


About the author

Bonnie Barkmeyer