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Day: August 29, 2017

29 Aug

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

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. For instance there could  be an article about portable basketball hoops about the best outdoor basketball hoop of the year but the article itself might not actually be about it, they could be just using the headline to get clicks that they know people want to see.

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.

 

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.