How To Avoid “Fake News!” (w/VIDEO)

Evansville (WEHT/NNDC) – How do you know if the news you’re reading is legitimate? It’s become increasingly hard to tell in today’s media climate.


Attention-grabbing headlines with no real substance are often hard to ignore if you’re one of the millions on Twitter and Facebook.

But USI journalism instructor Erin Gibson said it’s important to make the distinction between legitimate news organizations making mistakes, and fake news.

“Fake news is the information that is deliberately being created in order to share bad information. They’re deliberately sharing bad information, writing stores that are not true in order to make a profit,” Gibson said.

When making the determination if what you’re reading or watching is fake news, Gibson recommends employing the “whoa, wait, what” method.

“Whoa is that initial reaction of something that surprises you. The wait is the pause to question, is this true? And the what is the series of questions you should ask yourself before you decide if it’s verifiable information,” Gibson said.

But sometimes, the time it takes to ask those questions is more time than people have to spare in the social media age.

“I know I’ve seen a lot of people i know say oh this and this happened. I’m like; well did you check the link to see if it was actually real or not? And they’re like oh no, I just kind of glanced at it. So making sure that it’s real news before they actually post it would be a good idea to just not make them worry over something that shouldn’t be happening,” USI student Rosalinda Ornelas said.

Her friend Kelley Conners also chimed in “I don’t know if that’s real or not real. Sometimes they just say things, and then later they say it’s not a true story. So I don’t know, it’s kind of concerning to see.”

Some outlets often share information based on initial reports, word-of mouth, and police scanner traffic. Gibson said these are valuable tools, but it’s important to differentiate them from information-backed and confirmed news.

“And we have to double check and fact check ourselves. So we as consumers of media now have responsibilities that we didn’t have before,” Gibson said.

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