2 Minutes on…FAKE NEWS with Lillian Martell
Until recently, “fake news” was a term mostly used by journalists and avid news readers. Now, due to the recent presidential election, the term has engulfed the country.
Lillian Martell, a visiting assistant professor dedicated to news writing for contemporary audiences, has been following the national discussion about fake news. In an interview, Martell outlines the true definition of fake news, how to spot it, and how to stop the spread of it.
Today we live in a fast-paced world, where everyone wants to come in first. This is also true when it comes to news outlets who are very competitive when it comes to who has the story first. This means they may no longer follow the high ethical standards used in news writing, which then can lead to fake news.
Fake news is an intentionally fabricated story that tends to spread rapidly, primarily through social media. Fake news draws more shares and engagement because the story topics use persuasive strategies to appear that the story is true.
The writers of these articles tend to use preconceived ideas that their audience wants to believe, therefore making it easier for them to accept. The more details the writer adds, the more concrete the story sounds. They write the story as if it were true using all the same news element they would in a real story.
When it comes to fake news, there’s not a particular group who falls for it. Demographics don’t seem to play a major role—even some journalism students fall for fake news.
There is a simple way to tell if a story is fake: Google. Fact check an article and validate the URL before believing the content. To avoid fake news all together, stick with news outlets that follow ethical values.
How do we stop fake news from spreading? This is easier said than done. Share responsibly. Social media companies have a responsibility to put in more effort in flagging fake news sites and stories, so they can help their subscribers steer away from fake news.