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Fake News: What is Real Journalism?

How to Identify and Avoid Fake News

Fact vs. Opinion

Opinion Explained

News organizations will also have opinion pieces. True opinion reporting is meant to stimulate the public with new ideas. It should allow readers to gain new perspectives on issues.

When Opinion is okay:

  • The article is properly labeled as opinion
  • Knowledgeable/Expert Author
  • Supported by: Facts, Statistics or Examples
  • Non-emotional tone

When Opinion is NOT okay:

  • Highly subjective: based on feelings/beliefs
    • Sarcastic/emotional tone
  • Not supported by factual information
    • No statistics or facts
  • Contains assumptions/gossip/rumors

Real Journalism

Real news organizations and journalists work hard to ensure that their reporting is fair, balanced and bias free. Below is an info graphic that explains the four qualities they strive for. Bias occurs when there is an absence of these qualities. 

Journalism Explained

Fact-Based news needs to be supported by evidence. Evidence can be:

  • Hyperlinks to Outside Sources
    • Scientific studies
    • government information 
    • statistics 
    • polls
    • reports
  • Direct Quotes and/or Named Sources
    • witnesses
    • Experts knowledgeable on the subject

Why Is Journalism Important?

With all the discussion about fake news, it's important to remember why journalism plays an important role in our lives. This clip from Last Week Tonight's John Oliver highlights the current state of journalism: the good and the bad and why it's necessary.




What is News?

"Information of some public interest that is shared and is subject to a journalistic process of verification, and for which an independent individual or organization is directly accountable. " Center For News Literacy

The bottom line is that reputable news organizations have an editorial process that works to ensure that they are accurate, fair and balanced. The danger with the internet is that it has given a platform to non-mainstream media that don't necessarily go though such a stringent process. In addition, even reputable organizations will sometimes slip and show unfairness or bias. This is why it is so important for readers to understand what their news should be and determine for themselves if what they are reading is accurate, fair and balanced.