Journalists fight against fake news

What journalists do to get the news


Trinity Rocha

Alaina Smith

Alaina Smith, Staff Reporter

In this video Marham Nolan explains that one of the difficulties of being a journalist is sorting through the real and fake news that continues to grow everyday. He notes a “huge shift” from the media to the audience. Those who read the news used to be the ones reacting to what is written, but the media now relies on the audience, the people, to post things and share information that can be used in the articles the journalists write.

Youtube, for example, has 72 more hours worth of videos added every minute. On Instagram 58 photos are uploaded per second and on Facebook 3.5 thousand more photos go up in one second. With numbers this large, and growing, journalists should be able to find exactly what they need to produce the best news possible,right? Not exactly, Nolan states that journalists are always trying to play ‘catch up’.

When something big happens journalists have to deal with fake photos, photos taken prior to this event being posted. Even some photos that are real are sometimes questioned. Things like the lighting, and angle of the photo are scrutinized to detect even the slightest trace of fraud. When a photo turns out to be authentic, the journalists then find out everything they can about when and where it was posted and who posted it.

Other times they have content that is ‘gold’ because there is a reaction that can’t be fake and it goes right with the piece being written, but they have to know if it is real or not before they can use it. Therefore journalists use free internet tools to find the people who post the content and track them down to find proof that the image or video is genuine. Nolan mentioned Spokeo  used to search the names of the people who post the fascinating things. Wolfram Alpha was mentioned for checking the weather reports in certain areas at certain times.

Nolan makes it clear here that being a journalist and sorting through everything that is posted on social media trying to see what is real and use it in the news is time consuming and sometimes difficult. Internet tools are used to track down the people doing the posting and check dates and times. They also have to get permission from the content owner and sometimes that too can be a challenge. We all need to understand and appreciate the work that journalists do to bring us the new they do.