In today’s digital world, we can access nearly any information we want at the touch of a button. There are millions—even billions—of search results for every Google query. It’s never been easier to get news on any topic, and it’s also never been harder to spot between fake and real. The internet is full of false rumors, worthless gossip, and politically-motivated propaganda that are hard to pick out from the truth. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and others from falsehoods. Here are 6 tips to avoid fake news.
Strengthen Your Media Literacy
Media literacy refers to the ability to think critically about what you see online. Instead of accepting what media outlets tell you at face value, you should evaluate and analyze their content to see if there is a hidden agenda or an attempt to bury facts. Don’t accept anything as truth without careful research.
Read a Story All the Way Through
Sometimes, news stories will have misleading titles to draw readers in. Before you believe what the headline says, read the whole article and see if it lines up with its title. Do they match, or was the headline clickbait? If these two elements don’t match, be wary of the source’s reliability.
See If Other Websites Are Reporting On a Story of Interest
The big news is hard to hide, and journalists are constantly competing to get the latest scoop before others. You can almost guarantee that if one news outlet starts reporting on a big story, others are sure to follow. If you can’t find any other news source reporting on a juicy piece of information, be wary. It could mean the news outlet faked the story for clout, which is an unethical journalistic practice that is more common than you might think.
Analyze the Writing
Reputable news stories go through intensive rounds of fact-checking and editing. By the time the copyeditors and proofreaders get done, there should not be a single comma, period, or word out of place. If you notice a lot of grammatical errors and awkward phrasing in an article, you’ve likely found an unreliable news source. Professional journalists take their final products seriously.
If you’re wondering whether you’ve found a reputable source, do some research. Check the website for an about page and see what the creators say about themselves. Then look for reviews and comments to see what others have to say about the source. Do the website’s creators have a reputation for being reliable or do they receive a lot of complaints for fake news? This information should be easy to find out with a little digging.
Be Aware of Satire
Not all “news” outlets are trying to present reliable information, but they aren’t attempting to deceive people either. Some sites specialize in satire, meaning they create purposefully ridiculous news stories to entertain people. Good examples of satire sites are the Babylon Bee and World News Daily Report. These sites write fictional content in the form of serious news stories. A majority of satire sites contain a disclaimer explaining their articles aren’t real. You can always check for one if you believe you’ve come across a satire site.
How to Write Reliable Content
Now that you know how to avoid fake news, you’re ready to learn how to write legitimate content. Writing factually-correct stories is important for many professions, though we will be talking specifically about digital marketing companies here. Part of creating a relationship with your customers through marketing is providing reputable content. Here are 4 ways you can do that:
Get a Fact-Checking Team
As we mentioned above, the best journalists have fact-checkers. You should too! Have your content creation team members take turns between fact-checking and writing. This ensures a fresh pair of eyes on every piece of content.
Create an Editorial Calendar
The organization is key. When you aren’t organized, you make more mistakes, often because you’re rushing to get things done. It’s easy to type 100 instead of 10 when writing a news article in a hurry. To avoid these mistakes, you need to establish an editorial calendar with strict deadlines. That way, all articles are turned in on a certain date. Then there is time to proofread, edit, and fact-check.
Be Transparent About Your Sources
Referencing reputable sources is a great way to establish your own authority. Just be certain to distinguish between what is your original content and what information comes from another source. If you use an interesting statistic, mention your source by name and provide an external link so readers can examine it for themselves.
Admit to Your Mistakes
No company is perfect. Even the best journalists miss a comma here and there, and sometimes false facts get out despite the best intentions. When these things happen, the worst you can do is try to hide them. Admit you’ve made an error during publication and correct yourself. People are more likely to respect you for being honest than for feigning perfection.
Work With Our Content Marketing Team!
Writing high-quality news sources and telling facts from fiction are both difficult tasks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of content marketing but would like to give it a try, rely on USA Link System for assistance. Our team will help you develop an editorial calendar and get you started with your first round of content in no time. Contact us today for assistance!