The Guardian US offers tips and tricks for those who want to be responsible consumers of news

What is fake news? It is something that is false masquerading as the truth, at least that is what is sounds like.

Throughout the course of the 2016 election and President Trump’s first month in office, the term fake news has been gaining traction. In fact, President Trump himself has incorporated the term into his vocabulary and accused various individuals and news outlets of creating and spreading fake news.

The Guardian US edition directly addressed the topic of fake news in December 2016 with an article written by Elle Hunt. Hunt’s article, “What is fake news? How to spot it and how you can stop it,” takes a look at fake news and how it comes to be accepted as truth by the public and public figures.

Hunt defines fake news as, “a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”

Hunt gives readers tips on how to spot fake news. Look for red flags in the domain name, such as the inclusion of “.com.co” and suspicious information in the About Us section.   See if any other publication covered the story that is being reported on what those publications wrote about it.

Hunt recommends that you assesses the validity of a news source before you share any information it purports to be true.

Of course, there are some news outlets, such as the Onion, that aren’t news outlets at all. It can be difficult to differentiate between news and satire when the news becomes increasingly outrageous. Generally speaking, satire publications such as the Onion and the Bad Reporter are not attempting to trick their readership into thinking that the content they are producing is true and factual. Still, satire has been known to be taken at face value in the past and can give some readers the impression that it is intended to be real news.

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Even young people, the supposed digital natives, have difficulty distinguishing between credible and non-credible online news sources, according to a study done by researchers at Stanford University that was conducted between January 2015 and June 2016. The survey looked at thousands of middle school, high school and university students and their ability to consume digital news responsibly.

“Share responsibly. Much as it might depress you to think in such terms, you are an influencer within your own social network: put in the legwork above, and only post or share stories you know to be true, from sources you know to be responsible,” wrote Hunt.

Check out the story here for more!

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Super Bowl 2017 proves to be anything but boring

I am not an avid football fan. Although I will tune into a game and have spent many a Saturday afternoon sitting on the splintering benches of California Memorial Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley, I was not invested in Super Bowl 2017.

However, The Guardian’s Tom Lutz’s colorful recap of the game was, while not quite as lively as Lady Gaga’s halftime performance, entertaining and enjoyable. Lutz seems to be aware that a basic play by play of any sports match isn’t an exciting read, so he spices it up by taking it upon himself to cast aside his news voice and write honestly.

One can tell that Lutz is passionate about Super Bowl, and it is far more enjoyable to read the thoughts of someone who actually cares about the topic they are reporting on than an attempt to sound enthused by an apathetic person. Lutz’s uses colorful language in his recap, such as when he refers to the Patriots’ victory as “a frenzied, brain-frying climax,” that has more life breathed into it than a simple “the Patriots won in overtime.”

Lutz also displays his skill as a storyteller by reminding readers of the Patriots history throughout the season. Boston’s home team is painted as the underdogs rising to the challenge after Tom Brady, the starting quarterback, spent the first four games of the season on the bench after he was found guilty of deflating footballs in order to give himself and his team the advantage over opponents.

It is an interesting twist to present the Patriots as the underdogs considering that the Atlanta Falcons, the Pats rivals in the Super Bowl, had not been to the Super Bowl in decades prior to Sunday’s match and have yet to win a Super Bowl. On the other hand, the Patriots won the Super Bowl two years ago in 2015. Lutz’s continues to cast the Patriots as the underdogs throughout the piece, citing the Falcons 28-3 lead at the start of the quarter. And, to be fair, Lutz reports that no team has ever come back and won the Super Bowl from as far behind.

Lutz’s piece was entertaining on account of its inclusion of color and the narrative that it crafted, which goes to show that journalists are ultimately storytellers, no matter the subject they are reporting on.

 

If you’d like to read Tom Lutz’s Super Bowl 2017 recap, you can view it at this link: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/05/new-england-patriots-super-bowl-51-champions-atlanta-falcons

Meeting The Guardian

Hello! And thanks for joining me for my first post on my first blog. I’m not exactly sure  how this blog will evolve over the course of its lifetime, but for now let’s talk about The Guardian (US edition) and see if we can figure out what it is trying to accomplish.

I recently started reading The Guardian (US edition) for a journalism class. It is a pretty interesting publication, although I’ve got to admit that this may be a result of the, err, “interesting” political climate the country has been cursed with and journalists have arguably been blessed with these past few months.

The Guardian started off as a UK based newspaper, but success allowed it to expand its reaches to various corners of the globe. The Guardian now operates a UK, US, International and World edition to keep citizens around the globe up to date not only on developments in their own countries, but developments in foreign countries as well.

Although The Guardian US does not have an official mission statement as far as I know (which is making completing my homework assignment rather difficult!) it seems evident that the original incarnation of the publication is dedicated to informing the UK’s public of relevant political, social and economic developments and that the subsequent versions of The Guardian are trying to provide international audiences with the same.