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We’ve heard US President Donald Trump use the phrase “fake news” so frequently in recent years, it’s easy to believe he coined the term himself. Yet “fake news” was coined by Buzzfeed’s media editor, Craig Silverman, in mid-2016 when he and his reporting partner discovered at least 140 made-up pro-Trump websites originating from a small Macedonian town. These sites quickly gathered momentum on Facebook in the lead up to the US presidential election and spread factually incorrect information while presenting themselves as reputable news sites. Since then, “fake news” has proliferated the internet. Journalists the world over are worried, social media companies are developing policies in crisis mode, and consumers are scrolling carefully. As we grapple living in a “fake news” riddled world, we asked Anjali Khosla, former editor of Fast Company Digital, now Assistant Professor of Journalism & Design at The New School in New York, to give us a lesson in fact checking and teach us how to spot fake news like any good investigative reporter.
The number one best way for a journalist to fact check a truth is to do their own reporting! That means calling sources, that means doing your own research, that means not taking what other people report for granted, especially if they don’t have a strong reputation for telling the truth (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump).
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