Fake news is one of those terms and phenomenons that have become part of our everyday life. As marketers, this is something that we must be very cognizant of. With content playing such an integral part of successful inbound marketing, and curated content being one of those things that can be used to show knowledge and understanding, we need to be sure that the content we share is legitimate.
So, how do we ensure that the information we’re sharing is legitimate and factual? I’m going to provide you with a few ways to help you identify real news along with a couple of tools that may help raise some red flags for you as you’re looking through news.
Types of News Sources
There is a wide spectrum of news sources out there, some definitely better than others. It’s important to note as we list these out that each one also has its own spectrum. Also, the people who write the articles are just that, people. They hold their own biases and even the best attempts to stay impartial may fall short.
- Traditional Journalism – these are the people who consider themselves real journalists and hold themselves to journalistic standards. They can be more trusted but do range from great journalism to horrible.
- Biased or Ideological Journalism – these sources have a traditional journalistic format but have a clear bias in the reporting. To be safe, it’s best to assume that all outlets have a certain level of bias.
- Opinion Outlets – these are not really news and do not present themselves as so. They generally present themselves as opinion and are up front about that.
- Satirical News – this is not news. These sources are usually open about the fact they are not real and are there purely for entertainment. Occasionally this can be confusing for people particularly when the satire is subtle.
- Fake News – the stories from these sources are not real but they attempt to present themselves as real news sources. There are usually no journalistic standards that are held to and these sources will attempt to push emotional buttons to entice people to read.
Identifying a Good Source
To paraphrase GI Joe, knowing about types of sources is only half the battle. Even some of the best news sources will occasionally put out poor articles. So, here are a couple of things to look at to help identify if the article is good.
- Check where the article is coming from. Look at some of the other stories put out by the source and make sure those look legitimate as well.
- Look at the headline and make sure it’s neutral. If it seems to be trying to evoke some kind of emotion, it may not be legitimate.
- Check who wrote the article. If there isn’t an author, that’s a big red flag. If there is one, take a look at what else they’ve written.
- Review the sources. Some articles may not have sources but if they do, look them over and make sure they’re good sources.
- Look into the image associated with the article. Sometimes stories get sensationalized by using images not associated with the actual story. A reverse image search through Google can help you out here.
When you are able to find the right kind of source and identify whether it’s good or not, you will be better able to make sure you are sharing the right kind of content.
Allen Harkleroad, Manager of Inbound Marketing