These days, news can be accessed anywhere. Whether from your smartphone, the radio, TV, a podcast or a newspaper, getting access to the news has never been so easy.
But with the rise of news sources comes the rise of fake news — news that isn’t, in fact news at all, but rather false information that was fabricated to mislead its viewers.
It can be hard to tell what fake news is. In fact, a recent poll from Ipsos-Reid reported that 63 per cent of Canadians could not distinguish between real news sites and fake news stories. Compounding the matter is that with so much news at their disposal, if someone doesn’t like a story or a viewpoint, they simply dismiss it as fake news.
There is no question that fake news is dangerous — it has the potential to escalate situations and wreck havoc. Canadians can help combat its rise by getting their information from trusted news sources, who work hard to ensure what you read is proper news, verified by facts, and not some made up garbage that surfaced from some corner of the internet.
However, proper journalism, like the kind found in this newspaper, costs money to produce, and with so much news available everywhere, people don’t seem to want to pay for it.
In Canada, nine in 10 people consume news content that was originally produced in a newspaper, yet only one in two people are willing to pay for it. Afterall, the same stuff can be found on your social media feeds, right?
Online giants such as Google and Facebook have a history of spreading fake news, trolls, — it seems every few months we read stories of accounts being shut down for producing such content for years.
Despite this, 70 per cent of online ad dollars go right to those two U.S.-based companies, and neither contribute back to Canada. And governments and businesses are increasingly using social media to get their message across — despite multiple studies that show that newspaper ads, both online and in print, are the most trustworthy type of ad.
Newspapers didn’t die out when radio was invented, and they didn’t die out when T.V. broadcasts started. This tells us that people trust what they read in newspapers.
But newspapers don’t come for free; it costs money to produce a good quality paper and support the people behind it. Without that support, newspapers can’t run.
Good, quality journalism is more then a tweet. It take hard work and verification and a drive to bring you the news, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
Do we mess up sometimes? Of course, we are only human after all, but we will own up to our mistakes and work harder so it doesn’t happen again — unlike certain tweeters who are never, ever wrong, even when presented with evidence that says otherwise.
National Newspaper Week is Oct.1-7. Show your support and visit http://www.newspapersmatter.ca.