Fact-checkers were a luxury we’ve never had in UK media. Instead, we relied on journalists applying basic journalistic tools suppotred by the rigour of a sceptical newsdesk, a sceptical bankbench, a sceptical editor and sceptical legal. That was print. Print as gatekeepers of information is flawed as we know but it it is right more times than it is wrong.
As we transition from print to digital, let’s hope we can keep the bean-counters at bay and bring back rigour to online. Sadly, though, I don’t think we will.
By RYAN BOLTON
“Whoa, Banksy just got arrested!” my co-worker, Eugene, yells out, astonished. Two minutes later, the story popped up on my Facebook feed.
We couldn’t believe it. The elusive street artist wasn’t so elusive anymore. But we didn’t need to believe it.
It was a hoax. That didn’t stop the thousands of shares, though.
With a little research (a 15 second Google search) it becomes pretty clear that Bansky himself likely released the misinformation. On the same day, he posted a new piece, “Girl with a Pierced Eardrum” in his hometown of Bristol, England. We were all had. Again.
With the advent of the Internet, the way we produce and consume journalism has dramatically shifted. When news about Ebola breaks, it goes—for a lack of a better word—viral. When a new iPhone is launched, the fact that it may or may not bend is omnipresent. For instance…
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