Students should avoid the pitfalls of fake news

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Students should avoid the pitfalls of fake news

Between public attacks from the leader of the free world and private doubts that creep into the minds of people today, the public’s faith in journalism has been strained.

For years, both sides of the partisan line have accused news sources on the other side of bias, slants and improper sources, but not to this magnitude.

Conspiracies have become facts and facts have become “fake news.” The importance of getting reliable, informed news is now at a peak. Without it, we are helpless in determining what our government is actually doing.

No group is at as big of a disadvantage when it comes to filtering through the news, however, as college students. Between managing class, keeping up with our personal lives and social media, free time is fleeting. Students are relying on information from unreliable sources. So, that begs the question: where can students get their news without sacrificing an unbiased point of view, time and most importantly, the truth?

Firstly, Facebook is a cesspool of useless information. Due to Facebook’s policy toward censorship, or lack thereof, anyone is allowed to post just about anything.

Users are allowed to flag posts they feel are abusive or detrimental, but that’s about where censorship ends. Sources like “Occupy Democrats” and “RedState” are everywhere and have questionable journalistic values at best. Beyond that, anyone can comment on these posts with their own conspiracy based opinions, or just completely incorrect information.

This isn’t true for only Facebook, although they are one of the largest problems. This issue exists on Twitter posts, Instagram, and just about every other social media source. It is one of the bigger issues surrounding students today when trying to find solid news, as our main sources of information are places that have little to no filter on the accuracy of the content.

That being said, here are a few different ways students can easily access truthful news without much effort.

For those of you with an iPhone, you can use a news app. This gives you instant access to many popular news outlets like New York Times, BBC News and Fox.

However, there is an issue with this. The list of news sources available to students range from respectable to biased to complete garbage. What I would encourage students today to do is to select well known sources both from sides of the isle. No matter what your political leanings are, to be taken seriously you need to know both sides.

Another resource available to students is a website called “theSkimm.” After entering your email address, “theSkimm” will send you an email every morning containing all the headlines you could need for the day. This service is completely free and is widely recognized as an unbiased new sources that focuses on the facts.

The email comes in at 8am every business day. I would recommend to students that waking up a few minutes early to read at least the headlines, if not the articles themselves, is a good habit.

NPR is widely considered one of the most truthful and unbiased news sources in the United States. However, for those of us born after they invented color TV, it can be hard to turn on the radio and listen to it.

Now if you’re willing to go a little left, and a little less serious, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” the NPR news quiz, is an excellent choice. The news quiz takes headlines from the week, some serious some not so much, and applies them in a funny way.

The hour long program, which first airs on Saturday depending on your location, is the perfect combination of sarcasm, crass humor and crucial news. Most essentially, if you miss the original showing it is available online at NPR.com and the “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” podcast makes every episode available for extended periods of time.

News today is a convoluted mess of uncertainty. Each side claims the other is fake, and people who don’t have the time to find out the information for ourselves are getting lost.

While I will always recommend a traditional newspaper source, I know that process of reading an entire newspaper can be futile for some. Instead, I will just suggest that instead of another episode of Netflix, you use that time for news.

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