Challenging fake news

Challenging fake news

Challenging fake news

Fake news is a trending topic worldwide, but for many journalists it is – unfortunately – old news. Janet Anderson is course leader of RNTC’s Investigative Journalism courses. How does she deal with the issue of fake news in this course?

“Fake news is a relatively new term, but it’s a problem that all journalists recognise as a long term problem. In many countries, especially in the lead up to elections, there are claims and lies, and the media can often find themselves manipulated.

Don’t despair
All participants in my Investigative Journalism courses have faced the issue of politicians trying to control the news agenda and even lying. I tell them: don’t despair! By doing our jobs well, we can help our target audiences to make up their own minds about what is fake and what is not.

Challenge fake news
Fact-checking – taking public statements and investigating them – is fundamental to investigative journalism. If you want to challenge fake news, you’ll need to do fact-checking in a persuasive way.

Being persuasive
Fake news can be very persuasive itself. Politicians know very well what works for their audiences. This means that the formats that journalists can use to present their investigations need also to work well for their target audiences to get people to tune in or read. It’s all about persuasion.”