10 February 2017

According to the latest figures from Reuters, more than half (51%) of people consume their news on social media, with 12% saying it’s their main news source.

That’s quite astonishing. Figures from the BBC show that social media news consumption in the 18-24 years age range now outstrips TV news consumption (28% vs 24%).

But, with that, there are so many questions on how we can be sure that the news we’re consuming is truthful. Fake news has been a hot topic lately, specifically after the Trump election and the allegations surrounding his campaign. It has become one of the new President’s favourite phrases. However, calling valid news outlets ‘fake news’ is perhaps part of the problem.

The big social networks are pushing to reduce the spread of faked headlines; Facebook is introducing flagging for fake news stories and the ability for users to report false stories.

So should you still rely on the traditional newspapers and their websites? Well, apparently not. Wikipedia has this week removed the Daily Mail as a reliable reference source.

What’s more shocking is that the site still allows links to sources including Kremlin-backed news organisation Russia Today, and Fox News.

The brains behind Wiki described the ban as “centred on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”.

We’re known in this country for a partisan press meaning that fake news in the political sense, such as the fabricated stories about Trump and Clinton in 2016, don’t really apply thanks to the mainly tabloid press spinning up a tale out of few facts – choosing gossip over politics.

There are two strings to the Daily Mail news, in my opinion. Whilst it is incredibly sad that at a time when traditional press are struggling to monetise news in an increasingly digital world where they have to compete with social media, that the Daily Mail continue to fail editorial standards and have hit the headlines for unreliability; I do hope that this is a wake up call for the press that set out the same stall as the Mail to up their standards.

Our press have a responsibility to report the news, to keep the nation informed so that we can make decisions based on valid points and facts. It is also our responsibility to support those media outlets that are living up to this standard.

With so much turbulence in the political sphere it is challenging enough to find the real story. So what’s the answer?

I would love to know how you get to the facts of the news.

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