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Real Life Stories of Change

Discernment Tips From A Digital Producer – Diane Leow

Learn how Diane, digital producer of Mediacorp News, Channel NewsAsia, verifies news sources and identify if an online article is credible – or not.

It's all about the sources

According to Diane, who produces and pens news articles for Channel NewsAsia, reporters like her have many tools in her investigative arsenal to check if an image in a news article has been doctored, or if a video had been posted somewhere else before. Even when a source looks credible, reporters find it important to still get confirmation from official sources.

So how can the average person without journalism training identify if a news source is fake? “Some tell-tale signs include a brand-new Twitter account with no information about the account holder, or a WhatsApp message written in a similar style to a chain email.” she explained.

Always choose accuracy over speed

Even when many news outlets have moved over to the highly-competitive and fast-paced digital space, Diane believes that any credible news outlet would place top priority on accurate information, even if it means not being as fast as other news platforms. “It is possible to verify information before pushing out a story, even in a breaking news situation. If information is neither accurate nor useful, there is little point in jazzing up a story just to get followers and clicks.”

She added, ”In the long run, sacrificing accuracy for speed will result in the news outlet losing credibility.”

Google it before you share it

It is a little reassuring to know that even trained professionals like Diane sometimes get duped by false online information. “My family members – and at times, myself – have fallen prey to fake news as well. A quick search on Google often helps to avoid that.”

To prevent yourself from falling victim to fake news and sharing them to your online network unknowingly, Diane has these considerations for you to think about before you click or tap the 'share' button:

  • Is this information new?
  • Has anyone confirmed it?
  • Does the message/report have spelling errors in it?
  • How many points of view are represented?
  • Does it have a combination of official sources as well as multiple points of view?

Suffice to say, if the answers to the above bring about more suspicion than reassurance, it is best to avoid sharing the article!

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