You have just followed the link to this article because of the headline, correct?
I need to admit I have made it up not being certain when snow was last detected in Abuja at all. A substandard message like this one, however, seems to be completely sufficient to provoke the minimum of attention.
It has been harbored in just a compact sentence not even molded into a question nor at least an assumption. Is it news? It is expressly not. News in its standard structure does, of course, involve an occurrence. It is the starting and ending point of the message regardless of the journalistic genre packed around it.
As per the famous communication model by Harold Dwight Laswell, American political scientist and communication theorist few more attributes are required to complete the act of communication.
All of them are, not accidentally, questions: Who, What, Where, Whom, What Effect? To contain all these elements at the same point, a headline would be nothing lesser than senior pilot age though.
It may still be generated to serve a reliable link to high quality text (which can be as high classed as best standards would be setting the bar), if the intends are genuine.
Such kind of a headline would by every mean exhaust the uncertainties about the author, the message, the source of origin and the “so whats”.
If lacking this complete structure, any piece of information is at risk to not be credited.
How to make sure we are every inch the well navigated travelers amid practically abundant news saturation, with practically unlimited on line and off line access to news?
Certainly these are shock, surprise and sensation right in the very headline to indicate that extra checkup may be required by something out there in the gist of the message.
So is any peremptory ascertainment. Any news packed and served in a way to practically exclude the need for both rational and emotional connectivity between point A(the author) and point B (the audience), hence if the prerequisites for personal justification are deactivated, should keep us on alert.
The public should be enabled to experience the information, including by rejecting it or mistrusting it. Fake news relies on sustainable psychological tools in being efficient into the desired direction. The sense of limited options is one of them.
What else makes fake news differ?
It’s, well, first and foremost the authorship verification. News may most generally reach us from and across unverifiable sources if fake.
A genuine name would barely backup fake news transmission although it is not impossible for fake news to mislead a proven editorial office.
What is the weakness in regard with the unverified authorship? “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, as attributed to the Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda.
Fake news recycled under editorial specifics whilst conserving its essence may continue to pose threat to the credibility of any journalist and any editorial office, should the proven journalistic standards not be in place.
Domino effect would be unavoidable any time a media gets tempted to refer to information which appears short of irrefutable facts.
We may be much more inclined to consider any content a genuine one if we are able to associate it with a renowned author’s name or with a time-tested media. Misinformation disseminators apparently rely on media’s pragmatic flair for informative value.
Promptness in letting us realize that it is snowing in Abuja would be technically crucial to media in the sense of its rating. Speed might – in the case of print media where pace is objectively not an advantage to electronic media – be eventually caught up with volume.
When fake news dissemination appears to be the case, that specificity may make the content more circumstantial but hardly more valid.
How does audience validate fake news?
By … co-producing them! New technologies do enable us to literally generate content which may be capable to infuse into the mainstream or even to pre-project it sometimes without any verification.
One may not necessarily be qualified journalist not even simply healthily suspicious citizens. How easy may it be for anyone to state by hearing that it’s up to 20cm of snow in Abuja tomorrow? Not far more sophisticated than a single click!
By anticipating them. The sense of bleary perspective may, amid information context saturated with updates on more or less durable circumstances (by default, unfavorable ones – such as unemployment, offenses or negative economic growth) be caught up with taste for exotic headlines.
The less credible exotic headlines may actually be, the more starving for the illusion us the society may fall. Is the audience still capable to infiltrate the information influx in such case? It hypothetically is, however infiltration may appear to be quite subjective experience.
By shopping for them. Fictitious content is far less resources – intensive. Media product gets in such case reduced in cost whilst circulation remains at least intact. High quality journalism is labourious and thorny process.
Should you have seemingly reached the awareness too easily, it may ultimately mean one thing: check the information again!
Would it be realistic for us to expect that information flow regulations (to the detriment of misinformation) may affect freedom of speech?
Keep your coats ready in case you are planning a trip to Abuja tomorrow and if you are incidentally notified that it is snowing out there!
Doing so is of course optional and you will presumably have three options to describe your feelings when you find out you’ve been misled:
– Protected (notwithstanding);
– Cheated on;
– Or you will forget.
Fake news machine will probably mostly rely on your third option.