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APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- Fake and misleading news is becoming a bigger reality in today's fast-paced media world.

The topic brought an executive from the Newseum in Washington D.C., which aims to promote a better understanding of news and the First Amendment, to Lawrence University Tuesday night.

"Fake news:" President Donald Trump has made the term mainstream.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s fake, but I would say that it’s definitely biased,” said Lawrence University student Kelsey Kaufmann.

And as social media becomes a bigger part of our world, stories can be spread before all the facts are gathered, as a confrontation between a high school student and Native American drummer did last month.

“Our technology, for all of its benefits, has made sharing things that are not well-thought out so much easier; the risk is so much greater,” said associate professor of government at Lawrence University Arnold Shrober.

Chances are you’ve come across fake news on social media. Maybe, you've even shared it.

With news feeds constantly filled with stories and information, spreading false or misleading stories can happen more often.

Getting the news is easier than ever, but finding the news isn't the problem. Newseum vice president for education Barbara McCormack says it's differentiating what's real from what's fake or biased that's the challenge.

“It’s kinda tough out there to tell what’s real and not,” McCormack said. “We have more information than we can even begin to manage, so we do create these filters that help us organize our information, and we get information that we like, which leads to these bad habits.”

McCormack says the surge of information makes it tricky to tell what’s legitimate.

It’s caused some people to give up on distinguishing the two and lose faith in news sources.

"This has kind of helped increase this decline, and kind of created this perfect storm in trust for the media; for quality journalism,” said McCormack.

"I always try to check my sources, especially if there’s talk of a study, I usually try to find the article and read it,” Kaufmann said.

A discussion with McCormack took place Tuesday at Lawrence University to help news people figure out what's reputable, and how to weed out the fakes.

“Most news sources aren’t going to try to hide who they are or what information they’re putting out there, right? So, that should be your first clue to dig a little deeper...who’s putting this out there?" McCormack said.

She also says with presidential campaigns fast approaching, a conversation like this needs to happen.

“I think a dose of healthy skepticism is good,” Kaufman said.

Author: Monique Lopez

EDClasses & Training

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    Get the First Amendment background and media literacy techniques to help students understand where and how they can exercise freedom of expression in a world of social media and social protests.

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    Students see how technology affected news coverage and public perception of the Civil War, then create their own front pages with breaking news, maps and telegrams.

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