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ENG 111 Writing and Inquiry - Dr. Lamb

Library resources for informative paper

Why You Should Care

"Social networks allow ‘atoms’ of propaganda to be directly targeted at users who are more likely to accept and share a particular message.

Once they inadvertently share a misleading or fabricated article, image, video or meme, the next person who sees it in their social feed probably trusts the original poster, and goes on to share it themselves.

These ‘atoms’ then rocket through the information ecosystem at high speed powered by trusted peer-to-peer networks. This is far more worrying than fake news sites..."

Wardle, C. (2017, February 16). Fake news. It's complicated. First Draft. Retrieved from

How Fake and Misleading News Affects Legitimate Journalism

  • Journalism is a highly competitive field. Professional journalists have training and experience not only in things like interview techniques and fact-checking, but in ethics and things like libel law.

  • While journalists are people and subject to biases like the rest of us, in their professional capacity journalists working for respected news sources strive for objectivity. 

  • Below is a link to the Code of Ethics for the Society for Professional Journalists. It outlines core journalistic principles and sets standards for reporting.


Almost all news outlets (legitimate and fake) rely on advertising as a source of income. Professional journalists and editorial staff are paid to do quality work, including fact-checking, conducting meaningful and ethical interviews, and striving for objectivity. They work quickly, but it still takes time, effort, and money. When readers are drawn to "news" not to learn information but to confirm pre-existing beliefs or to feel the sensation of being outraged, fake news sites draw traffic from legitimate sites.

  • This can take income from online advertising away from sources supporting serious journalism.
  • It can also erode public confidence in journalism.