A pointed and realistic viewpoint on the state of journalism today.
One of my responsibilities as Research & Strategy Librarian at Calgary Economic Development is fact-checking data points and verifying statements. At times I have explained (repeatedly) why specific information can or cannot be used. Statements in the media or elsewhere are often misleading and taken out of context to suit specific purposes including marketing, messaging and promotion. Using critical judgement, objective analysis and interpretation of data, reviewing methodology and investigating sources are essential and routine activities when sourcing information. I have developed a categorized inventory of verified statements and data points for staff to use when creating content and marketing collateral. The inventory is updated on an ongoing basis. I am available on request to fact-check any content before publication, ensuring all statements are verified and sourced. I highly recommend all organizations develop such a resource.
True story: The Government of Alberta recently issued a news release with an incorrect statement and source for an important factual statement about the provincial film industry. I contacted the media representative twice to request a change to the statement and the source. Thankfully, the news release has now been revised. How do I know the statement source was incorrect??? My organization is the source…and I completed the analysis to develop the statement. Lesson learned: Consider the source.
This great How to Spot Fake News infographic from IFLA outlines the questions we should be asking when viewing media. Be critical!