How do you fight the spread of "fake news"? - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

How do you fight the spread of "fake news"?

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - In an era of alternative facts, it's up to all of us to separate the real news from the fake.

Jill Markgraf, the head of McIntyre Library's Research and Instruction Department at UW-Eau Claire, thinks the term "fake news" oversimplifies things and is often used to describe stories people don't like, even if they are true.

She helps people critically consume information. Markgraf said they need to start with gathering a variety of different opinions and checking their sources. She recommends using websites, like “Snopes” and “AllSides”, for a wide range of news coverage.

Markgraf said people should look at the evidence, evaluate where it came from and determine if any information is intentionally missing.

"The onus is on us, and it's hard work, but it's important work,” Markgraf said. “Our society depends on an informed populous, and in order to be informed, we need to be critical about the information we consume."

Everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words and Markgraf said the same is true for a picture's history.

She explained that many times photographs are used to mislead people, forcing them to think the image is representative of the topic at hand. She suggested doing a quick Google search on the image, by righting clicking it and choosing the 'Search Google for image' option. That way a person knows where the picture originally came from and if it's even relevant to the story. 

Markgraf said the university offers literary skills courses to teach students how to evaluate information and become critical consumers, and lately, those classes have filled up quicker than ever. For anyone who's not a Blugold, she said the library is open to everyone, and the librarians there are happy to help. 

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