“Exclusive” is probably the most overused word in the news business. Journalists love to invoke it and do so liberally because it drives traffic to a story and confers prestige on the reporter and news outlet.
This is a great question, not least because each of us is part of the answer—simply by participating in this news literacy course.
The reason lies largely in the question itself: speed and accuracy are critical in the news business. Unfortunately, they are often in conflict with one another, and accuracy is sometimes sacrificed in the name of being first.
These are dangerous times to be a journalist.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 15 journalists have been killed so far this year while 56 were murdered last year. Even more disturbing, the number of journalists killed in retaliation for their work, known as reprisal murders, nearly doubled in 2018.
Tall tales spread further and travel faster than the truth on social media. This Facebook post on May 19, 2019 alleges that Ivanka Trump’s Marc Fisher footwear line is exempt from U.S. tariffs imposed on goods imported from China. A critical news consumer can determine fairly quickly this is not true.
Here’s some real news about fake news: half of all Americans see made-up news as a problem in the United States today, ahead of violent crime, climate change, racism, illegal immigration and even terrorism, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.