The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma (GGDSD) College, in association with Google News Initiatives organized a workshop on ‘Fact Checking’, . The chief speaker for the event was Archana Kumari, Certified Google Trainer and faculty at the Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jammu.The event was organized with the aim to educate students about the rise of fake news in the current scenario of journalism
Ms. Kumari apprised the students about contemporary news trends of misinformation and how it affects the media industry. “Mainstream media has lost credibility among the masses. Today’s news has become highly commercialized, catering only to the elite – regional news, women’s issues; the problems of the marginalized are being overlooked.”
Ms. Kumari took students through the evolution of the information landscape, pointing out how digital media is gradually overtaking traditional forms, although print continues to exercise dominance in India.
She held factors like democratization of tools and cheap data plans responsible for thriving fake news. She also highlighted how first-time Internet users lack knowledge on how to consume news and what to believe. Untrained staff, outdated verification processes and lack of synchronization with latest technologies are also challenges newsrooms face today, facilitating the spread of fake news.
She also stressed the importance of combating such practices. “It is one of the biggest challenges we face today. People are passively accepting misinformation. We need better regulatory mechanisms.” The speaker also informed the audience about the utility of web tools that help verify news stories. “We should use social media rather than letting it use us.” However, she reiterated that tools were only supplements – the onus of credibility lies upon the journalist.
Ms. Kumari also held a quiz whereby she presented students with viral news items, testing whether they could distinguish between credible and fake news, demonstrating how even the best of us fall for such content.
GGDSD College conducts Workshop on Fact Checking
The speaker concluded the workshop with a panel discussion where she invited the students to voice their queries. Some of the important issues discussed included the need for preventive checks in social networking sites and the growing role of artificial intelligence in media.