Journalism has been described as the lifeblood of democracy,[1] and elections, likewise, have long been journalism’s bread and butter. The relationship between the two, however, has always been fraught. Even Thomas Jefferson, a lifelong advocate for freedom of the press, said while he was president that “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Impact of Misinformation

Informed voters are essential to the democratic process, but in our modern news environment it can be difficult separating facts from propaganda. This section will explore how to read election and political news critically, how to recognize misinformation and disinformation, and how to be a more active and engaged consumer of political news.

Authentication and citizenship

Being well-informed – and being careful to only share good information – are essential parts of being an active citizen in a democracy. It’s important to think before you share political information with family and friends – especially during an election.

Verifying Online News

Most of us turn to online sources for news, whether it’s reading a newspaper online or sharing a news story with our friends and family. But news stories are one of the hardest things to verify: sometimes early reports that turn out not to be true still circulate on social media and people may spread false reports for political or commercial reasons, or just for “fun.”

Most of us turn to online sources for news, whether it’s reading a newspaper online or sharing a news story with our friends and family. But news stories are one of the hardest things to verify: sometimes early reports that turn out not to be true still circulate on social media and people may spread false reports for political or commercial reasons, or just for “fun.”

“Be skeptical, not cynical.” Lori Robertson, managing editor of Factcheck.org

The changes in how news is consumed (and produced) have also made it harder to verify if a particular news item is accurate – and made it easier for misinformation to be spread, either intentionally or unintentionally.

If a news consumer reads a headline from The Globe and Mail while searching Google News, is the story from Google or The Globe? What about if a friend posts the story on Facebook; is the story from the friend, Facebook, or The Globe? How can the complexities of what is meant by “source” in a converged news environment be accounted for?[1]

Ethics of Sharing Information Online

Thanks to the internet, today we’re not just consumers of news but broadcasters as well – and our friends and families are counting on us to only share accurate, reliable information.

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