I always take a broad definition of current awareness. There are many interesting sources, from alternative media and user generated content generally. But how does one differentiate between convincing fakes and the genuine well-researched balanced article?
Against the background of world political events, Facebook is at the centre of a news scandal. It has been widely reported that the social media platform published fake stories. They may have influenced the outcome of the US election. This raises many issues.
A non critical readership
We have to accept that some people are uncritically accepting of material online. This is nothing new. People have always sought out like-minded people for validation and confirmation. If you are a content provider it is your responsibility to be as balanced and accurate as possible. We need to encourage people to question the accuracy of content.
Facebook as publisher
We have to look at where people are getting their news. Facebook has become more than friends and family. Everyone was predicting the death of Facebook, but it is redefining itself as a broadcaster and marketplace. People are sharing what they read and stories can go viral. We need to check these stories to see where it was originally published. Then we can make an informed value judgement about how reputable it is.
Checking the sources
There is a problem with much of the news and we have to look at the source carefully. There has been an unbelievable proliferation of churnalism over the past few years. Much current awareness shared on Facebook is meaningless clickbait. There are lists masquerading as news, or low-quality regurgitation of sensational stories. These are easy to create, spread and manipulate.
And it’s not restricted to the buzzfeed type sites. Many stories in the broadsheets, the so-called ‘quality press’ are nonsense. They are often subject to advertising, partisan editorial, and political spin. You can find a balance by double checking the same story from different sources. You can go back to the original press release. This can be problematic not to mention time consuming.
I am here to help
We are fortunate to have so much media choice but you have to take care not to be taken in. But I can assist you on a daily basis. My aim is to sift through as much of the news as possible and identify the useful stuff. I am an effective curator and it is my role to put together a current awareness briefing that is flexible, intelligent, and interesting. And unique to you.