Students launch DetectFakeNews.com website as part of media literacy initiative

Web site offers tips to detect fake news.

Watch the livestream of our Faked Out fake news panel on Monday, April 20 starting at 6 p.m.: http://bit.ly/2pJ7Qzq

Fake news is a hot topic. So much information permeates social media users’ news feeds, it’s not always evident what is real and what is not. To help educate readers, Geaux Vote LSU students have launched DetectFakeNews.com, a new website with tips to evaluate online content, and criteria to verify legitimate news sources.

“It’s really tricky and you have to pay attention to it,” said Kaylin Parker, a senior from Luling, La., and the president of Geaux Vote LSU. Parker is a student at the Manship School of Mass Communication.

The website was created as part of a media literacy initiative. Len Apcar, the Switzer Endowed Chair in Media Literacy at the Manship School of Mass Communication, and a former senior editor with The New York Times, advises the group. Geaux Vote LSU is a student organization that promotes civic engagement on campus.

"There is a hunger to learn about fake news on campus and beyond,' said Apcar, and students in the Geaux Vote group "took it upon themselves to help organize an evening teach-in about it and develop the website."

Parker said the website is a tool readers can use to analyze the accuracy of stories. Some of the website’s recommendations include checking the article’s web address, as well as researching the background of the author or journalist. Parker said she hopes the website will combat the issue of fake news, and will stop those stories from being shared. 

“We hope we can get out in the community and show some red flags,” Parker said. ”You might be doing this already and not even realize it.” 

Geaux Vote LSU and the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs will co-host a forum on fake news on Monday, April 17, at 6 p.m. in the Holliday Forum at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. Panelists include: media experts Aaron Sharockman of PolitiFact, Sydney Smith of iMediaEthics, and Jarvis DeBerry of Nola.com; Manship School professors Len Apcar, John Maxwell Hamilton, and Lance Porter; and Cameron Harris, the fake news prodigy you may have read about on page one of The New York Times.