COLORADO SPRINGS — All week long, KOAA News5 is taking part in News Literacy Week as part of the EW Scripps Company's partnership with the News Literacy Foundation to help shine a light on better information consumption and sharing.
Our own News5 team was able to witness firsthand how quick apparent fake news outlets can redistribute content with twisted information.
Reporter Ashley Portillo's story for the day is on a program within Pueblo City Schools District 60 called "Common Sense Education", which is taught to all students at every grade level. Part of being a responsible consumer of news is also making sure news stories are vetted and cited properly.
Thanks to a Google Alert, we were informed that a third-party website that News5 does not partner with had taken the information from Ashley's story, changed up the order of the information, made poor grammar choices, and changed facts within the story before publishing to their own site. To be clear, we're not sharing the website name or link due to the dubious nature of the site.
Their article that uses our content has our graphics promoting News Literacy Week, and at first glance, the article and website appear to be from the national outlet CNN as part of their radio operations. It also appears to be linked to radio station WCNN. We'll get to that in a bit.
A closer look reveals glaring errors or false statements. One of the most glaring refers to Pueblo District 60 as a 'college', and "in highschool, college students are taught.."
The repurposed content overall has the feel of a poor translation, or the writer decided to switch out words, forming clunky sentences.
For example, this first paragraph is our quote from our article
"As we get older, we're talking to students about bias in the media and what is fake. Whether it's a photo-shopped image they're trying to decipher or if it's a news story. We want to make sure they're going to actual sources and not getting caught up in some sort of clickbait or something that might be dis-information," said Dalton Sprouse, the PIO for Pueblo D60. "We also think talking about bias is important. Every single one of us has some sort of bias, whether it's the types of clothes we wear or the sports we like, it also has to do with what we consume for media."
Here's how that same content appears on the other site
"As we become old, we're speaking to college students about bias within the media and what's pretend. Whether or not it is a photo-shopped picture they're making an attempt to decipher or if it is a information story. We need to be sure they will precise sources and never getting caught up in some form of click on bait or one thing that may be disinformation," mentioned Dalton Sprouse, the PIO for Pueblo D60. "We additionally assume speaking about bias is vital. Each single one among us has for some form of bias, whether or not it is the varieties of garments we put on or the sports activities we like, it additionally has to do with what we devour for media."
Now back to what the other website appears to be doing. All of the articles on the site that repurposed our content have authors listed as WCNN Radio Staff. It appears the purpose of the site is to rewrite content from other sites.
Nothing but the web address for the site mentions CNN or has the look and feel of any CNN products. We noticed there are no CNN network logos on the site, but there is a rudimentary WCNN Radio logo.
Overall, it's clear that this website is not a legitimate news source.
If you do a little bit of research into the real WCNN radio, with a simple google search, you'll find it's not owned by CNN, is not associated with this particular web address to post content, but is actually an Atlanta-based sports radio station owned by Dickey Broadcasting.
If you ever find yourself questioning the validity of a site, check the footer for 'about us' information, trademarks, address links, contact us, and more. This particular site has none of those features, yet does mention at the end, "Your source for entertainment news, celebrities, celebrity news, and celebrity gossip."
Facts, data, and research all matter because they help measure the credibility of a news story. Plus, being a responsible consumer of news helps us become better informed.
To learn more skills about spotting fake news, visit the News Literacy Foundation for tips and tricks to keep yourself and those you share with properly informed.
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