Writers Are Earnest Researchers

Aspiring writers should nurture their skills in doing research. Whether you aspire to write fiction or especially non-fiction, it is essential that you be able to identify news and information that are fake. Some social media users are believed to be major sources of fake news, disinformation and biased reporting. These users – whether individuals or various sites – may or may not be aware that what they peddle is phony news.

Photo credit: Vivien Allen

And for all you know, you, too, could be unwittingly spreading this misinformation.

The above will not happen when you, as an aspiring writer, make research a fundamental or non-negotiable part of your routine.

What’s the difference between fake news and biased report?

*Fake news is as described: the news or information is an outright fabrication.

For example: John Doe (a popular celebrity) was reported dead on social media, (e.g. Twitter) although he is very much alive.

Photo credit: Noriko Nagano

*Biased report is as described: the news or information presented only one side of a story in favour of that side, and in effect distorted the truth.

To illustrate:

One-sided report:

Jane Doe, a 31-year-old teacher, was assaulted by Joan Brown, a 40-year-old office clerk and single mother. The assault occurred on the street where Brown lives. Doe, who suffered bruises and scratches on her face, filed a complaint with the police against Brown.

Objective report:

Jane Doe, a 31-year-old teacher, was allegedly assaulted by Joan Brown, mother of 10-year-old John Brown who is one of Doe’s pupils. Brown was said to have caught Jane Doe engaged in a sex act with her son in the Brown apartment. Doe fled the scene but Joan Brown ran after the teacher. The mother of the child caught up with Doe in the street where Brown reportedly grabbed Doe’s arm and slapped and punched her. Brown has reported Doe for sexual misconduct to the Education Board. Doe filed a complaint with the police for the assault; however, she was arrested and is facing felony charges for sexual activity with a child.

By reading the examples above, you should immediately see the lie in fake news.

But, do you also see the lie in one-sided reporting when juxtaposed with the version that reported the news objectively?

Do you know of similar reports that showed only one side of the story, and omitted the pertinent details of the other side?

Budding writers should and must do serious research if only to confirm the accuracy of data and other information on hand.

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