|(L-R) Al Cross, Jennifer Brown, Richard Nelson, Mike Alexieff, and Ron Sanders (Messenger photo by Laura Harvey)|
But with the rise of the internet and social media, it has become easier for anyone to publish "news" and more difficult for readers to identify fake news. "Fake news reports have caused damage to reputations and diminished trust, Cross said. The effect on the 2016 election is still being studied. Local news media scores better on trust than national news media, according to national studies," Doreen Dennis reports for SurfKY News in Madisonville, Ky. "BuzzFeed reported the top 20 fake stories received more engagement than 19 major media outlets in 2016, and the jury is still out on whether unverified news articles affected the election. Russia’s alleged involvement would be hard to prove at this point, he added."
Jennifer P. Brown, programming chair of the rural-journalism institute and former editor of the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville, said readers could check any of the following sources to help verify whether a news story is truthful:
Messenger Editor Mike Alexieff said he wants readers to know that local newspapers don't have a political agenda, and only aim to offer fair, accurate local news. Ron Sanders, owner of SurfKY News, said he believes some newspapers do have a political bias, and defended coal, long a major industry in the region, from reports that he said were biased, Dennis reports.