Top Five Ways to Spot Fake News

by Bailey Martens

BuzzFeed Canada’s Jane Lytvynenko speaks at NASH. Photo by Bailey Martens

Calling the morgue to confirm whether an employee was cremated while having a nap is not fun, says Jane Lytvynenko. But for contemporary journalists, this kind of fact-checking task is an important part of the job.

Lytvynenko, an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed Canada, ran a session at the 80th annual NASH journalism conference in Toronto, Canada. Her session focused on fake news and equipped journalism students to be able to identify it and stop it from spreading.

Lytvynenko started her session with cute puppy gifs, as only a BuzzFeed reporter would, but moved quickly on to explain the difference between fake news and misinformation. Understanding the difference allows journalists to be able to properly talk about the problem, she said.

Fake news is news that is entirely false, said Lytvynenko, as opposed to misinformation, which is a twisted version of the truth.

Common examples of fake news stories include doctored images, videos or photos described as being from the wrong event, and health scams.

Lytvynenko said there are five important questions to ask about fake news.

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Posted on January 24, 2018 at 8:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 16-22

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 22, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

2017 SABEW Canada Best in Business Awards open for submissions

 

Freelance business writers, it’s time to get your application together for the SABEW Canada Best in Business awards. The 4th annual awards will be given to work published or broadcast during the 2017 calendar year.

There are ten categories for this year’s awards, including investigative, personal finance, breaking news coverage, profile, and long-form and short-form feature. This year there’s also a new category for audio or visual storytelling.

Freelancers who wish to submit their work must be SABEW members in good standing. There’s a special discounted freelancer entry fee of $30 for the awards.

The deadline for entries is midnight Eastern Time on February 16, 2018.

For detailed guidelines or to enter your work for an award, check out SABEW Canada’s website.

Posted on January 18, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Andree Lau on increasing diversity in reporting and the newsroom

by Hannah Daley

Huffington Post editor-in-chief Andree Lau speaks at NASH. Photo by Hannah Daley

As newsrooms across the country strive for greater diversity, HuffPost Canada editor-in-chief Andree Lau says there’s a need for a much more nuanced approach than simply “checking the boxes.”

Lau spoke on January 5th at NASH, the annual Canadian student journalism conference.

This year’s conference, NASH 80: Connect, was hosted by the Ryerson Eyeopener and the Canadian University Press and featured dozens of presenters from the journalism industry, including Lau for her talk on diversity in reporting and the newsrooms.

How do we define diversity?

While race and ethnicity are immediately what come to mind, diversity actually means much more, said Lau.

“It’s not as easy as ‘I talked to a black person, I talked to a Chinese person,’ check, I’m done, my story’s diverse,’” she said.

Rather, diversity includes:
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Posted on January 17, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 10-15

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Webinar: Reporting on Labour Issues with Sara Mojtehedzadeh

When Toronto Star reporter Sara Mojtehedzadeh went undercover on the croissant production line in a Toronto factory, she learned firsthand what workers were experiencing.

“I was really conscious of keeping up with the pace of production and not losing my job and doing things right and making sure I didn’t get fired,” she told Story Board during a phone interview.

She was so preoccupied with the tasks at hand, she said, that she had no time to think about her safety around the powerful machinery in the industrial bakery.

“I think that’s exactly why these workers are vulnerable. Because you don’t get the training and you don’t have enough time to think about your surroundings and you don’t necessarily have the experience or knowledge to know what is a safety hazard and what isn’t,” she said.

Her undercover stint resulted in an explosive story about working conditions at the factory and the company’s extensive use of vulnerable temporary workers.

Mojtehedzadeh is presenting a webinar for CMG Freelance on January 31st in which she’ll share her experiences and the lessons she’s learned during three years spent reporting on the changing workplace and workers’ rights.
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Posted on January 12, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

The Born Freelancer on Making New Year’s Resolutions

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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The trouble with most New Year’s resolutions is that they are almost always doomed. They are unrealistic and wholly out of character. And of course any less-doomed resolutions made at the same time also tend to be discarded by association.

“This is the year I’m going to write the great Canadian novel!”

“Impossible!”

“Really? OK. Well then, forget it… and my other resolution about losing 5 pounds by summer.”

Not that we should ever too easily concede that our most deeply cherished dreams are impossible. It’s often our job after all to dream dreams for a living and to capture other’s dreams in print.

You could say that dreams constitute our raw material. They creatively nourish us and keep most of us moving forward. It’s just that making them into a resolution this time of year tends to add an unnecessary extra weight to them that few of us can comfortably shoulder.

So – is it even worthwhile to consider making resolutions?

Yes, I believe it is – but only if they are sensible decisions, consistent with your character, that you would be making anyway regardless of the New Year.

My “resolutions”

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Posted on January 10, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Jan 5-9

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Freelancers use social media to learn business of freelancing, build community

This post is the twelfth in a series called “E-Lancer Writes,” exploring the working conditions, rights and collective organizing strategies of freelance journalists, interns and other low-wage or temporary digital media workers.

By Errol Salamon

When graphic designer Saeid Halvaeian quit his day job and turned to freelancing full time in 2013, he had no plans to launch six Meetup and Facebook groups for freelancers across the United States.

Although Halvaeian, a Houston-based freelancer, was comfortable with the creative side of graphic design, he knew little about the business side of freelancing. So he launched a Meetup.com group called Houston Freelance Graphic Designers to learn more. Five people attended the first monthly meetup at a local coffee shop to talk about the freelance business.

“The basic premise was getting people together around a common interest and meeting in the real world,” Halvaeian said in a phone interview. “My original intent was to get information from people who have their own businesses and learn from them, and take the lessons I learn from them and use them in my business.”

Halvaeian started the Facebook group for members to communicate online between the meetups.

“We had such great conversations once a month, so I thought, ‘What a shame we meet only 12 times out of 365 days. Let’s establish some sort of way to communicate online,’” he said. “[The Facebook group] is a place where, every day, people get to ask questions and get answers from any of the members.”
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Posted on January 5, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer Dec 28-Jan 4

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada: 

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • New Year’s resolutions, freelance style: We canvassed over a dozen writers working in a broad range of non-fiction genres; from travel writing to politics to science to energy to the environment. The questions were “Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution for your writing/journalism career, and how did it work out?” And, “Are you making any resolutions for 2018?”…
  • News Literacy Project sees big uptake in Canadian schools: When the News Literacy Project launched its classroom program in 2009, the term “fake news” had not yet achieved notoriety. But Alan Miller, the project’s president and CEO, had already realized there was a growing challenge, particularly among young people, to interpret online information

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on January 4, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,