The difference between real news and fake news

News is previously unknown information that is timely, interesting, and significant. People need timely and factual information that helps them prepare for matters that can affect their lives. News equips them with information about changing events that occur in their countries and elsewhere in the world so that they can make informed decisions and get ready for any potential results. People tend to be interested in news stories that are recent and report on necessities of life, such as food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and the like. Especially, they are more attracted by events that take place close to their homes; the nearer an event is, the more interesting it is.

News is timely when its occurrence is not more than 48 hours, but that description applies to hard news only, for soft news is not time-sensitive, so long it is newsworthy and informative. Soft news is one way of helping people understand events that occur in their localities or elsewhere by elaborating on the events and writing about them in detail. A piece of news is significant when political figures are involved, for their behaviour and actions affect audiences in one way or another. For example, if a minister of an institution is mired in corruption or criminal activities, then that minister’s information is significant to people since the minister occupies a position of authority that warrants accountability. News is information that is timely and interesting and aimed at providing useful, accurate information to the audiences so that they can make informed decisions about issues that matter to them and impact on their lives and their well-being.

Real news vs fake news
Picture by PBS learning media

People need authentic news for three main reasons without which they cannot lead a meaningful life. News informs them, educates them, and entertains them. When people get real news about their communities and governments, they can make informed decisions about various aspects of their lives. For example, a piece of news, regardless of its format, may tell about an existing opportunity, an occurred incident or a looming danger. Basing their opinions and judgments on this news information, audiences can take advantage of available opportunities or stay away from imminent perils. News also provides audiences with information about economic, educational, and safety matters of their communities, countries, and the world generally. Because people need to keep abreast of their countries’ economic conditions, they need to know what is staying the same, what is improving, and what is deteriorating to adjust their situations in light of such conditions. Likewise, at times of distress, news entertains people and helps them mitigate pressures that burden them by engaging them in satirical news and parody. Real news informs, educates, and entertains people and enables them to make informed decisions concerning various aspects of their lives. 

Although both real news and fake news provide information, they are different in the information they provide, journalism ethics they follow, and credibility of sources they cite. The difference between the pieces of news they provide is stark and fundamental. Real news provides people with authentic information that enables them to take positive developments or to avoid negative conditions and stay away from looming perils. In addition, genuine news gives people peace of mind, for they rely on the information they receive and believe it will help them in one way or another. They trust their news sources and look to them for genuine, standard information. Receiving regular, true news is to their advantage and assists them in understanding conditions, making plans, and taking action to achieve needed objectives. Without true news, they believe, life is abnormal. How can they keep abreast of their countries’ educational, medical, and economical issues? How can they keep pace with their political issues? Among other things, real news enlightens people on these matters and leaves them to make their own decisions.

Like real news, fake news provides audiences with information. However, this is false information which misleads them, affects them negatively, and diminishes their decision-making aptitudes. Every bit of it leads to deception and destruction. Consumers of fake news may think they are receiving beneficial information that educates them on crucial issues, but that false information robs them of their sanity and good judgment because it supplies them with baseless, fabricated information. Purveyors of fake news provide their audiences with bogus, sensationalized stories that lead them to take bad actions as a result of the bad information provided. Fake news blurs people’s sight and breaks down their sound judgment, for it overwhelms them with false content, be it text or visual. Worse, and in the end, the audiences lose trust and become paranoid about every piece of information they receive.

Real news and fake news are different when it comes to journalism ethics. True news adheres to journalism ethics. Those who create real news search for truth and report it, meaning they do not report baseless news stories. And if they do so inadvertently, they correct them and apologize for the error. Although genuine news content creators get compensation for their work, their efforts are not based on profit and self-enrichment. Unlike real news, though, fake news is not bound by journalism ethics, and its creators inundate people with fabricated, sensational stories for political and economic reasons. To discredit political and public figures, they spread rumours about people they do not like, be they business persons or government officials. False news spreaders do not only target people with high profiles but smear ordinary citizens and expose them to hardships of different sorts. After all, greed drives fake news. Because its generators aim to make money in a short period, they roll up their sleeves and endure long, sleepless nights to generate as much false content as possible. They write articles, they make video clips, and they create faked images. But everything they create is a fabrication and false information.

Both real news and fake news have their ways of making news and disseminating it to audiences. Nonetheless, the credibility of their sources is different. The real news sources are verifiable and have names attributed to individual contents created, be they text or pictures. In other words, content writers of real news can be contacted via email or phone. Unlike real news, fake news sources are bogus sources, though they may sound like real news sources. They are neither verifiable nor have genuine contact information, making the distinction between the two categories of news quite clear. There is a difference between real news and fake news. The former aims to inform, educate, and empower the public; the latter aims to misinform and mislead the public.