Challenges Kenyan Television Journalists Face in Spotting Fake News

Journal of Development and Communication Studies 7 (1) (2020)
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Abstract

A fake news story can travel half way across the world as the truth puts on its socks. There are myriads of challenges facing journalists in spotting fake news hence its wide proliferation. Fake news has become a prominent subject of enquiry especially following its alleged influence of the 2016 general elections in US. Unfortunately, research on fake news has focused on social media, politics, elections, and economies. Few studies have focused on the challenges that TV journalists face in spotting fake news prompting this study. The specific research question was; what are the challenges facing television journalists in spotting fake news in Kenya? The study adapted a relativist-constructivist/interpretivist ontology and epistemology, qualitative approach and multiple case study methodology. Data was generated through in-depth interviews, direct observation and documents review. The study used purposive sampling to generate data from 16 journalists. Data was then analysed in themes and presented in narrative form. Key findings were that in spotting fake news, journalists faced challenges like; loss of viewers, lack of authoritative contacts, sources who gave fake news for personal, business, political, and economic benefits, ability of fake news to camouflage real news, speed of fake news, typologies of fake news, live reporting, inexperienced correspondents and interns, and social media. The study concludes that the challenges facing journalists in spotting fake news were majorly based on sources, technology, education, skills and training, and its typology. The study therefore recommends that editorial boards invest in experts to train journalists on styles, architecture, propagation and use of fake news, inoculation of journalists and audiences, raising fake news literacy levels, and use of technology based approaches like reverse search and fact checking sites

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