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‘Research vital in fighting fake news’

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By Serah Makondetsa:

Katerina Matsa

A United States of America (USA)-based Pew research centre has said research plays a major role in fighting against fake news.

The remarks were made during a two-day long media tour for journalists from various countries on “Media Literacy and Combating Misinformation” in Washington DC.

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Associate Director of Journalism Research at Pew research, Katerina Matsa, said they conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.

Matsa said this helps in keeping the public well informed on what is correct news.

“Since 2004, Pew Research Centre has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the US news media industry. These data speaks to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organisations get their revenue and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public about important events of the day,” she said.

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Matsa further said, according to a research done by Pew, about 68 percent of American adults occasionally get news on social media, about the same share as at this time in 2017, according to a new Pew Research Centre survey.

Pew research is a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

“A majority (57 percent) say they expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate. Still, most social media news consumers say getting news this way has made little difference in their understanding of current events and more say it has helped than confused them (36 percent compared with 15 percent),” she said.

The reporting tour will, among others, cover on topics on “The News Media Landscape in a Digital, Polarised Age”: Research and trends related to news habits and attitudes; trust in the media; and misinformation, “Racing against the Tide: Giving Facts a Fighting Chance” – Topics: today’s fraught information landscape, the need for news literacy education, and the role of the Bureau of Public Affairs and the importance of engagement with international media.

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