By ExplainED PH 

During the current age of social media, news and information are easily accessed by man, with one only having to search a topic on a browser and watch the information unfold. However, with easily accessible data, there also comes the rampant spread of fake news and misleading information, which further confuses the already confused minds of the masses.

In partnership with ExplainED PH, the country’s youth-driven news agency, the University of the Philippines - Open University (UPOU) CWTS Barangay Puhon launched a webinar entitled “Game Changer: Fact-checking as the Epitome of PH social media” with a goal to combat fake news and misinformation especially at the height of misinformation as well as the role of campus journalism as it transitioned to online reporting.

Leading the webinar’s talk is ExplainED PH Editor-in-Chief Archie R. Bergosa with a discussion on the current status of youth-driven journalism in the current landscape. He highlighted  the three factors that are continuously observed currently, namely: campus journalism, social media, and fake news. 

Bergosa opened the talk with a chart showing the three observed factors mentioned and noted the interaction between the three factors, specifically the direct interactions of campus journalism and fake news with social media. This was followed by the general overview and definition of the observed factors, wherein campus journalism roles were discussed such as its role to report school-wide events through traditional media or printed media.

Furthermore, he also explained the purpose of fake news, which is to deceive and misinform the people. Bergosa emphasized that once the people do not know the truth anymore, the minds of the masses will be disoriented, and social conflict begins and continues to worsen.

To further explain why Facebook is the best venue for fake news dissemination, the speaker showed the demographics of the social media sites in the country. Facebook led the list after amassing 99% of the adult population in the country. With this, Bergosa noted that everything is happening in social media, and the crowd is currently found in social media sites.

Also, as Facebook is the most used social media platform in the country, information that is being posted in the site is also easily accessed and believed, and the spread of fake news happens quickly. Due to this scenario, several Facebook users have been leading towards bias against the media and facts, and wrong and unverified scientific information have been believed by the masses. 

Bergosa then explained what campus journalism can do to fight fake news and misinformation. As campus journalism has adapted to the current demands and transitioned to online reporting, more engagements are being seen, and campus journalists can also share factual information to a wider audience. With this, the speaker noted that the image campus journalism had has been changed into youth-driven journalism, posing ExplainED PH as an example for this.

To conclude the talk, Bergosa then discussed what youth journalists can do to combat fake news, which is to empower, explain, and educate. 

Youth journalists must empower their audience to engage in fact-checking movements as to know the essence of factual information, especially in today’s society wherein fake news is evidently seen. 

They also need to openly explain the context of the fake news and follow it with the true information about the event. 

Lastly, youth journalists must also create an open dialogue to educate those who are still uneducated about the matter so that fake news can be stopped. 

Bergosa noted that the act of cancelling must be stopped as well as it does not offer an opportunity for a dialogue, thus, still leaving the other party uneducated about the matter.