Facebook viral news stories about popular celebrities or sports teams have been categorized as fake news stories in some newsrooms.
But now some local newsrooms have entered into a collaboration to label such stories as either hyper-local, locally-focused, or big local news for a real-time narrative thread.
Seattle’s KIRO 7 began the process of covering the presidential election and its aftermath as breaking news. “We heard things we never heard from reporters from other local news organizations,” KIRO 7 news director Kim Mulkey said.
KIRO 7 also found that false news stories were amplified by social media users.
“The trend is that everybody knows how to spread a viral story,” she said. “People want to have that conversation, especially now.”
She said this is the first news organization in the U.S. to use social media and keyword news taggers to differentiate viral stories from traditional local news coverage.
Photos and videos of celebrities or politicians, on the other hand, would be labeled in the local news stream as big news.
And KIRO 7 is also trying to track down the original content of viral stories about celebrities and politics and to credit the individual or group behind those stories.
The two approaches have similarities to the upcoming designation of political articles as fake news. But it is important to note, according to the experts, that this is not the same as the more subjective criteria for determining fake news. Kiro 7 recently talked about a viral riddle on Whatsapp and Twitter’s name I Met a Man on The London Bridge and many more.
KIRO 7’s effort is about telling the story of local news in a different way, the same way the post-election discourse on fake news is also starting to frame the way news organizations talk about local news.
CNN also plans to begin labeling news articles in which the label “fake news” is attached, according to The Associated Press. The AP said CNN will use this label to describe potentially fabricated stories that the media company says are of limited circulation but frequently sensational and lie about current events.
The U.Topic initiative aims to reduce the potential for misinformation, fake news, or untruths, said Dan Scott, editor, and publisher of The Denver Post.
The Denver Post has been using a similar news tagger for a while, Scott said. The Denver Post uses the keyword news tagger NewsWatch, which means the Denver Post will share that specific news story in a news story and the headline and in the headline to indicate that the story is newsworthy.
The Denver Post will share that specific news story in the post headline and will have a “true story from the Denver Post,” Scott said.
“This is different from the verification of stories as true,” he said.
The Denver Post also labels “local news,” “big local news” or “big local news” to describe the topic, according to Scott. And it also defines “hyper-local news” to explain how hyper-local stories become big stories, he said.
“In other words, we would use hyper-local to say local news,” Scott said.
According to the initiative, hyper-local content is local news coverage that is limited to that city or county. And hyper-local news stories can become big news stories.
The hyper-local tag is used in headlines, but the story will be considered big news when it is mentioned in a headline.
“This is breaking news because we’re local, but we’re also hyper-local,” Scott said.
If the Denver Post wanted to refer to an incident as hyper-local, Scott said it would be “local breaking news.”
“Hyper-local news stories, they can get really big,” Scott said.
Some big stories will also be hyper-local, Scott said. But hyper-local stories are not going to be determined by the size of the news organization that publishes the story.
The local news taggers also do not determine what news organizations are required to include in a news article.
“We don’t decide what is a hyper-local story,” Susan Warren, president of NewsMedia Alliance, told NPR.
Warren also said the social media news taggers are not determined to label big news stories or news stories.
In most newsrooms, Warren said, “they’re not looking for what they call the hyper-local stories; they’re looking for what is local news.”
The news taggers may look for the hyper-local stories, according to Scott, but it is really up to the news organizations to decide what is hyper-local.
And it is not hyper-local to write about a topic because a person lives in an area that the news organization covers. “If it happened in Seattle, we’d probably be hyper-local on it,” Scott said.