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Fake news has been a hot topic in recent days, but it’s often misunderstood. Stories written by non-journalists to intentionally mislead readers are a real danger to our society, especially when those in power are misusing the term or employing it for their own benefit. Dr. Robert Probst and Dr. Kylene Beers, educators and co-authors of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, explain more about how we can identify fake news and stop its progress.

Fake news does not apply to stories, satirical or otherwise, from a credible, professional organization. Rather, it refers to fictitious stories, although sometimes loosely connected to real events. They are usually written in order to create bias, start controversy, or serve as clickbait for an organization’s profit. Dr. Beers explains how sharing news started as a way to encourage an informed democracy, but it has now become a way to chase profit.

Many students, adults, and teachers are untrained in how to recognize fake news stories. Dr. Beers says this is largely a result of seeking a simple answer to a complex problem with many perspectives. Learning to think critically, ask questions, and have an open mind are the crucial skills needed in our digital generation. Those growing up in the digital environment or those with age and experience are not immune to being tricked by fake news. By asking three questions of a news story, readers can spend more time noticing suspicious details and thinking about its validity: How does it look? What does it say? How does it make me feel?

To learn more about spotting fake news or to get a copy of our guests’ book, visit the links below.


  • Dr. Robert Probst, educator and co-author of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters
  •  Dr. Kylene Beers, educator and co-author of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters

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