Creating news features and working within the legal framework:


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To prepare for a discussion, reflect on the reading about identifying “fake news.” Then please read these two news articles related to “Pizzagate,” a false conspiracy theory spread in November 2016 which claimed Secretary Hillary Clinton was running a child-trafficking ring out the (non-existent) basement of a Washington D.C. pizza shop. In this story, a gunman allegedly traveled from North Carolina to investigate and fired shots in the restaurant.

BBC Trending. (2016, December 2). The saga of ‘Pizzagate’: The fake story that shows how conspiracy theories spread. BBC News. Retrieved from

Lakshmanan, I. A. R. (2016, December 8). The shocking TRUTH about #PIZZAGATE! Boston Globe. Retrieved from

For the discussion, please post your thoughts about “Pizzagate” and other “fake news.” Reflect back to when the fake story was circulating. Respond to these questions:

  • Did you click on this story and/or wonder if it were true, until it was debunked?
  • What is the danger of fake news spreading throughout our country and around the world?
  • Most of these fake news stories are spread through social media. What are the platforms’ responsibility to filter out the bogus articles?
  • As a PR professional, what would your responsibility be to call our and/or avoid spreading fake news?