Friday, November 25, 2016

The Space Alien Studies the News

Your editor arrived at the insanely busy newsroom of the Space Alien Gazette and found the Space Alien sitting at a desk reading a newspaper.

"What are you reading?" asked your editor.

"The Chicago Tribune," answered the Space Alien. "I want to know what our competition is doing!"

"Good idea," said your editor.  "Let me have a look!"

The Space Alien moved aside so your editor could see the newspaper.

"Oh my goodness," said your editor "this newspaper is over 70 years old and this headline isn't even true!"

"I'm aghast!" said the Space Alien.  "How could this be? It was in the newspaper!"

"A newspaper isn't always the most reliable source" answered your editor.  "That particular headline was just a big mistake, but you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers."

"NO!" cried the incredulous Space Alien.  "Are you saying I should wait to hear it on the radio or see it on television?"

"Well, radio and TV are not always reliable either!"

The Space Alien looked stunned.

"How about the internet?  I'm sure people don't make things up on the internet!"

"That's even worse," said your editor.  "There are lots of made-up things there!"

"Even on Facebook and Twitter?" asked the Space Alien.

"Even there, people sometimes write things that are not true," answered your editor, as the Space Alien groaned.
The Space Alien was Crestfallen

The Space Alien was silent for several moments, thinking deeply, and then broke out in a huge grin.

"I get it!  I bet you can believe something if PEOPLE SAY SO!"

"NO!" cried your editor.  "'PEOPLE SAY' may be the LEAST RELIABLE of all!"

The Space Alien, who had always dreamed of being a reporter or even an editor of the Space Alien Gazette, was crestfallen.

"How can I contribute to the Space Alien Gazette if I don't know what's real and what's not?"

Your editor thought about this deeply before she spoke.

"I'll give you some links to help you tell the difference between real news and fake news."

"Here's a CNN article with some questions to ask of every suspect story, especially in Facebook."

"And here's a list of fact-checking websites" (starting with,  one of your editor's faves).

"So why don't we just get rid of all of that fake news?" asked the Space Alien.

"It's not always so easy," answered your editor.  "Here's an article about that!"

"I'll study these," said the Space Alien "because I want the Space Alien Gazette to be the very best!"

"You are the heart and soul of the Space Alien Gazette" answered your editor.  "With your inspiration we will keep right on getting out the very best news to our loyal readers!"

"Oh, I like that," said the Space Alien.  "But just for today can I drive one of the delivery trucks?"

"Sure you can!"

"Can I drive a shiny red one?"

"Certainly," answered your editor with a big smile.  "Go take your pick from the fleet!"

Space Alien Gazette Delivery Trucks