As someone who works in the media, my favourite phrase often thrown around is 'fake news.'
It's even worked its way into my own vocabulary and I often say it was a joke to something I’m not a huge fan of. I can’t lose weight while still eating candy? Fake news! I need to finish my work before leaving the office? Fake news! Coronavirus cancelled another event I was looking forward to covering? Fake news!
Unfortunately, I use the phrase this way because President Donald Trump seems to have coined it to describe press coverage of himself that he doesn’t like. While I use it purely to be funny, he doesn’t.
At its bare bones, the term fake news simply means untrue information being presented as news. This could be anything and tough to spot if it’s presented in a certain way.
Ironically, I received an email from a reader stating one of past opinion pieces fell under the title of fake news and I got a bit of a chuckle out of it. Other than completely missing the point of the article, which was about the scrutiny survivors of sexual assault face when they come forward, it came across that they, among many others, thought the Henry Hype was actual reporting.
I understand the confusion but this, what you’re reading right now, isn’t news. The Henry Hype is my column, which consists solely of my opinion. It’s commentary where journalists pick a subject and either share our personal opinions or observations.
It’s why I chuckled when it was called fake news or ‘the worst reporting (a reader) has ever seen,’ because it’s not reporting. It can’t be fake because it’s literally my own opinion.
Opinion pieces should be the only part of a newspaper or media outlet that shows a bias because it meant to be. I’ve described the Henry Hype as a bit of a look into my soul because it’s the one time I share personal experiences.
But, I have been accused of leaving parts out of my columns and not knowing what an essay is. I can assure you; I have a high school, college, and university degree that shows I do know how to write a personal essay.
What I do is focus on the parts that are relevant to what I want to talk about in the 500-word count that I have. It's what we’re taught in school, focus on the strong points and back them up. If I spent the time going as deep into topics as I really wanted, I could fill up one of our papers and there’d be no room for the actual news.
I’m okay if my opinion pieces are called fake news, because none of my actual articles have been. I strive to ensure they’re true because I want to make sure I’m as good at my job as I can be.