On October 30, preceding the 2018 midterm elections, the Columbia Journalism Review brought fake news to life, taking over a newsstand on 42nd and 6th Avenue in Manhattan and stocking it with tangible copies of false reporting. With the help of TBWA\Chiat\Day, a New York-based creative agency, they’ve printed real newspapers and magazines, headlined with some of the most jarring, comedic, and depressing fake news of 2018.
The stories were pulled from the internet, where false reports often go viral and unchecked, and stylized in the format of reputable periodicals, showing just how dangerous these false narratives can be when packaged correctly and pointing out that more people are susceptible than they may realize.
“[T]he newsstand aims to expose the dangers of misinformation and educate citizens on how to recognize false news, a timely message as the midterm elections approach,” the CJR says.
“We embarked on this initiative to help people spot disinformation,” said Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of the CJR, in a press release. “For the first time, we’re taking false stories from the digital space into the physical space and placing it directly in the hands of real people. It makes these stories tangible in a way that forces you to think about the source of the information.”
Inside the papers, CJR has printed an educational reader’s guide for recognizing disinformation. The publication suggests that before wholeheartedly believing a report: Check your emotions; Question the source; Be aware of your biases; Consider the message; Search for more information; Question the source again; and Question the content. The guide is also available online.