If journalists and publishers want to end fake news, they must start with themselves. For far too long certain conventions have been perpetuated that, under scrutiny, have no place in any legitimate journalistic publication.
Stop publishing horoscopes, feng shui tips, and other beliefs definitively disproven by science such as traditional Chinese medicine, crystal healing, cleansing diets, homeopathy, etc. If you must feature pseudoscience, then be critical and get the findings of legitimate science authorities.
Stop making stupid people famous. Banish high society columns where people are featured simply because they were born rich or pretty. Being born rich or pretty is not an accomplishment. If you want to feature someone well bred then feature a pure breed pig, horse, or dog instead. If they are philanthropists then feature their advocacy. If they are tycoons then feature their business success. If they are well dressed then feature the designers. If they travel then feature the destinations. If they are artists then feature their art. Obsessive hoarding, be it any material possession or wealth, beyond any practical need, is a symptom of a sick mind. High society columns are most often amoral, highlighting plunderers and tax evaders, oppressors of laborers and peasants, as if they were worthy to look up to.
Stop showbiz gossip. Judge actors and musicians for their artistry. If they are not true artists then don’t feature them at all. Stop exploiting the private lives of stars and stop being exploited by celebrities who want media attention.
Stop featuring blind item columns and anonymous writers. Everyone must practice accountability and transparency. Journalism is only for the brave and those that can’t name names better shut up.
Stop prostituting the lifestyle section. No upstanding publisher would demand the front page news section or the business section to compromise their journalistic integrity and sell out to make money for the publication. So why demand that of the lifestyle section? The newsmen who most often run publications often look down on the lifestyle section as insubstantial and yet they are the ones who often expect the lifestyle section to sell out and make money for the publication. Cultural reportage is extremely relevant and important. Corruption, poverty, rape, bigotry, and vanity are all perpetuated by flawed culture. Environmentalism, gender equality, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, accountability, honesty, ambition, and creativity are all values that can and should be promoted by arts and culture.
Stop judging by popularity. You don’t publish something because people want to read it and watch it; you publish something because people need to read it and watch it. Stop judging articles by the number of likes, shares, or reads. These are the wrong metrics. If popularity was the basis then all publications would be sensationalist tabloids with sexy pictures, clickbait headlines, and hoax news.
Stop giving equal legitimacy to opposing points of view when this misrepresents reality. For example, It’s not right giving equal voice to a lone dissenter denying man-made climate change when the vast majority of the scientific establishment confirms the existence of man-made climate change.
Be plainspoken. Don’t say he “misspoke” if it was a deliberate and often-repeated lie. Call a spade a spade.
Get real writers and journalists. Don’t get an editor-in-chief because he or she represents the aspirational ideal of your readership or audience—glamorous, accomplished, etc. Don’t get columnists just because they are famous. If they can’t write well or have nothing worthy to say then they have no business in your publication.