Journalism students were enthralled by a talk about fake news given by The Digital Video Lead at BBC West Midlands.

Cath Mackie explained how to check the validity of video content to year two students studying journalism at the University of Worcester.

Using examples from bogus Covid-19 stories on Facebook to a cover up over atrocities committed in West Africa, students gained an insight into the importance of fact-checking visual content.

Cath, a familiar face from BBC Midlands Today,  showed how the use of easily accessible digital tools can help in the war against misinformation.

She warned that without vigilant  fact-checking by trained journalists , fake news could become an ‘infodemic’ a danger to people’s health and a threat to democracy.

“It is our job  to point people in the direction of the true facts. Basically, is something looks too good to be true then it probably is,” she said.

Student Amir Farhat said: “It was a really beneficial session. How to spot fake news and how not to fall into sharing it is a really important issue for everyone, but especially for journalists.Straight away I started using her recommended plug-ins and websites.”

Research has shown that fake news circulates much faster than factual news and that people resend material without thinking.

She urged the students to play a part in curbing the spread by asking friends and relatives to forward such material to them for scrutiny rather than circulating it widely.

Claire Wolfe, Principal Lecturer in Journalism, said: “ It was a fascinating session. The role of journalism has never been more important and as a course we do everything we can to equip students with the skills to be effective for the good of their employer and society as a whole.”