There has always been false reporting and "yellow journalism," but we may be living in a Golden Age of poorly-done news.
Online social media has become the most common way for people to share news, although it may also be the most dangerous. While it's made it easy to share good information, social media has also made it quite easy to share bad information. Because they make their money from advertising clicks, many websites that produce misinformation don't even bother to fact-check.
As a journalist, your job is to be a skeptic. Everything that you read or hear -- no matter how factual it seems -- needs to be independently verified. You cannot take a website's word that a statistic is correct or a story isn't false; you should find the website's original source and double check it yourself. Also make sure that you identify where you've gotten your information so that your readers may do the same.
In the video to the right, GroundReport's CEO Rachel Sterne discusses the positive potential of citizen journalism.
The video below highlights some of the potential problems of viral news sharing.