A confluence of events, trends and the proliferation of social media have led to many recent news reports that are simply not true, but have been spread virally through the web, according to a recent story at Digiday.com. Is this a growing trend, or will it happen less often in the future, as the author suggests?

Most of us are aware that our newsrooms have become information factories, with workers asked to report more frequently across a wide variety of topics. Gone are the newsrooms of the past where there were departments with specialized reporting and a staff to verify facts and support journalists working on a deadline.

Even reputable news sites are falling for fake stories, according to the report, citing a “hit-and-run” mentality that publishers seem to have adopted regarding news verity. The mandate is to jump on a story and get it out as quickly as possible, catching the wave of a viral effect if possible before others have jumped on the bandwagon.

The hope is that publishers will recognize that their reputation and quality of reporting will trump minor ratings battles and that a new model will emerge that incorporates speed and reliability in news reports. We can only hope that a balance between generating verified news and generating readers can be found. As long as people pass along fake news stories, that balance will be difficult to attain.