Columbia journalism review: The fake news stand

The spread of misinformation and fabricated news stories has gained substantial ground in the past few years, largely due to the rise of social media. The Columbia Journalism Review, a world leader in press criticism, wanted to expose Americans to the dangers of false news and educate them on how to recognize it. So we created the Fake News Stand.


We found misleading headlines that had been widely shared online, and we made them tangible for the first time by putting them on the covers of what looked like real newspapers and magazines. Then we put them on display at a heavily trafficked newsstand in Manhattan.


Inside each publication, an educational guide prompted people to question what they were reading, offered tips for spotting misinformation and explained the importance of seeking out real news produced by credible journalists.


The goal was to create awareness around the topic of misinformation and ask the public to be more thoughtful and careful about the “news” they see and share. The Fake News Stand got the attention of media outlets in more than 100 countries, generated more than 300 news stories and reached more than 2 billion people with zero media dollars spent.