My top 4 tried-and-true tips to skirt the scourge of fake news! (Journalists hate me!)

In the mid-apocalyptic world in which we find ourselves, a world in which unsubstantiated drivel has replaced common journalistic decency and devotion to the altar of truth, we find, wedged between memes and bite-sized packets of self-expression, insidious works designed to deceive: fake news.

Thus, to aid my floundering, feeble readers, I have constructed a list of rules that distil in few words my approach to maintaining independent, nonpartisan integrity. So sit back, forget everything you thought you knew, and read on:

1. Don’t trust news that comes to you. Everywhere you go, fake news is after you, like a series of unwanted sexual advances. Whether it be via sophisticated social media algorithms designed to coax a couple extra clicks or letterbox pamphlet drops, all information that seeks you out deserves your suspicion. Your pursuit of information should be an outward, proactive task; try not to become a submissive human receptacle of internet trash.

2. Treat news articles like tinder profiles. Today’s average online consumer is an unrelenting digital bloodhound, able to follow vague tendrils of information across multiple platforms with acuity and intuition. So, imagine the articles you read are Tinder profiles and apply these skills to the news. Ask yourself questions like: Who are they funded by? Are they politically-affiliated? Does the URL contain the word ‘conspiracy’? Little things like that.

3. Read books. Lots of them. News articles are like puzzle pieces: important, yes, but useless in isolation. Vines and never-ending newsfeeds are shrinking our attention spans like dried out figs, but books can provide a vital counterbalance. Read about everything from Ancient Greece to artificial intelligence to 18th century European cooking techniques — this will show you the big picture on the back of the box.

4. Only vote at election time. Nowadays, people tend to allow their political allegiance to become an entrenched element of their identity. We have not yet reached the hellish depths of some Western nations — we are still ‘Labor-voters’, not ‘Laborers’ — but the gang-loyalty approach to politics persists. As a responsible writer and reader, you are affiliated only with the facts. Your vote dictates which party will have power; it does not dictate your beliefs.

So, dear reader, next time you find yourself mindlessly ingesting online content like a free Quarter Pounder, think of me and say, “Not today fake news. Not. Today.”