Lee News

Smith Publishes Book on Fake News and Christianity

By Naudia O’Steen

Lee University’s Dr. Michael Smith recently self-published his newest book, “Fake News, Truth-Telling and Charles M. Sheldon’s Model of Accuracy: How a Clergyman Insisted on Accuracy as Job One,” on Amazon.

“Audiences sometimes think in terms of ‘my media’ and ‘the media,’” Smith said, quoting author Tom Rosenstiel. “Naturally, ‘my media’ is accurate and value-neutral but ‘THE media’ is hopelessly biased and not concerned with fake news as along as it advances the agenda of the organization. I’m hopeful my book will provide some remedies and insight to this issue along with insight into the role of accuracy pioneered by Charles M. Sheldon, a clergyman-turned-journalist.”

Dr. Michael Ray Smith Publishes Book
Dr. Michael Ray Smith

Smith, a professor of public relations at Lee and former journalist and journalism professor, examines how Charles M. Sheldon used his faith-based sensibilities to edit a mainstream newspaper and pioneer the need for accuracy in journalism. Sheldon approached the newspaper owner with an idea to produce a completely accurate, fully fact-checked newspaper to demonstrate a faith-based, general-circulation newspaper was viable. For one week, Sheldon produced “The Jesus Newspaper,” which included 100 percent accurate articles only.

“Circulation soared due to the experience,” said Smith. “It provoked the newspaper business to reconsider some of its practices that are a part of the fact-checking mania at work today.”

Smith’s book also looks at older examples of fake news and demonstrates “fake news” is not a new phenomenon.

Smith was assisted by other Lee faculty and staff throughout the process. Morgan Waldrop, secretary for the Department of Communication Arts, designed the book interior and cover art. Dr. Megan Moe, professor of communication, proofread the cover for Smith.

Smith has taught for more than three decades at state and private universities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He was selected as the first university-wide award recipient for teaching excellence at Campbell University and has spoken at many academic and professional conferences, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

He has worked as a reporter and editor, publishing nearly 3,000 articles in the popular press and working for papers such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and contributed freelance articles to periodicals such as The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today. He has written eight books, including “7 Days to a Byline that Sells,” which was the number one Kindle book for a brief time in May.

To purchase Smith’s newest book, visit Amazon.
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