The Authenticity of Digital News Coverage in the Mainstream Media in Japan

Terumi Miyazoe, Shinichi Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines the authenticity of digital news coverage in the mainstream media in Japan via a specific case study, namely ‘Doctoral Students Have Decreased by Half’. In research, ‘fake news’ comprises two elements, facticity and intentionality; this study focuses on facticity or misinformation. Studies regarding ‘fake news’ are abundant, but those focussing on the mainstream digital media and Japan are highly scarce. This study applied a gap analysis, a comparison between the expected original information and the actual news coverage in a reversed direction. The study first detected and examined the original governmental data and announcements on which a series of news reports were based. Next, it drew a compare and contrast between the news on selective mainstream media and the original information. The reported drop in the number of doctoral students could be a ‘false alarm’ for prospective target audiences, implying that digital news portals may disseminate misinformation. The analysis also revealed that the current structure of digital news making, segmented into multiformat comprising headlines, texts, videos, captions, and others, may make the information verification process more complex and obstructed for individuals. The study also points at the risk of spread of misinformation and of memory retention, amplified by the use of culture-specific symbolic numbers, which weakens our reasoning ability. The findings emphasise the importance of updating our digital media literacy and making collaborative efforts to make local research internationally sharable to advance the understanding of ‘fake news’ research in this multimedia era.

Original languageEnglish
Article number348
JournalSN Computer Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Digital media literacy
  • Fake news
  • Gap analysis
  • Japan
  • Mainstream media
  • Misinformation


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