October 20, 2019
Carter Zupancich | MediaWise Teen Fact-Checker

MediaWise Rating: DOCTORED

Recently, a photo has been floating around Instagram of office workers posing a man — seemingly asleep — for a group selfie. The photo looked like a prank until I read the Los Angeles Times’ headline attached to it: “Man suffers heart attack, dies at work, coworkers gathered for group selfie thinking he’d fallen asleep.” But was this really posted by the Los Angeles Times? Or was this just another photoshopped image? Let’s dig deeper and find out what really happened.

Who is behind the information?

This photo was posted by @thefatjewish, a popular Instagram account with more than 10 million followers. While the account is verified, this is a meme page full of satire and funny content. The original post has since been deleted, so we might have to dig deeper to find out if this is actually true.

Try a reverse image search

After saving this image, I did a quick reverse image search on Google. This easy tool is great for fact-checking photos and viral social media posts. Within seconds I had my answer. According to a 2016 HuffPost article, the man in the photo is alive and well.

“The lighthearted staff decided to snap an office photo with the slumbering intern,” the article said.  “When he awoke, he found the picture so funny that he posted it on Reddit.”

This is where the photoshop wars began, and the photo quickly began to trend on multiple social media platforms. To do your own reverse image search, first save the photo you want to fact-check and head to images.google.com. Next, click the camera icon and choose “upload an image.” Google will then direct you to websites that contain that same photo, plus similar images.

Our rating

Since this article didn’t actually appear on the Los Angeles Times website, we rate this claim as DOCTORED. In this case, the person responsible for this image used the official Los Angeles Times flag and even made sure to use a similar font for the headline. This is why you should always stop and make sure you’re looking at a legit news article before sharing.

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has…
Alex Mahadevan

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