Evaluate Sources of News & Information

Magnifying glass on newspapers

Critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy, and teaching people how to be better consumers of information is a fundamental task at the heart of the library profession

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Want help spotting fake news?

Follow these eight simple steps to discover the verifiability of a news piece:

  1. Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
  2. Read beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
  3. Check the author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they a real person?
  4. Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
  5. Check the date: Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
  6. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
  7. Check your biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
  8. Ask the experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Source: the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and FactCheck.org’s “How to Spot Fake News”

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