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Journalism: Resources

Nonpartisan websites

These organizations seek to offer objective information.

Web pages never die. They just expire.

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The WayBack Machine: Part of the Internet Archive, the Wayback Machine is an archive of the internet, showing pages that have expired or been removed.

What top-level domain names reveal about websites

A link or url tells you quite a bit about where the information on the page comes from and who the intended audience is. The last three letters of a url (uniform resource locator) or link will tell you a great deal about who owns a website, who writes the content and what their purpose is. To find out more about a website, check it on Whois.

Top-level domain

Abbreviation for:

Who uses it Url of example website

.com

commercial commercial entities https://www.amazon.com/

.edu

education universities and colleges https://www.berkeley.edu/

.gov

government U.S. government  https://www.usgs.gov/

.net

network network infrastructure https://www.slideshare.net/

.org

organization nonprofit organizations https://www.sierraclub.org/

.mil

military U.S. military https://www.marines.mil/

Newsguard rates websites

Newsguard, a website that describes itself as an "internet trust tool," offers a browser extension that scans websites and shows ratings of how credible they believe the site to be. Newsguard sends reports to the World Health Organization. How Newsguard's rates websites:

Credibility

  • Does not repeatedly publish false content: The site does not repeatedly produce stories that have been found—either by journalists at NewsGuard or elsewhere—to be clearly and significantly false, and which have not been quickly and prominently corrected. (22 Points. A label with a score lower than 60 points gets a red rating.)
  • Gathers and presents information responsibly: Content providers are generally fair and accurate in reporting and presenting information. They reference multiple sources, preferably those that present direct, firsthand information on a subject or event or from credible second hand news sources, and they do not egregiously distort or misrepresent information to make an argument or report on a subject.  (18 Points)
  • Regularly corrects or clarifies errors: The site makes clear how to report an error or complaint, has effective practices for publishing clarifications and corrections, and notes corrections in a transparent way. (12.5 Points)
  • Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly: Content providers who convey the impression that they report news or a mix of news and opinion distinguish opinion from news reporting, and when reporting news, do not egregiously cherry pick facts or stories to advance opinions. Content providers who advance a particular point of view disclose that point of view. (12.5 Points)
  • Avoids deceptive headlines: The site generally does not publish headlines that include false information, significantly sensationalize, or otherwise do not reflect what is actually in the story. (10 Points)

Transparency

  • Website discloses ownership and financing: The site discloses its ownership and/or financing, as well as any notable ideological or political positions held by those with a significant financial interest in the site, in a user-friendly manner. (7.5 Points)
  • Clearly labels advertising: The site makes clear which content is paid for and which is not. (7.5 Points)
  • Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest: Information about those in charge of the content is made accessible on the site. (5 Points)
  • The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information: Information about those producing the content is made accessible on the site. (5 Points)

Websites to check news and rumors

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FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Media Bias Fact Check describes themselves as “the most comprehensive media bias resource on the internet" and includes 1000+ media sources in their database.

Politifact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times . . .” *

Snopes has long been considered “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.” *

Sunlight Foundation "is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.” *

 

The International Fact-Checking Network is a forum for fact-checkers worldwide hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. These organizations fact-check statements by public figures, major institutions and other widely circulated claims of interest to society.” *

*All descriptive quotes are from the websites they describe.

More guides to evaluate sites

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