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Journalism: How to spot fake news

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Identifying fake news

Lesende (Reading) by Gerhard Richter. Painting of woman reading a newspaper
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, be concerned about the reliability of a source.

  • Can you verify this news story? Is it available on other outlets? Are different versions of the story published by different newspapers and writers?

  • Can you verify that the site you’re reading this article on is both reputable and representing itself in an accurate way?

  • Can you find information about the author, and can you confirm that the author is a journalist? Have they worked for other newspapers or are they an expert in the area they’re writing about?

  • Does the author quote reputable sourced and provide details to back up their story?

  • Is the article well written and free from grammatical mistakes?

  • Is the article written in a calm, controlled, and professional manner?

  • If it attempts to shock you or illicit an emotional response rather than provide facts, or if it uses exclamations marks and question marks, it’s probably not reliable.

Illustration. Lesende (Reading)  by Gerhard Richter, found through Artstor.

 

News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit

In their own words, "The News Literacy Project is a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan, independent programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age. Learn more at https://newslit.org/."

News literacy: The ability to determine the credibility of news and other content, to identify different types of information, and to use the standards of authoritative, fact-based journalism to determine what to trust, share and act on.

Our mission: The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.

Their podcast, "Is That a Fact?" covers topics from the dearth of local newspapers to disinformation and Russia's war in Ukraine.

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Cynthia McCarthy
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