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Newspapers & Magazines: Evaluate News Items

News aggregators, bloggers, pundits, provocateurs, commentators, and “citizen journalists” are competing with traditional journalists for public attention. Uninformed opinion masquerades as news. Lines are blurring between legitimate journalism and the propaganda, entertainment, self-promotion, and unmediated information on the Internet. This superabundance of information has made it imperative that citizens learn to judge the reliability of news reports and other sources of information that is passed along their social networks. Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University

Fact-checking Sites

PolitiFact checks claims made by politicians to determine the truthfulness of those claims is a non-partisan project to monitor factual accuracy in politics

Fact Checker is a project of the Washington Post

How to Spot Fake News

Medical News

Many people turn to the internet for health-related information, and share health-related news and claims via social media. Use these guidelines to determine the reliability of medical-related news:

Guiding Questions for Evaluating News

Questions to ask about the news item:

  1. What sources are cited?
  2. Are multiple sources used or just a few? (More sources are better.)
  3. Do those sources have education, training or specialized knowledge about the topic being discussed?
  4. Are those sources independent/unbiased or are they self-interested/biased?
  5. Does the source provide evidence or are they only making assertions or giving opinions?
  6. Does the author name their sources or are they anonymous?
  7. Is a credible reason given for keeping a source anonymous? Is information from anonymous sources confirmed with multiple other sources?
  8. Does the author use neutral language, or is it biased or designed to elicit a reaction?
  9. Does the author provide a larger context for the story?
  10. Does the story seem complete or is something being left out? Does it leave you with more questions you'd like to find answers to?
  11. Have you found multiple other news sources reporting similar news independent of each other
  12. Do a search online for the author, the title of the news source, and individuals and organizations mentioned in the news item to see that others have said about them.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you responding to the news item intellectually or emotionally? Does it seem like the news item is purposely tugging on your emotions?
  2. Are you being objective in your reading or are you letting your existing opinions sway your evaluation?
  3. Have you thoroughly evaluated and researched the news item before using or sharing it with others?

These questions were adapted from materials provided by the Center for News Literacy