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Strategy: Evaluating News

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Dig Deeper for Fact Checking

Given the current information landscape, it is often up to you to take on the role as fact-checker. This page offers some tips and strategies for doing so. The content is largely adapted from Mike Caulfield's 'Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers', an excellent openly available text. 

  


Look for Previous Fact Checking

Check to see if someone has already investigated the article, claim, or story.

Search fact checking sites.

Mountain Top By Alice Noir for the Noun ProjectTip: Use Google or Duck Duck Go to search key terms and site command. In the search bar, enter: 

Search terms  +  site:factcheck.org site:snopes.com site:politifact.com site:www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/ 

See solar flare example

 Learn more 


Go Upstream: Find the Original

Not all reporting is original work. Much of what we see in social media and elsewhere is syndicated or borrowed from other works. 'Going upstream' is the practice of identifying the original sources before you ask questions about the site, author, ownership, purpose.

 

Identify the original source

Look for references to where the information or reporting originally appeared. 

  • Follow links when available
  • Conduct a web search for the original source title or name(s)

What can you infer about the original source? What are its guidelines for ethics, review, transparency? Does it influence your judgment if the news outlet is closer to the incident?

 

 

Track down studies, reports, or research

  • Follow links when available
  • Conduct a web search to find the original study or source of information

Does the source represent the study accurately based on your results?

 

 

 

Track down original images

Reverse Image Search

Do a reverse image search to locate the origin of a photo (More on image tracking tips)

  • Right-click/ Control-click to conduct an image search (Chrome or Firefox)
  • Track down author and date

Does the source represent the image accurately based on your results?


Read Laterally

It is a great idea to explore statements about the review process, ethics and transparency of a news source. But remember to also look at what others say about the site or source. 

  • Search for websites or content that review the site. 
    • Try searching Google with site command tricks. Example.
    • http://nationalreport.net/ -site:http://nationalreport.net/
  • Search for the sponsoring organization or company, domain ownership, location, or other names associated with the site. icann whois
  • Search fact-checking sites to see how frequently, if ever, the site content was reported as questionable.
  • Search for any cues about the site's record of accuracy and trust.

 Learn more 


Fact Check & Verify

Determine what information you might be able to confirm based on the author's reporting.

Try search engines, encyclopedias, or experts! Ask your librarian

The intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption. 

 

The intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption.  

 

Refers to the tendency to selectively search for and consider information that confirms one's beliefs.