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Fake News-Spotting; a Brief How-To

This week has been fraught by intense, rapidly changing news cycles. With so much information being released online at once it can be tricky, verging on the impossible for the uninitiated, to discern fact from fiction. Below, we have compiled some quick tips to help information-seekers hone in on quality online news sources. 

Here are some basic steps to keep in mind when you are evaluating your news source:

  • Consider the source Read more than the article you clicked on. Read the “about us” information. What is the site’s mission? What is their contact information? If these things are lacking it may be a sign that your news source is suspect. 
  • Don’t just read the headlines Headlines often use inflammatory language to get clicks. Make sure to read the article to understand what is really being reported on. 
  • Author check! Who wrote the article? Are they credible? Do a quick check to find out whose words you are reading. 
  • Supporting Sources If supporting sources are given, click the links. Clicking the links allows the opportunity to check if the information being used actually supports the story.
  • DATE CHECK! This one is all-caps shouting because I see this on social media all the time. Old stories do not necessarily relate to or support current events. 
  • Satire check! Are you accidentally reading news from a joke site? Even after a year like 2020, if the information being reported seems too outlandish, it is worth your time to dig deeper. The most famous example of satirical news is The Onion which I have known fully grown adults to fall for as legitimate news. 
  • Confirmation Bias Check! Our beliefs color our perception, so it’s important to reflect on personal opinions that can cloud judgement. 
  • Librarian Check! When all else fails and you still feel uncertain, your friendly local librarians were BORN to help you find quality, reliable news sources. 

Check out the infographic the above information was gathered from HERE

The news resources listed below were chosen because they are considered to be consistently trustworthy and balanced media outlets. Take a look at an interactive Media Bias Chart HERE to see where your news source rates on bias and overall reliability. 

Local/State News Sources

National News Sources

International News Sources

Trusted Fact-checking Sites

Mead Public Library is dedicated to providing our community with high-quality information from trusted sources. We are proud to support the information-seeking needs of our community and believe objective truth is real and often reported on. Reach out for more information by calling 920-459-3400 or email us at Thanks to Jeannie Gartman, Kelly Rohde, and Carol Munroe for collaborating on this blog post.