Fake News

Being a skeptical reader is more important than ever.
Closed caption YouTube video about assessing news from varied media.
Yes, it is THIS important.
The text of this image, "Online Civic Reasoning," is available for download at the bottom of this page.
So how do you know if it's fake news?
Try reading "around" the website page, rather than "down" it. Here's what I mean:
Closed caption YouTube video that encourages a reading strategy to assess web content.
Here is an example of "reading around the page":

Try to make this part of your usual routine:

Take a visit to Indiana University (see below) for some tips on how to begin evaluating an online news article. It's good stuff.
Or, give it the CRAAP test!

Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test Meriam Library   California State University, Chico

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. 

Evaluation Criteria 

CurrencyThe timeliness of the information.
 When was the information published or posted? 

 Has the information been revised or updated?
 Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?  Are the links functional? 

RelevanceThe importance of the information for your needs.
 Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? 

 Who is the intended audience?
 Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?  Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
 Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper? 

AuthorityThe source of the information.
 Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? 

 What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
 Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
 Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?  Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net 

AccuracyThe reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.  
Where does the information come from? 

 Is the information supported by evidence?
 Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
 Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?  Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
 Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? 

Purpose: The reason the information exists.
 What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? 

 Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
 Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
 Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
 Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases? 

And finally ...

More than your grade depends
on you being able to detect
Fake News

adapted from Joyce Valenza / blogs.slj.com

Check About and About me pages: Clicking on or investigate authors names to consider their credentials in context should be a regular part of the research journey.

Interrogate urls: We see quite a bit of domain manipulation these days. For instance, what looks like an .edu domain, followed by .co or “lo” is likely a fake or deceptive site. If you are you seeing a slightly variant version of a well-known URL, do a little investigating.

Suspect the sensational: When we see something posted that looks sensational, it is even more important to be skeptical. Exaggerated and provocative headlines with excessive use of capital letters or emotional language are serious red flags.

Go back to the source: When an article mentions a study, if you can, go directly to the sourceand check its bona fides as well. Go back to the story again (and again): Breaking news will continue to break. Early reports are built from limited information

so you’ll want to watch a story grow into a fuller picture.

Triangulate: Try to verify the information in multiple sources, including traditional media and library databases. You can begin to rule out the hoaxes and by checking out sites like the nonprofit, nonpartisan FactCheck.org, or popular sites like Snopes or Hoax-Slayer.

What exactly are you reading?: Even when you find yourself in a traditional news site, identify what type of writing you are reading. Is it news reporting, or a feature story, or an editorial, or work by a guest blogger, or a review, or an op-ed or a disguised ad, or a comment?

Check your own search attitude and biases: Is your search language biased in any way? Are you paying more attention to the information that confirms your own beliefs and ignoring evidence that does not?

Use a little energy: Have you simply satisficed or have you done your due diligence in seeking and validating the best possible sources across media sources?

Stop before you forward (or use): When you see a widely shared or forwarded link, be suspicious of a hoax or a fake Can you verify the information outside of the social media platform on which you discovered it?

Be suspicious of pictures!: Not all photographs tell truth or unfiltered truth. Images are normally edited or process, but sometimes they are digitally manipulated. Some are born digital. A Google reverse image search can help discover the source of an image and its possible variations.

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