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Disinformation: fake news, propaganda & more: Check a source on your own

Practice makes perfect

Use the tips throughout this guide to check your own claim, or use one of the claims listed below for practice. Remember, fake news articles may fall under multiple categories and might even mix in a few facts amid falsehoods.

Select a claim to examine


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Things to think about

What to Think About When Thinking About The News

Source: KT Lowe, Indiana University East Library

What To Think About When Thinking About The News

  1. What is the main idea of this article? What is the point this article is trying to make? Was it easy to find? Does the title of the article make sense?
  2. How does this article want me to feel? What kind of language is being used? Are the images positive or negative? Do you see lots of exclamation points and words in bold that make you pay attention to them?
  3. Does the article provide evidence for its claim from good sources? Are the links provided sending you to medical journals, articles in well-researched publications or statistical sites? Or are they sending you to "alternative" sites with little factual information?
  4. Am I able to independently verify claims in this article? .If a claim doesn't have a link in the article, can I find information on it myself? Are all of the links simply recycled from one source, or are there multiple tests, surveys, studies or other sources available?

Other tips for fact checking and avoiding fake news

  1. When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab.  Use that second window to look up claims, author credentials and organizations that you come across in the article.
  2. Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. 
  3. As Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, "Constant Vigilance!"  Always be ready to fact check.
  4. Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while.  If you find yourself fooled by a fake news story, use your experience as a learning tool.

Source: KT Lowe, Indiana University East Library

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