Evaluate Sources of News & Information

Critical thinking—and fighting fake news— are key skills in media and information literacy. Teaching people how to be better consumers of information is a fundamental task at the heart of the library profession. Have questions about something you heard or read? Ask us anything »

Hands typing on keyboard

Is it true? Follow eight simple steps

  1. Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission, and its contact info.
  2. Read beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
  3. Check the author: Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they a real person?
  4. Supporting sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
  5. Check the date: Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
  6. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
  7. Check your biases: Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.
  8. Ask the experts: Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Source: the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

Why should I verify that image before sharing?

Because “this trick can help you spot scams, fake news, and people stealing your photos,” according to this CNet article.

Additional resources

  • Deepfakes and national security: This Congressional Research Service article talks about what deepfakes are, how to spot them, and how government bodies are trying to combat ones that may interfere with national security. 
  • PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website
  • Factcheck.orgA project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
  • Snopes.com: The long-standing debunking website