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Fake News, Misleading News, Biased News: Evaluating Sources


Words of wisdom from the Steak-umm Twitter account: May 19 ,2020
how to understand the validity and biases of a source:
- research its reputation and credibility
- research its record for accuracy and controversy
- research its funding and associations
- research its editorial and vetting processes
- research its audience and critics
More information literacy from Steak-umm see this thread
Steak-umm also says... Always check your source's sources. Check your source's sources sources - Check it all: Everyone has an agenda.


Not our age group - but good reminders here:  Baker, Frank 2020, August 10).  Use print and TV Ads as informational texts.  MiddleWeb


News Literacy Project.  Breaking news checklist

Reid, Alastair.   Think 'sheep' before you share to avoid getting tricked by online misinformation.  FirstDraft.    December 9, 2019
Good online information? Or misinformation!? Check the Source, History, Evidence, Emotion, Pictures 

First Draft. Verification: All Resources (a list of resources dealing with photo manipulation, reverse image searches, visual verification clues- and more)  

Sites to Help You Evaluate News Sources   “Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.”  More about  AllSides’ bias ratings  (You can decide if you agree with their bias ratings!) 

AP FACTCHECK including Not Real News: A Look at What Didn't Happen This Week.

Caulfield, Mike   (2017, April 4)   How "News Literacy" Gets Web Misinformation Wrong. Provides some examples on how to think through the process of fact-checking. 

Caulfield, Mike. (2019, June 19).  SIFT: Evaluate information in a digital world


CrossCheck  Verification Project from First Draft News


CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Fact Checking, Verification

Dahmen, Nicole and Don Heider.  (2017, February 5) Want to resist the post-truth age? Learn to analyze photos like an expert would Read About at  Includes SciCheck

Fact-Checking Research. American Press Institute

FIrst Draft. Essential Guides: Tools and Tips for Better Online Journalism.
Inskeep, Steve. (2016, December 11). A finder's guide To facts.

The International Fact Checking Network  IFCN) The Poynter Institute

Journalist’s Resource. Tip Sheets Some tips sheets

Eight questions to ask when interpreting academic studies: A primer for media

Guide to critical thinking, research, data and theory: Overview for journalists

How do I evaluate the credibility of sources and determine which ones to use for a specific task?  

Research tip sheets: Lessons on online search techniques, reading studies, understanding data and methods

Media Bias Fact Check [ See methodology used to decide on bias for the news sites analyzed on this site: Are there any problems with the criteria? Are there additional questions you might ask about the sites that are rated?]  

On the Media Presents Breaking News Consumers Handbook.  See this excellent site on breaking news, fake news, health news, Islamophobia, migration, poverty in America, etc.  (Scroll down for the handbook)

Politico. Is It True? A Fake News Database.  Put in a link and let Politico help evaluate if the site is "information" or "disinformation."  

Politifact  Fact-checking politics 

Ravenscroft, E. (2016, November).  B. S. detector lets you know when you are reading a fake news source. [Blog post.]. 

Reilley, Mike.  (2019, March 25).  Fact-checking resources.  Journalist's Toolbox. 

Rosenstiel, T.  (2013, October 22).   Six questions that will tell you what media to trust.  American Press Institute.

Schulten, K.  (2015, October 2).  Skills and strategies: Fake news vs real news: Determining the reliability of sources.  New York Times

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors:'s updated guide to the internet's clickbaiting, news-faking, social media exploiting dark side. 2016.  

Verification Handbook  Designed for journalists and aid responders, this recent edition (2020) provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. Includes case studies on verification fundamentals, verifying images, verification tools, etc. Read online or download for free in various file formats. Also available for purchase. 

Zimdars, Melissa.  

Dr. Zimdars, a professor  of Communication at Merrimack College put up a list of sites that she considers problematic. Does she display a liberal bias? You can decide if that means she is incorrect in her assessments of news sources.  See Zimdars, M. (2016, November 18). .My ‘fake news list’ went viral. But made-up stories are only part of the problem. The Washington Post.  


Manipulated Photos

Bellingcat, the Home of Online investigations. Learn techniques to verify video content, photos, etc.

Crider, M. (2017, October 20).  How to spot fake stock photos (and attribute the right person).  How-To Greek

Douglas, N. (2017, August 8).  Fact-check that viral image in two clicks.  LifeHacker

Eveleth, R. (2012, December 13).How fake images change our memory and behaviour.  BBC.  

Farid, H. (n.d.)  Digital doctoring: Can we trust photographs?

Farid, H.  (2008, June 2).  Digital forensics: 5 ways to spot a fake photo.  Scientific American 


First Draft  Learn how to use free tools to track, source, and verify information you find online. Learn to use internet plugins and other tools to trace a video or photo's provenance, test for manipulation, etc.   See

Rath, R. (2014, August 15).  How to spot a fake photo on Twitter.  (Available via the Internet Archive)

Silverman, Craig. (2012, May 24).  Three ways to spot if an image has been manipulated. Poynter Institute.

Use Google Reverse Image Search or TinEye  ​to help spot fake photos 

Other Libraries' Guides

Some of the guides below include information on satirical sites. Even though satire is not purposefully "fake", some people can't distinguish between satire and hard news.

Adelphi  University.  Fake News and Alternative Fact:  A Guide to News Literacy:  Critical Thinking

Antioch  Information Literacy in the Era of Fake News

California State University Long Beach LIS. Fake News

DuQuesne University. Evaluating Information found in social media

FIU Libraries. Fake News: Read All About It  

Indiana University East. Fake News  Help! My news is fake!  How to fact-check like pro.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Fact Checking, Verification & Fake News 

Kent State University.   List of Satirical News Sites (including international satirical news sites). [Lists sites that are intentionally satirical rather than  “hard news” sites.]

Rivier University. Regina Library/ERC. Evaluating online information

Southern Connecticut State University. Butler Library.  Critical thinking: Conspiracy theories, fake news, hoaxes, urban legends, and moral panics.

State Libraries of Louisiana  Frauds and Fakes on the Internet [Includes parody sites such as “The Onion” and the “Borowitz Report.” Some people mistake parody for hard news]

Washington State University Libraries Fake/Satirical News  [Points out that is not the “real NBC” - ]


ALA Public Programs Office Fake News Library Roundup   "As librarians everywhere will attest, fake news is not new; fabricated stories have been presented as truth for centuries. But take a divided electorate and add a social media landscape where misinformation is shared with a click, and interest in the topic has soared..."  List of articles, library resources about fake news

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia... helpful, but not perfect!  

Cohen, Noah. (2021, November).   A war of one's own.  WIRED.  "Ksenia Coffman made it her mission to fix how Nazi history is told on Wikipedia. She soon faced a blitzkrieg of opposition"  


A research article about Wikipedia and disinformation: 

  • Kumar, Srijan, Robert West, and Jure Leskovec. "Disinformation on the Web: Impact, Characteristics, and Detection of Wikipedia Hoaxes." Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on World Wide Web. International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, 2016. [Available at]

Cognitive Biases

Benson, B.  (2016, September 1).  Cognitive bias cheat sheet.  [Blog post]. Retrieved from  Benson organized 175 cognitive biases described in Wikipedia articles by categorizing and giving an overview explanation for types of cognitive biases.  What is a cognitive bias? "A cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion. Individuals create their own "subjective social reality" from their perception of the input." Wikipedia

Critical Thinking

An infographic

An infographic on fake news from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions