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Evaluating Your Sources

Tutorial for evaluating source material

How to spot fake news: Consider the source; click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info. Read beyond; headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story? Check the author; Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real? Supporting Sources; Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story. Check the date. Reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure. Check your biases; Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement. Ask the experts; ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Fake News is REAL. Read more on this Research Starter.

Can you identify "fake news" on social media platforms? Some recommendations can be found in the following article:


Just because you see it, doesn't mean you should believe! Today's technology has made it easy to make fake images and video seem remarkably real. Comparing to other sources is always useful. 

It's easier to alter images and video than you think! Consider, as an example, Deepfake technology, which allows the merging of images into video content to create "evidence" for events that never occurred. 



Read more:

Browser extensions for Chrome, like Get Surf Safe, can detect some fake resources for you while you research.

Need to check an image to make sure it's a true original? We recommend the following website:


A reputable news source will explicitly state its standards for reporting. If the editorial policy is not listed on a site, consider that it may not be providing you with reliable information. 

When evaluating an online news source, consider the Five Principles of Ethical Journalism created by the Ethical Journalism Network.

Some examples of policies and standards clearly posted on a publication's website include:

An accountable resource will issue corrections for errors and inaccuracies in its publication.