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Internet News, Fact-Checking, & Critical Thinking

Journalism and library resources

Why this Guide?

We are bombarded with news and information every day.  What skills do you need to evaluate what you find on the internet? How do you distinguish the good from the bad, what is biased, misleading, distorted, or outright false?  How do journalists handle this issue? How do you evaluate how much privacy you have on the web?

This guide provides a variety of journalism and library resources to help you become a more savvy and critically-informed online news consumer.

Techniques for Evaluating the Web

Standard for Journalists

VIA - Verification, Independence, and Accountability

"Does this news report verify its statements? (Does the reporter, in other words, open the freezer?) Has this person or organization created a report free of entanglements or agendas? Does the editor or producer stand by the accuracy of the report and hold accountable whatever sources are quoted?" --Renée Loth "What's Black and White and Retweeted All Over? Teaching News Literacy in the Digital Age."

Non-partisan Fact Checking Sites

Fake News

Noah Tavlin, TED-Ed

Also see How to Choose Your News (Damon Brown, TED-Ed)

Checking Images

Check whether an image has been used before on the internet and where. Is that image from a suspicious news source one that was stolen from elsewhere on the web and changed? Was the image from a past or different event altogether? You can even use a reverse image search for a profile photo to see if it might be a fake account.  Note: just because you don't find a match doesn't mean the image isn't on the web.  No search tool is perfect or definitive.

Social Media & Extremism

Your Privacy on the Web

Statistics / Survey Findings

Recommended Books

UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation

Written by FactCheck.org founders, it reveals the warning signs of spin, hype, and bogus news; common tricks used to deceive us; how to find trustworthy and objective sources of information.

Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload

"Reveals the craft that has been used in newsrooms by the very best journalists for getting at the truth."  Discusses verification, sources, evidence, and ways of knowing.

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You

"The hidden rise of personalization on the Internet is controlling--and limiting--the information we consume. In 2009, Google began customizing its search results. Instead of giving you the most broadly popular result, Google now tries to predict what you are most likely to click on..." Also see his TED talk online.

A Field Guide to Lies: critical thinking in the information age

"Shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports...How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information?" Levitin discusses statistical information and faulty arguments.

Additional Resources

Ask a Midd Librarian