We’ve taught students for years to evaluate all websites using the ABCs. It’s a good start, but news sources deserve an additional set of strategies!
Some basic guidelines:
- Do not use “aggregators,” sites that rehash other news articles. Follow the links to find the original article. (Examples: BuzzFeed, HuffPost)
- Go to the source: if an article mentions a study, find the study to see if it the article represents it accurately.
- Beware of sensationalism: headlines designed to provoke a strong emotional reaction.
- Triangulate: verify the information from multiple reliable sources.
- Check the url: .co and .lo are usually fake. Fake sites often also use something very close to a well-known URL just to trick you!
- Be aware of your own confirmation bias: the tendency to believe information that fits your opinion or world-view. Be critical of information you WANT to believe.
Media Bias / Fact Check lets you search a news site to see if it’s biased and / or factually inaccurate.
Watch this TedEd from Damon Brown on How to Choose Your News Sources.
School Library Journal Offers a comprehensive set of guidelines: Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world.