Evaluating the News

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:

  1. Do not use “aggregators,” sites that rehash other news articles. Follow the links to find the original article. (Examples: BuzzFeed, HuffPost)
  2. Go to the source: if an article mentions a study, find the study to see if it the article represents it accurately.
  3. Beware of sensationalism: headlines designed to provoke a strong emotional reaction.
  4. Triangulate: verify the information from multiple reliable sources.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

You can also search FactCheck.org to check on political stories and Snopes for popular stories and hoaxes.

Want more?

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.