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Curtis Corner Middle School Library: Fake News & Evaluating Resources

Fake News & Evaluating Resources

Why Fake News Is News

Fake News has really been around since people have been trying to influence others in writing (including some of American history), but right now there is a "perfect storm" because

False News Fake News
  • Bad reporting
  • Journalists failing to uphold standards such as fact checking or "embellishing" the truth
  • The result of 2 current challenges in the news:
    • Legitimate news agencies of "hard news" are trying to compete in an "info-tainiment world"
    • The 24 hour/7 day a week news cycle does not always allow for fact checking

A deliberate effort by the writer to mislead

Can be done by

  • recognized journalists
  • people in the business of fake news
  • political advocates


Brian Williams, former NBC news anchor, falsely reported that he was under fire during the Iraq War.  He was eventually fired.  

The Top Fake News Stories of 2017

NPR: 25 Million Votes For Clinton ‘Completely Fake’ – She Lost Popular Vote


Illegal Immigrants Started California Fires

Is it fake news?  False news?  or If you disagree with a news report, can you just throw out the term False News and dismiss it?  

Trump Calls CNN ‘Fake News’

"ABC News to Face South Dakota Jury over 'Pink Slime' Story"


A Couple of Techniques for Identifying Fake News


Try these articles: 



Currency -

o How recent is the information?

o How recently has the website been updated?

o Is it current enough for your topic?

Reliability -

o What kind of information is included in the resource?

o Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is is balanced?

o Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority -

o Who is the creator or author?

o What are the credentials?

o Who is the published or sponsor?

o Are they reputable?

o What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?

o Are there advertisements on the website?

Purpose/Point of View -

o Is this fact or opinion?

o Is it biased?

o Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?





Washington Post recommendations:

Read articles before sharing on social media

Determine if the source is a legitimate website

Check the "Contact Us" page


Check the byline, try Googling the reporter's name


Check quotes and sources


Check if sponsored


Look at the ads. Do they look like ads for a legitimate news sources?


Melissa Zimdar's recommendations (professor of media at Merrimack College)

Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo


Avoid (


Check to see if mainstream sites are carrying the story


Check for attribution throughout. Avoid articles with "people say"


Always check the "About Us" section


Check to see if it a news article or a blog post (blog posts are more often opinion)


Watch for poor grammar and sentence structure


Investigate if the story makes you really angry (Pizzagate)



*Coined by Howard Rheingold, a media literacy expert and modified from 

Kerrer, Tony. "The Crap Test." The CRAP Test - Work Literacy. Aggregate, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Fact-checking Websites: Has someone else already researched the story?

Ask monitors statements made by political leaders for accuracy 

Snopes : Debunks Urban Legends and rumors

Washington Post Factchecker

Politifact:  check on political matters :  How does money influence the government and elections? 

Truth or :  Great for checking on those Internet rumors


What is the source?  How credible is it considered?

OpenSources :  List created by Merrimack College professor Melissa Zimdars (know that conservative news sources feel that this list is controversial)

Researching Photos: Where did the photo with the article really come from?  

TinEye Reverse Image Search

Image Search on Google

Who is linking to this website? (this has a daily limit for the number of free searches, so use wisely!)

URLs:  Research who owns the domain

ICann WhoIs  helps you to figure out who may have written the information on a website

Is this fake? or funny?     

The Onion 

The Filter Bubble 

Because they are analyzing your clicks, social media and Google can create an “echo chamber” where you are only hearing or seeing news that agrees with your opinions.  This filter bubble may have played a role in Clinton’s political base not realizing that her campaign was in trouble and the shock over Trump's victory.

What is the Filter Bubble?  

Check out this Ted Talk by Eli Pariser who coined the phrase.

How do you combat the Filter Bubble?  

Read multiple sources on the same news item from :

Seek out ideas that BOTH AGREE and DISAGREE with your own beliefs.  Use this info-graphic to help you (click to make it bigger):

Even this graphic was cause for debate as conservative groups claimed that it was biased and proposed an info-graphic of their own.  

Sample news headlines with VERY different bias.  In this case, pictures really say as much as the words:


Fake news checks will often suggest that you try to find the same story in a reputable news source.  

What ARE some reputable news sources????

BBC News

Reuters News Agency 

Washington Post

New York Times

Remember though, even reputable news agencies will sometimes get the story wrong!!  

Hertz, Mary Beth. "Battling Fake News in the Classroom." Edutopia. N.p., 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Kerrer, Tony. "The Crap Test." The CRAP Test - Work Literacy. Aggregate, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Luhtalla, Michelle. “Media Literacy: A Crash Course in 60 Minutes.”, MackinVIA, 22 Feb. 2017, Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Baker, Frank, Gary Price, Mike Ribble, and Damaso Reye. "Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News." Interview by Joyce Valenezia. Video blog post. School Library Journal. N.p., 16 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.