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Evaluating News Resources: Steps for Evaluating the News

General Guidelines for evaluating news sources, detecting fake news, identifying digital disinformation and avoiding propaganda

Evaluating News Sources

Evaluating News Sources 


Currency: Is this a recent article? Many articles shared on social media are older articles that may relate to current events. If the article is not recent, the claims may no longer be relevant or have been proven wrong.

Relevance: Is the article relevant? While some articles may appear to be addressing a current topic, you must read past the headline and determine the relevancy of the content for your purposes.

Authority: Who is the author? Has the author written other articles on the same or similar topic? What are the author's credentials? What is the domain of the website? Many websites these days mimic the legitimate source, take the time to look carefully. Is the source a blog or a news source? Is the website satirical or a hoax?

Accuracy: Is this article from an unbiased source? Can the content be verified by multiple sources? If it appears in only one publication with no links to sources, it is very likely to be inaccurate. This is particularly important with images that are shared widely across social media.

Purpose: Does this article provoke an emotional response? The intent of a valid news sources is to inform. While an emotional response to specific information is to be expected, inaccurate news articles are often written for the sole purpose of provoking anger, outrage, fear, happiness, excitement or confirmation of ones' own beliefs.

Developed by: Meriam Library, California State University           

Check the Source. Confirm the Facts


Before you Share


A bit about CLICKBAIT. Everytime a story is clicked on, money is made. It doesn't matter if it is accurate or authoritative- YOU must determine those qualities before you share or click.

VERIFY: Are there links to other sources to back up the facts? Does the information appear on other news sites? Can you find the original source of a story or image shared widely on social media? 

EMOTION: What emoji does it make you want to use. Fake news is designed specifically for an emotional response. Check your echo chamber and your confirmation bias.

AUTHORS: Google the author. What else have the written? Are they expert or an authority? Who is paying them?

SOURCE: Check the URL. What is the source's intent? Ads? Links to other sources? Reverse Google search images that accompany the article.