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ENC 1101 (Pridemore) - Fake News and Research: Is It Fake?

This is a guide for students doing research in Professor Pridemore's Comp I class on Osceola Campus.

How to Spot Fake News

Suggested Steps

Open another window or two and start googling.

  • Google the organization and find out who they are and whether they are highly regarded. Look for bias, controversies, and awards.
  • Google the author.

Quick look at the article.

  • Look for a date of publication. It is not uncommon for old articles to be presented as breaking news.
  • Consider whether your own biases are influencing you. For example, if you dislike a particular political figure you are predisposed to believe negative stories about that person and discount positive ones.

Deeper look at the article.

  • Does the headline truly reflect the story? Is it sensationalized?
  • What evidence does the article present to support its argument?

Consider a fact-checking site.

Tips For Identifying Fake News

Michigan State's Quick Check

  1. Check the website name and domain.  Fake sites often have a .co in the domain, ex.
  2. Spelling & Grammar.  Are there multiple errors or does it look professionally edited?
  3. Author Attribution: Is an author listed? Are there links to their profile and credentials? Anonymous articles generally should be avoided.
  4. Emotional Manipulation: Do you feel emotions by simply reading the headline?

Michigan State's Critical Thinking Check

  1. Statement of Ethics - Most reputable news sites have a Statement of Ethics.  View the New York Times Statement here
  2. Corrections - Again, reputable sites have a Corrections section or policy.  See USA Today's Corrections.
  3. Named Sources, Studies etc. - Does the article name a source or study for its information?
  4. Identify Editorials vs News - Reputable news sources clearly identify editorials, which as we know are just someone's opinion.
  5. Check A Reporter's Body of Work - Does the reporter have a large body of work? Do they generally cover the same topic(s), or do the topics seem to be random or erratic?
  6. Verify Information Using Multiple Sources: This is a good habit for all research.  Make sure you can find more than one reputable source reporting the same information.


News Outlet Bias

Image result for news sources bias chart