News literacy - "[t]he ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports" (Stonybrook University's Center for News Literacy) - has become increasingly complex in past decades. Digital technologies have greatly influenced how news information is created and circulated. At the same time research shows that the United States has become more politically polarized, and this is reflected in much of the news that we encounter.
This guide includes resources to help with evaluating news sources and exploring the complexities of news information today. See the left-hand menu for various resource types.
Although misinformation and disinformation is not new, the rise of social media has increased its power and reach. Reflecting the rise of dubious "facts" Oxford Dictionaries named "post-truth" as its 2016 "Word of the Year." This guide is intended to help readers evaluate news sources for accuracy and identify bias.
Reasons that fake news has become a growing problem include:
These factors reflect a need to carefully evaluate news sources and where and how we get our news.
Glossary: The Language of News Literacy (Stony Brook University)
FAIR's Media Activism Toolkit (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting): "How-to" guides on identifying and challenging misleading or unfair news coverage
Tips on How to Spot Fake News (FactCheck.org):
Six Questions that Will Tell You Which Media to Trust (American Press Institute)
Key Concepts for Media Literacy (Media Smarts):
Allsides: Compares news coverage from left, right, and center sources
Truth, Truthiness, Triangulation: A News Literacy Toolkit for a Post-Truth World (School Library Journal)
Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers (Mike Caulfield, 2017): Free and excellent online book with strategies for evaluating and fact-checking online sources