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News Literacy: Handout

Examine the value of credible news sources and learn strategies for identifying deceptive stories, including “fake news.”

Fake News & How to Identify It

Fake News and How to Identify It  Fake News: a form of misinformation including completely untrue stories, heavily biased propaganda, digitally altered images or video, satire believed to be true.Real News: reputable news organizations employ trained reporters and fact-checkers, verify sources and avoid making assumptions, correct mistakes when they’re made.  Know the Source: Always look carefully at the site that originally posted the story. Is it from a reputable news organization or reporter? Who funds or sponsors the site? What are their motivations?  Know the Content: Read the entire story, not just the headline. Is the story believable and logical? Does it refer to good sources? Is it straightforward news, or could it be an editorial, opinion, advertisement, satire, or hoax?  Know the Facts: Different news organizations should report the same basic facts. If you can’t corroborate these facts across several reputable outlets, there’s a good chance the story is fake. Check facts using,, and PolitiFact.  Know the Date: Old news stories can be re-posted on social media in an effort to get more clicks. Check the date and make sure the information is current, accurate, and relevant. Be sure to read widely and track stories over time, so that your knowledge is up to date.  Know Yourself: It’s easier to fall for a fake story if it confirms something you already believe. When you see a news story, consider whether your own beliefs are causing you to think or feel a particular way about the story. And try to keep your emotions in check.

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Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0

Citizen Literacy was created by Robert Detmering, Amber Willenborg, and Terri Holtze for University of Louisville Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.