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News: Finding News and Identifying "Fake" News

This guide features resources and tips to help you find news sources and identify "fake" news.

Fake News and Disinformation

Fake News and Disinformation           

What is Fake News?
According to the fact-checking website, Politifact, "Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word."

Types of Fake News

  • Alternative/Alternate Facts - A different interpretation of facts, usually derived from a misinterpretation of reports or by focusing only on a subset of the available information       
  • Clickbait - news that is promoted with dramatic or misleading headlines that do not reflect the content of the actual story       
  • Disinformation - False or inaccurate information that is created to be deliberately deceptive. 
  • Fake/Hoax News - news that is fabricated with the intention of misleading or confusing readers
  • Mimic Websites - fake news websites that mimic the look of trusted news sources in order to fool readers into thinking a story is real
  • Misinformation - Information that is false or inaccurate, often spread widely with others, regardless of an intent to deceive. 
  • Misleading News - news stories that report quotes, images, statistics out of context, some of these stories can be old stories that are re-reported with a new misleading headline
  • Satire - fake and ironic news stories that are intended to be funny or entertaining. Examples: The Onion, The Borowitz Report                                                             



Use the following steps to determine if a story or claim is “fake” news or disinformation:

  1. Has someone else already fact-checked this story?
    1. Look up the story on a fact-checking site such as Snopes or Politifact
    2. Visit the comments. Another reader may have already debunked the story. Of course, random internet commenters won’t always be right, but they may provide leads for your further investigation.
    3. What do other media outlets have to say about the site where you found the story? An easy way to search for this is by Googling the name or URL of the site followed by –site: and the URL. For example, if you want information about the Wall Street Journal that is not posted on its own website, try Googling Wall Street Journal –
  2. Where did the story originate?
    1. Does the story include a link, citation, or details you can use to find the source of the information? Many media outlets syndicate or adapt stories from other places. Get as close as you can to the original source.
  3. What do other sources have to say about the story?
    1. Are other media outlets reporting on this story? Does their information affirm or conflict with what you read?

Adapted from Mike Caulfield’s web literacy model at





Websites to Help Debunk Fake News

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