When reading a news article, consider the following:
1. What kind of article is it?
News Story- a fact-based story for print or broadcast media about a person, place or event answering the five W questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. A news story is written in the upside down-pyramid style, giving the most important information first with additional details later.
Editorial-A brief article written by an editor that expresses a newspaper's or publishing house's own views and policies on a current issue.
If written by an outsider it normally carries a disclaimer saying the article does not necessarily reflects the publisher's official views.
Opinion - an article in which the writer expresses their personal opinion, typically one which is controversial or provocative, about a particular issue or item of news.
Advertisement -a paid, public communication about causes, goods, services, ideas, organizations, people, or places designed to inform or motivate.
2. What is the main point of the story?
Does the headline and first paragraph support the main point of the story? Has the story answered the questions of Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Unreliable news sources may use sensational headlines to get "cllcks"
Unknown, unanswered, or unclear information should be acknowledged in the article
Other sides (Opposing viewpoints) should be given a chance to present their argument
Breaking stories are often incomplete or inaccurate due to deadlines, and should be updated as information becomes available
3. What evidence supports the main point of the story?
What evidence has verified or left unverified?
How was it verified
Is the evidence direct or indirect
Note: Evidence is not the same as a source. Evidence is the proof offered by the source.a source offers. Evidence that is verified has been checked and corroborated by reliable methods.
4. What kind of sources are cited in the article?
A source is the person, report, or data being quoted
It should be disclosed whether sources are named or unnamed.
Are there multiple sources reporting the same thing?
Are they reliable sources
Are the close to the event or issue?
Look at the producer of the information
Do they have a connection to the events? Or a reason to report in a biased manner?
Does the journalist (reporter, news source) make their work transparent?
Do the editor(s), publishers and advertising department work together?
Do they have a code of ethics?
Finding out should be easy if it is a reputable source
Potential conflicts of interest or known associations should be stated up front in an article
Funding and ownership of the media production should be publicly stated or available
Rosenstiel, Tom. “Six Questions That Will Tell You What Media to Trust.” American Press Institute, 23 Oct. 2013, www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/six-critical-questions-can-use-evaluate-media-content/.
Games and Quizzes
Now that you know more about Fake News you can test your skills:
Fact-checking websites can help you investigate claims to help you determine whether what you hear or read is true. These resources can help you determine the legitimacy of a claim, but even fact-checking websites should be examined critically.