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Fake News

Some thoughts and tips on how to respond to fake news, with an emphasis on critical thinking.

Our Approach to Critical News Literacy

To Information Literacy Librarians, Fake News as a literacy problem is a matter of evaluating sources. Here are some things we have learned about teaching the evaluation of sources that can be applied to purported news sources.

  • A checklist of easily identifiable markers for Fake News can be a quick way to get students to take a closer look at what they are about to read, but can also offer limited challenge if the checklist can be applied with little thought.
  • Questions about audience, author, publisher/poster, and use/purpose of the material can promote reflection about the sources, and the discourses/communities that any one news item is a part of. This is the intent of our page of questions in this guide.
  • Critical reading using ones own judgment is the ultimate goal, but this requires practice to develop judgment, an accumulation of context, and exercise in rational thinking. No one lesson or activity will bring a student or any one of us to this point, but we can make it our business to offer and participate in continuing opportunities for this growth.

A Model for Teaching and Learning News Literacy

Resources for Teaching News Literacy

Vanessa Otero's Media Maps

Vanessa Otero is a patent attorney in Colorado. Back before the 2016 Election she created a chart for classifying news sites according to their partisan bias and their journalistic quality or credibility. Her chart suddenly received a lot of attention in the rising controversy over fake news after the election and so she updated it and reposted her original comments on December 12, 2016. The chart below is from that post.

Those who comment on her post continue to argue with her placement of specific sources and to suggest the addition of others. Her response is generally to urge readers to make the chart their own. Go ahead and add to it, or move things around. To help you with this, she also produced a blank version (see below) so you can start from scratch. By the way, this was an idea for using the chart in class that came up in the Roundtable Discussion at Winter Breakout.

Otero's full discussion about creating the chart and high quality downloads of the populated and blank versions are available on her blog, All Generalizations are False.

news sites arranged by bias and credibility

The blank version

blank matrix of bias and credibility

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