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Elevate Your News Evaluation

Visit the library's spring 2017 exhibit on the 2nd floor.

Instructional Resources

Avoiding Fake News (UC Merced Library)

Through this lesson, students will corroborate information to determine source credibility and identify characteristics of credible sources.

Evaluating News Articles (UC Merced Library)

Through this jigsaw activity, students will assess an article's accuracy and bias based on a variety of factors.  They will discover the importance of corroborating information, by comparing three articles in small groups, and recognize that they need to consider many factors when evaluating news articles.

Evaluating Claims: Facebook Edition (@ Community of Online Research Assignments)

This lesson has students use credible sources to support or debunk a claim (pseudoscientific claim or conspiracy theory).  Students are required to explain why the sources they are using are credible.  Details available at CORA site.

Evaluating News Sites: Credible or Clickbait? (@ Community of Online Research Assignments)

Students compare two articles, one from Reuters and another from BiPartisan Review, reporting on the same event.  They compare how the content is presented in order to determine its credibility.  Details available at CORA site.

Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources (George Mason University)
This web pages offers questions to ask when evaluating the credibility of online sources.  It also explains how to deconstruct a URL.

9 Questions to Help you Evaluate the Credibility of News Sources (Poytner)
Krueger outlines questions to ask while evaluating news.  Poytner has additional resources about the code of professional journalists.

Reader's Guide (New York Times)
The Reader's Guide explains the paper's sections and article types.  This can provide students with familiarity with news publications and the variety of content that may be offered with different purposes.

Pew Research Center - Journalism & Media
See Media and News for regular reporting on news consumption in the United States as well as changes in the new industry.  The Modern News Consumer: News attitudes and practices in the digital era (July 2016) is an insightful report with topics like "Pathways to News" and "Loyalty and Source Attention".

Article Comparison

Red Feed, Blue Feed (Wall Street Journal)

This site visually displays news posts on selected topics (ISIS, immigration etc.) from two opposite perspectives.  WSJ created these feeds based on a 2015 study by Facebook researchers.  To display these very conservatively aligned (red) and very liberally aligned (blue) feeds, posts have been shared 100+ times by FB users, and the source has more than 100,000 followers. *The purpose of this site is to show differing viewpoints side by side.  The feed do not represent actual feeds; users, identified as very X aligned, could have a greater diversity of views in their personal feeds.  See the Methodology for details.

Trust Project (Santa Clara University)

“The Trust Project explores how journalism can stand out from the chaotic crowd and signal its trustworthiness.”  Part of the project has involved identifying indicators of trust for news through asking the public what they value about the news and working with editors from news organizations.  Those involved in the project would like to use technology to help readers and news distribution platforms (e.g. social media) to identify accurate, quality, and ethical news. See Trust Project Summit Report (PDF) pg. 38 for a prototype of user-interface prototypes with trust indicators.  The indicators can be useful criteria for news evaluation when working with students.  The Trust Project site also includes information on journalism ethics.

Climate Feedback (UC Merced, Center for Climate Communications)

More than 200 scientists from around the world are annotating news articles on climate change and rating them for accuracy and credibility at The goal is to help readers identify trustworthy sources of information, promote critical thinking and challenge misinformation.  You can view overall rating and summaries or view scientistists' annotations in context.  Annotations are made using

Media Bias Fact Check (MBFC News)

This independent online media outlet classifies news sources into five categories: least biased, left-center bias, right-center bias, left bias and right bias.  At Search Sources, type in a news publication, e.g. CNN, to learn more about its reporting and bias.  MBFC explains how it determines bias in its Methodology section.


This is an interactive news and educational site with a bias rating system intended to help news consumers see and understand different perspectives.  Under News, view a current news topic with reporting from center, left and right leaning news sources.  AllSides also classifies news sources into categories: center, lean left bias, lean right bias, left bias and right bias. AllSides determines its bias ratings through blind surveys, third party data, and community feedback.


Wikipedia provides background information on many news sources.  After finding a Wikipedia entry about a specific source, e.g. The Washington Post, look for sections on the history, political stance or controversies associated with the news source.  It is also helpful to look at the linked references cited at the bottom of the entry.

“About” the Source

A new source’s own site or publication often offers an About section.  Visit this section for information about the publication and the perspective it brings.  Some news sources may be forthcoming about their focus and intent.

News Source Spectrum

Otero, Vanessa. “The Reasoning and Methodology Behind the Chart.” All Generalizations are False.  19 Dec. 2016,  See Oteros' website for her News Quality chart graphic and blank versions of the News Quality chart for instructional purposes.  See more about the news source spectrum on this guide.

Pew Research Center - Journalism & Media

See Media and News for regular reporting on news consumption in the United States as well as changes in the new industry.  The Modern News Consumer: News attitudes and practices in the digital era (July 2016) is an insightful report with topics like "Pathways to News" and "Loyalty and Source Attention".

How to Fact Check Fact News Sites (Channel 4 News)

This 2 minute video shares practical ways to check that a news story is not fake.  The three tips revolve around checking the sources and its writers, checking quotes for original attribution, and ensuring images are associated with a story through a reverse image search. (A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center)

In "How to Spot Fake News" Kiely and Robertson give advice for evaluating for spotting fake news and give examples that could be used in a classroom for discussion and analysis.

Fake News Resource Guide (Indiana University East Campus Library)

This library guide provides information for students on the topic of fake news.  Instructors may find value in this guide as the Resources tab includes articles about “fake news in the news”, known fake sites, and fact checking links. The Check Your Own Claims! tab offers claims for students to examine.

The News Literacy Project (NLP)

A nonpartisan nonprofit working with educators and journalists to provides middle and high school “students with the essential skills they need to become smart, active consumers of news and information and engaged, informed citizens.”  See Checkology, a virtual classroom experience to build students news literacy. Checkology offers basic and premium access.

NLP and Facing History and Ourselves co-created a unit on the role of journalism in a democratic society called “Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital Age”.  The project includes learning goals, and 11 lessons each with materials and activities.

Making Sense of the News: News Literacy Lessons for Digital Citizens

A six-week online course on distinguishing fake news from reliable information. Offered through Coursera starting May 2017.  Some content can be audited but there is a fee to complete the course.  Created by the University of Hong Kon and The State University of New York (Stony Brook University School of Journalism.)

News Literacy Curriculum for Educators (American Press Institute)

Includes materials and lesson plans for educators though the focus is on middle and high school students.