How can I tell if a news source is legit or not?

Data Literacy Uncertainty and Misinformation

A: Follow five steps for vetting news sources from The News Literacy Project!

TL:DR; Five steps include-web search the source, look for reporting standards, check for transparency, see how errors are handled, read a few news stories from that source.

It can feel tricky to determine whether something you read online is from a legitimate and credible news source. Luckily, The News Literacy Project (who Those Nerdy Girls love), has come out with 5 quick steps for taking stock of whether a news source is legit.

They recommend the following (see more info in graphic below):

1. Do a quick web search of the name of the news source.
2. Look for reporting standards spelled out on their web page.
3. Check for transparency about who they are how they are funded.
4. Examine how errors in reporting are handled when they are made.
5. Assess a few pieces of news coverage by that source.

Some questions they suggest you ask yourself as you do this are:

If you do a web search of the news source, what has been said about it by fact-checking groups and other well-established, credible news outlets? Any red flags come up?

If you visit the news sourceā€™s web page, can you find statements about their ethical principles related to accuracy and fairness? Can you find information about who owns or funds the news organization?

If you review past stories by this organization, is it clear that they address errors in reporting when they are made? Do you see consistent solid reporting by reputable journalists (hint: look up the authors listed in the story byline)?

Pausing and running through these steps is good practice for all of us, especially before sharing a news story from a new source!

For more information about how to run through these 5 steps, read through the graphic below or check out the full article from The News Literacy Project.

To assess your skills at vetting credible news sources, take a quiz here.

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