Do you sometimes receive "news" via email, facebook or twitter that you just can't quite believe? Sometimes I worry if young people (or older people!) are getting the story straight. You know when you play telephone and the story just keeps getting more and more convoluted as it makes its way round the circle? It seems more and more that the information we receive on the internet is trickling down to us in a similar fashion. So, what's my point? My point is that we don't know what or who to believe anymore. Are you familiar with the Pig Rescues Goat video?
To begin with, make your librarians happy and check out the following sites to fact-check what you read:
- The Washington Post Intersect | What Was Fake on the Internet This Week
- Gizmodo | Six Easy Ways to Tell if That Viral Story Is a Hoax
Last week on the N.Y. Times Learning blog they covered this very topic.
Below you will find the article from the link:
Yours in truth,
A Pesky Librarian
Tools and Strategies: How to Tell Fake News From Real News
These stories all went viral on social media, but if you click the links, you’ll see all of them turned out to be hoaxes. And yet, sometimes something that sounds fake — like this story about West Point cadets who “weaponized” a pillow fight — isn’t.
How can you tell? Before you hit “share,” what questions should you ask?
First, suggests Chad Lorenz in a piece for Slate that explores the need for news literacy curriculums, consider the places from which you routinely get information:
Today a tour through your social media news feed might take you to Mental Floss, Dadaviz, Colossal, Cracked,Dangerous Minds, Uproxx. How is a reader to know what from this assortment of blogs and webzines can be trusted? What about a site like Inquisitr? (Approach with caution.) What about Before It’s News? (Trick question: That one is definitely not to be trusted.) While it might seem easy to distinguish real news from fake news, many people, including experienced journalists,get suckered more often than you would think. Students, as heavy users of social media, where fake news and hoaxes proliferate, should think about their own responsibility to share reliable information and not perpetuate misinformation.
Once you’ve done that, you might next consult the Newseum’s popular Believe It Or Not? lesson plan that walks teachers and students through basic news literacy. Students learn to ask these six “consumer questions” when vetting a story:
- Who made this?
- How was this made?
- Why was this made?
- When was this made?
- What is this missing?
- Where do I go from here?
Another method for questioning sources of information is the mnemonic the students at Intermediate School 303 in Coney Island use: IMVAIN.
- Independent sources are preferable to self-interested sources.
- Multiple sources are preferable to a report based on a single source.
- Sources who Verify or provide verifiable information are preferable to those who merely assert.
- Authoritative and/or Informed sources are preferable to sources who are uninformed or lack authoritative background.
- Named sources are better than anonymous ones.
Watch a video and learn more about how they use this technique, from the Center for News Literacy, here, then try it yourself with this checklist.
Finally, here are some guidelines specifically about breaking news from NPR’s On The Media: