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The Fake News Antidote: Fact Checking

People today, including children, are swimming in a sea of media messages. Thousands of them coming at them day after day. Some of these stories are true, some are not.

A key reading skill in today’s world is the ability to understand where information is coming from, determine if a source is reliable, and to check, double check and triple check information.

Five Questions for Fake News Detection

The News Literacy Project provides a list of ten questions to assess the likelihood that information is fake news. Below are five of those questions. To see all ten, visit

1. Gauge your emotional reaction:
Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true? False?

2. Consider the headline or main message:
a. Does it use excessive punctuation (!!!) or ALL CAPS for emphasis?
b. Does it make a claim about containing a secret or telling you something that “the media” doesn’t want you to know?

3. Consider the source of the information:
a. Is it a well-known source?
b. Is there a byline (an author’s name) attached to this piece?
c. Go to the website’s “About” section: Does the site describe itself as a “fantasy news” or “satirical news” site?
d. Does the person or organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
e. Does the “contact us” section include an email address that matches the domain (not a Gmail or Yahoo email address)?
f. Does a quick search for the name of the website raise any suspicions?

4. Does the example you’re evaluating have a current date on it?

5. Does the example cite a variety of sources, including official and expert sources? Does the information this example provides appear in reports from (other) news outlets?

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