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Finding news & newspapers: Evaluating News

Barr Smith Library news and newspaper resources.

Fact checking websites

Not sure if something you've seen or read is true? Fact checking websites now exist to help you determine what is truth and what is fake news.

Fake news

Did you hear these...

  • that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump as president during the US Election?
  • the endless reports of celebrity deaths including Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone and Morgan Freeman?
  • what about the recent claims that Australia itself is not real?

These are all examples of fake news.

Wikipedia describes fake news as 'the deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via the traditional print, broadcasting news media, or via internet-based social media'.

Remember with news, like with all other information, just because something has been written or broadcast doesn't make it true. It's important to check the accuracy of news stories rather than just relying on them as fact.

Fake news can be in the form of:

  • online news
  • print news
  • Tweets, Facebook posts or blogs
  • websites
  • podcasts
  • YouTube videos
Bias The favouring of one side, viewpoint, argument, or disposition over another. Bias within journalism is sometimes a conscious and deliberate approach.
Clickbait Attention-grabbing headlines in social media: a marketing technique designed to attract click-throughs and shares.
Fake news Fake news websites, deliberately publish  hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation to drive web traffic inflamed by social media.
Filter bubble A phenomenon whereby the ideological perspectives of internet users are reinforced as a result of the selective algorithmic tailoring of search engine results to individual users (as reflected in recorded data such as search history, click data, and location).
Hoax Something intended to deceive or defraud; deliberately fabricated to mask the truth.
Junk science  Untested or unproven theories when presented as scientific fact.
Mainstream media A broad term covering any form of media produced or distributed commercially, as part of a profit-seeking industrial enterprise, or as a publicly and/or state-funded operation. Examples include Channel 7, 9 and 10 and The Advertiser.
Post truth

A situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs rather than one based on facts (Cambridge dictionary).

Primary source First-hand historical evidence or an original account of an event, esp. used as research material.
Satire A category of media which is used to deflate, ridicule, and censure the perceived folly or immorality of what is represented. Includes irony, sarcasm, wit, caricature, exaggeration, distortion, and parody.
Secondary source

A work that summarises, analyses, interprets or comments on one or more primary sources. Examples include books or magazine articles).

Sensationalism The presentation of stories in a way that is intended to provoke public interest or excitement, at the expense of accuracy.
Urban legend Also known as a popular legend or urban myth. An unverifiable story, widely recounted as if true, which typically depicts outlandish or sensational happenings in a plausible contemporary setting.
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Tips for evaluating news

Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) (https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174)

The Conversation

Read articles about fake news published on The Conversation website.