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News and Newspapers

Evaluating news sources

Evaluating information is an important part of academic research as it enables the critiquing and reflecting of selected sources of information. If using newspapers then evaluating the information is essential. This involves the application of quality criteria (bias, authority, publication date) to sources, in order to assess information to be included.

The Credo Research Skills modules linked below provide tutorials, videos, and quizzes on evaluating information.

The following definitions of misleading and outright fake news have been adapted from the tags used at OpenSources, a database of information sources assessed for credibility.

Fake News

  • Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports


  • Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.

Extreme Bias

  • Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.

Conspiracy Theory

  • Sources that are well-known promoters of kooky conspiracy theories.

Rumor Mill

  • Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.

Junk Science

  • Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.

Hate News

  • Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.


  • Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.

How to Spot Fake News

See these tips from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Licensed under Creative Commons

Consider the source

  • Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission, and its contact info.

Read beyond

  • Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?

Check the author

  • Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?

Supporting sources?

  • Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.

Check the date

  • Reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events.

Is it a joke?

  • If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.

Check your biases

  • Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.

Ask the experts

  • Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.

Fake news poster


Download the IFLA poster on Spotting fake news (PDF 425.5 kB)

The resources below will help you critically evaluate the news you use and share.