By Erin Creighton and Griff Ashooh
In an era of Fake News, Deepfakes, and general misinformation, it can be difficult to know whom to trust and how to evaluate information. We’ve gathered together some trusted websites and quick tips for evaluating information. Remember, you can always contact the library staff for more help.
Quick Tips for Evaluating Information
- If the news story you’re reading doesn’t name any sources, that’s a red flag that the information isn’t verified and may not be credible.
- Never rely on a single source. If you read or hear news coverage that seems unbelievable, don’t assume it’s true until you find two additional independent, credible news sources that corroborate it.
- Know that breaking news stories are incomplete and almost always include incorrect information. Continue to follow coverage over time to get the fullest, most accurate reporting.
For more in-depth information on evaluating information, check out Fact Finder: Your Foolproof Guide to Media Literacy on Newseum.org and NewseumEd for lessons, digital artifacts, and tools for all ages, from kindergarten through adults.
News for Children
Does your child need help navigating the Web for news? It’s hard knowing which websites to point them to for up-to-date news information that is age appropriate. Check out these sites, and you won’t be disappointed:
- DOGO News
- News Literacy Project - The News Literacy Project is a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan, independent programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the Digital Age.
- Scholastic News for Kids
- Smithsonian TweenTribune
Local & State News
Did you read that story on Facebook about a local event but didn’t know whether or not it was true? Start by checking some local news sites. Some great places to begin include:
- Alexandria Times
- Campus Newspapers - Newspaper Articles - UMW Libraries at the University of Mary Washington
- Fredericksburg.com - powered by the Free Lance-Star newspaper
- Richmond Times-Dispatch
- VPM – “Virginia's Home for Public Media” | VPM
- WTOP | “Washington's Top News”
If the news story you’re interested in is of national importance, news sources that provide general and in-depth national coverage are your best first resource. Start your search for national information by using a not-for-profit news source such as:
If you’re looking for information on a story happening internationally, start first with a news source that is local to the story. For example, if you want to learn more about something happening in Europe, start with a European newspaper. General news sources for international coverage include:
Check Your Bias
As part of evaluating news reports, consider your own beliefs, and if they could affect your judgments, and be aware of your own assumptions. Also, consider the source(s) of the news you're reading and its author(s), if listed. Search the news website to discover its mission, and do a quick search on the author(s) to see if they appear to be credible. (Suggestions adapted from an IFLA infographic.)
Check out AllSides.com to see how the same story is being reported by different sources, as well as these other fact-checking websites:
Titles recommended by CRRL Adult Services and Youth Services staff to explore the issue of separating fake information from reliable resources.