Types of News
Fake News and news bias are not new, but they seem to impact us more than ever before, with the proliferation of self-publishing, and with the creation of companies set-up for the purpose of influencing political opinion. Here are some definitions of different types of news:
  • Fake News: Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports
  • Satire: 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.
  • Junk Science: Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.
  • Clickbait: Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.
  • Credible: Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).
For more types of news sources, including a comprehenisve list of websites categorized by type, click on the following link for Open Sources project that classifies websites for credibility by  Melissa Zimdarfrom whom this material was borrowed.
Determining Political Bias


Keep in mind that it is natural for humans to have opinions or biases. But good journalists try to minimize this in their writing, or to be transparent in their perspective. Just because something is left-learning or right-learning, does not automatically make it Fake News with no credibility or validity, but it is important to learn to recognize these perspectives. The above image from Vanessa Otero shows the political spectrum of some popular news sources. Although a useful tool, this should not replace your own critical thinking or analysis, as not all people are in agreement on the classification of these resources. Even some articles in "dubious" sources may be well cited and researched, even if others are not.

Click here to access the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics, or from the Associated Press (AP).

 
Library News Resources
Simply follow these links for news resources through Oberlin College Libraries:

Current News
Historical News
College Sources
Town Sources
Research help
Fact-Checking
Avoid Fake News!
Check your source: Is it a .com? .gov? .edu? .org? or possibly a .co.uk (for British sources)? Many Fake News sources use extensions that look almost like valid one, such as .com.co.
Use the CRAAP Test:  Check for Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority , and Purpose. Click here to access the CRAAP test worksheet.
Check Article Claims: Can you validate them using other, reputable, sources?
Question Everything: Who wrote the article, what are their credentials, do they have a personal or professional stake in the subject? Are there ads on the site? Is it from a think tank or other group that has a stake in influencing public opinion?
Check links in the article: Do they lead to validating information?
Resources: Finding Balance and Checking Fa
Feeling overwhelmed by the inundation of news, much of it seeming dire? A hallmark of fake news it that it is designed to elicit the emotions. These resources are valuable tools in helping you find a balanced perspective, and in checking facts. A balanced perspective, and reading articles from different sources, and different perspectives, is also a key strategy in determining the veracity of an issue.

FactCheck.org  -  A non-profit, non-partisan site that acts as a consumer advocate for voters. Its aim is to reduce confusion and deception in U.S. Politics. It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Pew Research Center - A nonpartisan fact tank that provides information on the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world.
PolitiFact.com - A Pulitzer Prize winning site that is a project of the St. Petersburg Times. It is designed to help you find the truth in poitics.
ProCon.org - ProCon.org promotes critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting research on controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format.
ProPublica -A Pulitzer Prize winning independent, nonprofit newsroom that does investigative journalism in the public interest.
VoteSmart.org - A non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States.
Snopes.com- Started in the 90s, Snopes.com is perhaps the most popular website for looking up urban legends, but they also fact check misinformation of all kinds.
Washington Post Fact Checker- An ongoing column in the Washington Post, started in 2007, specializing in political information.
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