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Media Literacy in a Fake News World

A research guide compiling online and print resources and organizations that promote news and media accuracy and consumer awareness of accurate and false news.

Fighting Fake News in the Pandemic - March 20, 2020

"The coronavirus pandemic is rife with misinformation. Use your library’s digital reach to help people sniff out fake news.

Misinformation runs rampant during times of unrest, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Your library may be closed to the public, but you can still help thwart misinformation by sharing media literacy resources via your website or social media channels.

But a word of warning: Try not to overload your social media followers—or yourself—with too much news."; accessed May 15, 2020.

How to use your phone to spot fake images surrounding the U.S.-Iran conflict - January 7, 2020

"Military conflicts — like the one that is sparking between the United States and Iran — are usually surrounded by false images and outdated videos that go viral on social media. It happened in Turkey the other day.

To avoid that misinformation scenario, the International Fact-Checking Network developed a step-by-step guide to teach citizens how to verify images, from asking simple and rhetorical questions to using reverse image search on cell phones." ; accessed Jan 9, 2020.

The New Arms Race: Deep Fakes and Their Impact on Information - August 12, 2019

"If hackers continue to get better at the technology of deep fakes, detection, and other methods will follow close behind.  But unless digital literacy prioritized, we will always be behind the hackers. It’s an arms race, the new Cold War. Technology fixes won’t be enough so librarians will have to step in, preparing patrons for the information wars that are coming."; accessed August 13, 2019.

Finding the Truth in Today’s Politics - August 6, 2019

"Finding the Truth in Today’s Politics: An Interview with Angie Drobnic Holan Editor of PolitiFact"

"Being nonpartisan means that we don’t have a stake in a party or politician and whether they are right or wrong. We take the side of the truth. So, we are always looking for what is and what is not backed up by facts and evidence.  As far as our nonpartisanship and our attempts to minimize bias, the most scrutiny we get is from readers and the public. Our response to this scrutiny is that we fact-check things that would make the average person wonder if it’s true or not.  We also fact check incorrect items. So, if someone makes frequent inaccurate statements, then we are going to fact-check them more."; accessed August 10, 2019.

The Grim Conclusions of the Largest Ever Study of Fake News - March 8, 2018

"The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence—some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years—and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor. By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.";accessed March 9, 2018.

Illinois Teachers Get Lesson in News Literacy - December 14, 2017

"...with social media, everyone is a publisher and with that comes responsibility to examine the reliability of what someone posts or shares. Spikes warns against the wisdom of the crowd, tallies of likes and retweets which can have some social media users equating popularity with credibility. In other words, just because something is viral doesn't make it true."

Should we stop saying 'fake news'? - December 14, 2017

"It’s a term that has been constantly redefined and repurposed; what used to specifically refer to deliberately misleading information built to draw large social media audiences to ad-laden websites is now frequently co-opted as a quick slight against legitimate news organizations with perceived bias."


From; accessed December 19, 2017.

Donald Trump's Fake News Tactics - December 11, 2017

"Judging from the President’s tweets, his definition of “fake news” is credible reporting that he doesn’t like. But he complicates the matter by issuing demonstrably false statements of his own, which, inevitably, make news. Trump has brought to the White House bully pulpit a disorienting habit of telling lies, big and small, without evident shame. Since 2015, Politifact has counted three hundred and twenty-nine public statements by Trump that it judges to be mostly or entirely false. (In comparison, its count of such misstatements by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is thirteen.)"


From Donald Trump’s “Fake News” Tactics; accessed December 4, 2017.


Maine parody site is far from Fake News... - December 10, 2017

“Parody is an interesting form of humor, very hit-and-miss, and it depends largely on how familiar someone is with the subject, and what their own views on it are,” Sample said. “For parody to work, you need an agreed-upon norm and then you have to exaggerate that. But today it’s hard to find an agreed-upon norm about anything, or something that doesn’t already seem like exaggeration.”

From; accessed December 18, 2017.

Schools fight spread of 'fake news' - October 24, 2017

"Since last year, the Digital Resource Center (DRC), an online site that is part of the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University in New York, has seen a 300% increase in visitors. Registered users have doubled.
At the News Literacy Project in Chicago, leaders launched a series of online professional development workshops to meet the demand for training, social media followers doubled and the number of media mentions “skyrocketed” from a few to 30 just in January, according to Erika Hobbs, the organization’s communications director."

Can Librarians Save Us from Fake News? - May 21, 2017

"Marinating in old-book smell, lungs filling slowly with invisible dust particles, the librarians of old were the keepers of knowledge. And their present-day counterparts, basking in the blue light of electronic screens, are no different. Trained to collect reading material from a spectrum of perspectives, librarians curate collections that offer the full scope of worldviews, veting and fact-checking along the way."

Sites Publish Real Scoops among Mess of False Reports - May 16, 2017

"The need for vigilance in distinguishing real journalism from “fake news” has become well established since Donald Trump was elected with help from bogus online stories.

But readers are now being confronted with an even tougher challenge: decoding the work of writers whose track records of faulty reporting are occasionally interrupted by stories that are actually true.

The trait has appeared among pro- and anti-Trump writers alike, as bloggers on each side of a chaotic political crisis mix information from knowledgeable insiders with wild allegations about their opponents."

From; accessed December 2, 2017.

Fake News Discussion on All Sides with Ann Fisher - April 18, 2017

"The epidemic of fake news is relatively new but has already largely impacted the way people consume and disseminate information online. Facebook recently began displaying ways to avoid fake news on its news feeds, but this puts the responsibility on the consumer to avoid fake news, rather than on Facebook to eliminate it from news feeds. Today we'll discuss what fake news is, where it comes from and how it can be avoided."

From; accessed December 2, 2017.

7 Tips to Separate Fact from Fiction - March 3, 2017

"With fake news lurking around every corner of social media, it seems more difficult than ever to separate fact from fiction.
No one is more aware of that than news literacy professors, who teach the critical-thinking skills necessary to evaluate any piece of journalism.
We spoke with three news literacy experts who shared their advice for being a responsible news consumer. Here are seven quick things you should do to judge whether you can trust what you read."

Making Sense of the News: The Power of Information - March 3, 2017

"Both during his campaign and after his inauguration, President Trump has had a constant line of animosity toward the free flow of news and information. He derides outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN, among others, as “failing,” and consistently uses the term “fake news” to describe any stories that conflict with his narrative — from the crowd size at his inauguration to confirmed reports that his national security adviser had spoken to Russian officials before he took office. He, and members of his senior staff have even gone so far as to call the news outlets that he lumps into his definition of “fake news” as the “enemy of the people.”"

The Smell Test: Educators can counter fake news with information literacy - January 1, 2017

"Discerning fact from fiction in news and online content has never been more challenging. From “pizzagate”—false reports of a child sex ring operating in a DC pizza parlor—and creepy clown attacks to retweeted election headlines touting events that never happened, fake news is rampant. Twenty-three percent of Americans say they have shared fabricated reports, knowingly or not, according to a December Pew Research Center report.
Librarians have an opportunity to take leadership in the current crisis. As proven authorities on information literacy, library professionals can help students analyze news authenticity. It’s time to step up to the plate."

Can News Literacy Grow Up? - September/October 2014

"There are critics who say news literacy is trying to run before it can walk. They say, “Come back when you have all the evidence and then we’ll talk about adding it to the curriculum.” But there’s a strong case that news literacy deserves a place in our public schools right now, even before all the evidence is in. Based on the embrace of the Common Core, dozens of states believe the kind of analytical thinking that news literacy is predicated on is worth teaching, whether it creates news literacy or not, because it prepares kids for college—and for life." ; accessed May 23, 2019.