If you think a lot about fake news these days, and if you aim to help your students or family members develop the ability to effectively evaluate and decide what’s real and what’s not, National Public Radio (NPR) just published an excellent article, Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts. This piece highlights six steps that individuals can use to judge the stories they encounter, and the article includes a detailed description about how to go about following through with each step.
The entire NPR post, which is chock full of helpful information, will be a useful teaching tool for anyone who wants to gauge a news item’s authenticity, and the six basic steps are easy to master. Post the list near computers, on the refrigerator, and in rooms where family members use digital devices and on digital devices’ note pads.
News Evaluation Steps from National Public Radio (Read the article for lots more detail.)
- Pay attention to the domain and the URL.
- Read the “About Us” section.
- Look at the quotes in the story.
- Notice the people who made the quotes (and think about whether they are reputable sources).
- Check the comments (to see what’s being said and whether or how writers use language to express their ideas constructively).
- Do a reverse image search.
Evaluating digital information is nothing new. For years schools, teachers, and parents have worked on activities that emphasize how to evaluate online resources, but now in 2016 the ability to assess news critically is becoming a more important and necessary competence because so many stories circulated on social media are not really news, just made up tall tales.
Evaluating and curating the news, and identifying what’s fake are essential 21st Century literacy skills, and everyone — adults and children — needs to pay attention.