"Fake" News

more appropriately called: Misinformation

Let's talk about misinformation

The true definition of "fake news" is "a made-up story deliberately designed to look like an article by a legitimate news outlet."

However, "fake news" has been appropriated by politicians across the political spectrum and even by some members of the media to disparage news stories or news coverage that they do not like or agree with. This has led to the broadening of what"fake news" means and makes it not the best term to use when describing a made-up story.

It is more appropriate to call "fake news" what it actually is, misinformation. Misinformation is defined as "wrong or misleading information". It is unintentional and has errors and inaccuracies.

It should be noted that disinformation is a form of misinformation. Disinformation is when "misinformation is created with the intent of causing harm, [usually targeting] a specific group of people for a goal." Internet trolls are a well known cause of misinformation. As a modern example, Russia used disinformation as part of their attack to influence the United States' 2016 presidential election.

Tips for checking suspect news stories, images, and source

Use the SIFT Method:


Investigate the source

Find better coverage

Trace claims, quotes, and media to original content

Use a lateral search method:

This is the technique that professional fact checkers use. Open a new tab and do a search of the company, person, or organization that is making the claim. Often time Wikipedia has an entry about them and you can discover if they are legitimate or not or if they might have a hidden agenda.

The following short video will take you through the lateral search method.

Online Verification Skills - Video 2: Investigate the Source

Mike Caulfield created a course for learners to independently go through to learn how to fact and source-check. Click on this link to be taken to the course.

Mike Caulfield has also written an open access e-Book, titled

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. Check it out for more tips and techniques.

Fact Checkers

Fact checking websites review popular news stories and claims made by celebrities, politicians, and journalists. Most fact checking sites explain how they came up with their rating and show where they got their information from so that you can decide on your own whether you agree with their decision or not.

Other Online Resources

Crash Course on YouTube has a playlist with several different videos on Navigating Digital Information, very informative.

Checkology by the News Lit Project has 5 different lessons that learners may enroll in to learn to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Play the online game Bad News: take on the role of a "fake news" creator and learn how "fake news" is made.

Can you spot the fake posts? Take the quiz from The New York Times.

You can also enroll in the library's course on Moodle for access to a mini-lesson on "fake" news. You will earn a badge to show you've completed the mini-lesson.

Reliable News Sources Available to Trocaire Students, Faculty, and Staff.

There are several reliable news sources available to Trocaire students, staff, and faculty. These news sources are generally viewed as having quality reporting however, that does not mean that they are without bias.

The Buffalo News is available in print at both the Choate and Transit Road libraries, along with access to the digital edition. It is accessible to anyone with a valid Trocaire username and password.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is accessible to anyone on the Trocaire network or anyone with a valid Trocaire username and password.

Library Books on Fake News

Created by Josh Rakower, ME, MLS, Electronic Resources and Information Literacy Librarian. Fall 2017, Updated Spring 2019, Updated Spring 2021 by Jessica Gavin, MLS

Jessica Gavin, MLS

Created by Josh Rakower, ME, MLS, Electronic Resources and Information Literacy Librarian. Fall 2017, Updated Spring 2019, Updated Spring 2021 by Jessica Gavin, MLS