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Evaluating Information: Vetting Your Sources: Evaluating the News

This guide equips you with tools to evaluate sources within the, often times overwhelming, information landscape.

Types of News

Not all news is the same. Get to know the different types of news articles. Definitions of a few of the most commonly confusing articles are below.

Op-Ed: Commentary which represents a columnists' opinion. The columnist is usually a guest writer.

Editorial: Opinion piece written by a member of a given publication's editorial board.

Note: Keep in mind that it is standard practice to have opinion pieces included in news publications as long as they are clearly represented as such. Inclusion of labelled opinion pieces does not necessarily mean the publication is biased overall. If a publication consistently represents the same opinions, and/or if their daily reporting begins to resemble opinion pieces, this is a red flag for potential editorial bias. Pay close attention to evaluating the work.

Investigative Reports: Articles by journalists after in-depth investigation of a topic, which entails researching and verifying sources. Sometimes sources cannot be identified in these reports, typically to protect a source’s identity. In such cases, journalists have done the work to check on claims for the public. Not sure if an article being represented as investigative journalism is trustworthy? Check the credentials of the author and publication.

Finding Bias

Tips for Checking News Sources

  1. When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second tab and use it to look up claims, author credentials and organizations that you come across in the article.
  2. Errors and misinformation span across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, even still images. 
  3. Always be ready to question everything and to fact check.
  4. Even the best researchers will be fooled once in a while. If you find yourself fooled by an inaccurate or fabricated news story, use your experience as a learning tool.

Tips adapted from Indiana University East's Fake News Guide.

Context & History of Journalism

Sources for Fact Checking