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News Literacy: Start Here

Tools and resources for students, faculty, and staff to explore in taking a more critical look at news and media sources.

What is fake news?

"Fake news" is false information portrayed as correct or reliable news with the intent to get people to believe something that isn't true. In many cases, fake news is created to damage a person, agency, or other entity.

Understanding what fake news is can be an important step for students, faculty, and staff to become aware of the problem and of ways to avoid it.

This brief TED-Ed video will give you insight into the evolution of news distribution and tips to get to the truth.

News Categories

The types of "fake news" that the university community are likely to encounter. Being aware of them will help ensure that students, faculty, and staff have a fundamental awareness of what to look out for when reading the news.

What exactly are we talking about when we talk about "fake news"? Bill Adair of PolitiFact defines 3 basic categories: 

1) False stories written with “click-baiting” headlines to get clicks and make money from advertising revenue.

2) False or misleading stories written as propaganda for a particular viewpoint or to cause a disruption.

3) Satirical or comedic news stories that might be mistaken and shared as real news. 

Further Reading

Research on the fake news phenomenon, its background, and potential impact on YOU

Contact Us

Librarians who developed this guide while completing Library Journal's "Fighting Fake News" workshop.

  • Deana Brown,
  • Megan Davis,
  • Gwyn Hervochon,
  • Elizabeth Ramsey,

Please contact us with comments, or if you'd like us to visit your class for a news literacy session.

We would like to thank Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, Washtenaw Community College Bailey Library, and Harvard Library for kindly letting us reuse some of their content.


Tools and browser plug-ins to help students, faculty, and staff determine the trustworthiness of a news source.

Check Your Bias:

Fact-Checking Sites:

Browser Plug-ins:

Politifact Feed

A service that fact-checks and rates headlines.