When evaluating newspaper articles, it's critical to avoid binary distinctions such as "liberal" or "conservative." Mike Caulfield notes that such binaries are related to news analysis (2017). Bias is evident in what kind of news gets covered, which experts are quoted, and how information is arranged (Caulfield, 2017).
Caulfield draws these distinctions between news gathering and news analysis; these distinctions are helpful in understanding how readers construe bias in news sources:
It's important to understand that bias exists in all information and that we should recognize it when we see it. However, identifying bias is different than verifying truth in claims.
Judging content based on the author's expertise is not a clear cut task and sometimes you have to do some extra digging to find a person's qualifications. Here are some tips to do that:
(Source: Cornell University Library)
'Fake news' is too simplistic of a term to adequately convey the extent of what Claire Wardle refers to as 'information disorders' (2019). Genuine information can be "used out of context and weaponised by people who know that falsehoods based on a kernel of truth are more likely to be believed and shared. And most of this can’t be described as ‘news’. It’s good old-fashioned rumours, it’s memes, it’s manipulated videos and hyper-targeted ‘dark ads’ and old photos re-shared as new" (Wardle 2019).
Content such as "propaganda, lies, conspiracies, rumours, hoaxes, hyperpartisan content, falsehoods or manipulated media" is part of three distinct categories: disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation, all of which constitute information disorder (2019).
Fact checking is how researchers account for truth and accuracy of their sources. The resources below will aid you in determining whether your information is legitimate or not. As a student-scholar, it is also important to examine even the fact-checking sources with a critical eye.