Tips for finding reliable news

Ad Fontes Media has produced a bias table showing where major news outlets land on the political spectrum. United Press International, CBS Local News and Military Times are near the center.

The Cornell University Library offers a guide for spotting fabricated or misleading information. Some key points:

  • Headlines can be misleading. Read the whole story.
  • If a story from an unfamiliar news organization is brought to your attention, click directly to the source to determine its mission, funders, credibility.
  • Check the date of the story. If it is not recent, it may not be relevant.
  • Is the information highly unusual? If so, it may be satire, or fiction.
  • Check your own biases. Are your beliefs affecting your willingness or unwillingness to accept information as reliable?

The University of Maryland provides tips to research writers which can be translated into evaluating news:

  • Does the story clearly name sources and establish their credibility?
  • What is the purpose of the news source? Does it attempt to appeal to a particular audience?
  • Was the story written for a particular audience, and if so, what is that audience’s expectations for credibility?
  • Are the authors known and respected in their field?
  • Is the publication near the center of the bias spectrum, and respected as a source by discerning readers?
  • Are there charts and graphs that add credibility?