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Media Literacy: Tips for Evaluating News Stories

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Media literate youth and adults are better able to understand the complex messages we receive from television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and other forms of media.

Watch for Red Flags!

Scan your online resources for easy-to-spot red flags. Watch out for:

  • Fort with red flag pictureA specific point of view is pushed
  • Lots of advertising
  • Non-professional looking websites (poor design, misspellings)
  • Lack of citations or links to verifiable information
  • Merchandise or payment requests
  • No author/sponsoring organization is listed, either on the main page or in an 'About Us' section

Why check for accuracy?


Tweet of Gillibrand - Denying a fair hearing is silencing Ford


Use the CRAP Test

It is challenging to determine whether information from the Web is credible and can be trusted. Is it factual? Biased? Relevant to your topic?

Here is a handy acronym to help you determine if a source may be CRAP.



  • CURRENCY How recently was this information published/posted? Can you find a publication date?
  • RELIABILITYIs the information supported by evidence? Can it be confirmed by other sources?
  • AUTHORITYWho wrote the information - are they an expert or knowledgeable in their field? (i.e. For health information, did a doctor or nurse write it?)
  • PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEWWhy was it written? To sell something? To sway opinion? Is it biased toward a particular point of view?

How to Recognize Fake News Series

Equip viewers with tools to spot the stories and images that are false, biased, altered or slanted, even those shared by trusted friends or family. Learn to detect and check fake news and scrutinize material for opinion, inaccuracy or misrepresentation. Learn how to avoid being duped by fake news and be less quick to click.


Information Disorder by Democracy Digest, August 14, 2018

Types of Information disorder, venn diagram

Pew Research

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