- Read an overview about how to verify information on the internet:Before you look for information, read a brief overview from a reputable University (usually on their library’s webpage) on how to verify information from the internet. I personally like the one from Georgetown University:
If you’re trying to source information for emergency news coverage, you’ll also want to look at The Verification Handbook:
- START with a scholarly source if you can:Did you know that there is a subdomain of Google that searches specifically through scholarly sources (scholarly journals and publications that are verified and respected within the collegiate community)? Instead of starting with the regular ol’ Google, start here FIRST:
After you’ve dug through the information you found on the link above, THEN you can go to the regular google to search for additional information. When you DO go to the regular google, keep in mind all of the things you read from Step 1 above!!!
- Always pay attention to the URL:When you click a link (especially from social media) keep an eye on the URL you end up on. A reputable news source will almost always own their own domain and won’t end in something sketchy. For example, if you see a “.com.co” or something other than the main three: .com, .org, or .net then you should be more suspect.You can also lookup the owner of the domain by doing a “whois lookup” of that domain using a tool like this:
- Verify that the site you’re on is real and not biased:There are a few tools out there that can quickly tell you if a site is real, is satire, is bias, leans towards one political party, etc. My favorite one so far is “B.S. Detector” which is a Chrome extension that will add overlays into your browser when you’re viewing content from a sketchy source. This extension is pretty badass and even works on your content within social media, etc.
There are also some good web-based tools out there that don’t require you to download an extension so you can debunk bullshit on the go:
- Reverse Image Search the featured image of the article:https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?hl=en
- Verify “any quoted text” in the article:Anytime someone is quoted within the article, open up a new tab and try to verify that quote (remember to use all the steps above to verify the sites verifying that quote too!!)
- Check the author and published date:Make sure that the article has the author’s name and published date displayed clearly. This will also remind you to make sure the article is recent (or relevant to the window of time you’re looking for).Then you can try to find information about the Author by searching for their name on google. Again, apply all the above steps to verifying those sources as well.