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Evaluating news: Fake News & Beyond

More on News and Fake News Universe

Here are some different kinds of fake news:

  • Fake News or Hoax News - Stories that promote false information. While they may be loosely influenced by facts, these stories can't be verified. These stories often rely on language designed to get an emotional response (like outrage) from readers.
  • Clickbait - Outrageous headlines and stories designed to get readers to click open links to a particular webpage. These often try to manipulate emotions or elicit surprise. You've seen a lot of this already - it often involves politics or celebrities.
  • Hyper-partisan or Heavily Biased News - Stories that present facts, often carefully selected, through a biased perspective. There are different levels of bias, but credible reporters and news sites attempt to present facts with objectivity. 
  • News Parody/Satire - Stories that parody current events and reporting. While they often use false headlines, they are created to poke fun at current events or people, not to convince readers that the information is true.

Understanding the Fake News Universe

Another good visualization of the news universe is this Media Bias Chart by adfontes media, which focuses on where news sources fall on the current political spectrum.

Media bias chart, by Vanessa Otero


News Literacy Vocabulary

confirmation bias: the tendency to believe information is credible if it conforms to the reader’s/viewer’s existing belief system, or not credible if it does not conform

content farm or content mill: a company that employs a staff of freelance writers to create content designed to satisfy search engine retrieval algorithms with the goal of attracting views and advertising revenue

echo chamber: a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented

fact checking: the act of verifying assertions either prior to publication or after dissemination of the content

filter bubble: When search tool results present stories we are likely to click on or share based on our past activity, potentially affirming our biases

herding phenomenon: as more journalists begin to cover a story, even more journalists are likely to join the herd, imitating the angle the story initially took rather than developing alternate or original approaches or angles

native advertising: paid, sponsored content designed to look like the legitimate content produced by the media outlet.

triangulation or cross-verification: Researchers establish validity by using several research methods and by analyzing and examining multiple perspectives and sources in the hope that diverse viewpoints can shed greater light on a topic.

satisficing: a blending of the words satisfy and suffice  to refer to the tendency of people, bounded by time limitations, to select good enough information over optimal information

virality: the rapid circulation of media from one user to another.