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Evaluating news: Fake News & Beyond

Tips on Reading Laterally

Lateral reading is basically searching for information about a site or an article while you are reading it.

The concept of lateral reading originated out of research from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) under Sam Wineburg, the founder and executive director, and is used by professional fact-checkers!

Watch this video from the Stanford History Education Group to learn more.

To read laterally:

  • Open lots of tabs in your browser.
  • Get off the site you are on.
  • Do a deliberate Google search for more information about the site you are reading to determine the credibility and authenticity of the information it presents. Look for answers to the following questions:
    • Who funds or sponsors the site where the original piece was published?
    • What do other authoritative sources have to say about that site?
    • When you do a search on the topic of the original piece, are the initial results from fact-checking organizations?
    • Have questions been raised about other articles the author has written?
    • Does what you’re finding elsewhere contradict the original piece?
    • Are credible news outlets reporting on (or, more importantly, not reporting on) what you’re reading?
  • Still unsure? Take a look at this evaluating information page

From "Expand Your View with Lateral Reading," News Literacy Project