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DigiPo News Analysis Project

Overview

The source of the claim may be a journal article, blog post, tweet, etc. Now, you need to determine the reliability of the source. Start with these simple questions:

  • Who are they?
  • How do they know this thing?
  • What assurances do I have that they got it right?

Strategies

1. Possible sources and what to look for:

  • Eyewitness account: Make sure the person who claims to have been there was there
  • Research claim: Check researcher's level of expertise, description of process, and peer reviewed (this catches potential errors)
  • Newspaper article: Where did they get their information (who did they talk to, what sources were referenced) and does the publication have a reputation for catching and correcting errors?)
  • Journal article: Find out if it is a well-regarded journal by doing an "impact factor" (Note that the impact factor is for the journal and not the individual article.)
  • Organization: Who are they? How did they come to their conclusion(s)?

2. Look at the people involved with writing and publishing the claim. What is their expertise?

3. What to do if source is determined to be unreliable.

  • Try to trace claim back further
  • Know that often you will come to a dead end because some claims are not sourceable to reliable sources.

Tools

1. Fact checking sites

2. Source investigation: (Sample for the Wall Street Journal)

  • Who publishes it?
  • What is their worldview?
  • What is its history?
  • What is its level of influence (circulation, shares, etc.)?
  • How is it funded?
  • What is the reliability of it as a news source?
  • What are some of the major stories they have covered?
  • What (if any) controversies have they been involved in?
3. Bot or Not: Find out whether a particular Twitter account is more likely to be a bot or a human
4. DigiPro Chrome Extension (Select "Google This Site" to see what others are saying about the site.)
5. List of websites known for sharing "False, Misleading, Clickbait-y and/or Satirical News" (written by Melissa Zindars, Associate Professor of Communication at Merrimak College in Massachusettes)