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Fake News

Information and activities about fake news

How to Spot Fake News

Real news vs fake news

What makes real news real?

  1. Presented by real news sources- does the news source have a code of ethics or mission statement?
  2. Written by reporters with degrees in journalism, and often, in the fields they cover
  3. Primary goal is to inform. If you are having an emotional reaction: anger, fear, anxiety, you should investigate the article further.
  4. Real news can be verified by checking statistics, reports, and other  (real) news sources to verify what you’re seeing.

In their Code of Ethics, the Society of professional journalists declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media:

  • Seek Truth and Report It
  • Minimize Harm
  • Act Independently
  • Be Accountable and Transparent

One of the ways in which a news source demonstrates its authenticity and responsibility to its readers is through a publicly accessible code of ethics or standards.  A sample of various codes, mission statements and ethics handbooks are listed below.

NPR Ethics Handbook

New York Times: Standards and Ethics

American Society of News Editors: Codes of Ethics A comprehensive list of codes of ethics from 47 different news outlets and professional organizations dedicated to journalism

Use these sites to check news stories' claims:

Pre-class reading:

N. Kshetri and J. Voas, "The Economics of “Fake News”," in IT Professional, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 8-12, November/December 2017. doi: 10.1109/MITP.2017.4241459. URL:


Material in this guide is heavily borrowed from LibGuides at SUNY Geneseo and Indiana University East.