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Evaluating Internet Information

Tips for reading the news: 

  • Checklists are no substitution for slowing down to read, reread, and consider what you've read. 
  • Much like reading a textbook, make notes of questions you have or things mentioned in the article that you'd like to explore
  • Long-form journalism can take time to write and publish, especially if it explores the experience of an individual or community. What has changed since the events in the story happened or the publication? Can this give you a more complete picture of what is happening? 
  • If you find stories about the same topic, does it change your view of the initial article? Is anything omitted, or impact you hadn't considered? 
  • What questions would you ask the journalist, of the people covered in the story? What questions would you have for an expert on the topic? 
  • Is the piece journalistic or editorial? Look for words like editorial, opinion, or op-ed. Those indicate an individual opinion, and can differ wildly from the quality of the journalistic work found in the same news outlet. 
  • Visit the "about us" section of a website of smaller news outlets. No news outlet will be forthcoming about their biases, but it may tell you something about the audience they are trying to reach. 
  • What can you find out about the author? Do they have their contact information listed? The author's credentials don't automatically make an article "good", but it can provide context to see what they tend to write about. Also, it is not unheard of for students to email an author to ask for clarification on something. If you write a civil email to ask a question in good faith, the worst that can happen would be an unanswered email. 


A Few News Outlets That Feature Long-Form Journalism

We are linking to free access in our online library whenever possible. If you hit a paywall on the web, use the title and date to find the article for free on the library website (we can help with this). Note that these outlets may contain both long and short articles.