In this ever changing world of social media, it can be difficult to figure out what news is real. In her latest article for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Information Specialist Lissa Staley writes about the many different ways one can be vigilant to combat the threat of fake news:

Take a Moment to Critique the Story

See a “fake news” article in your inbox or news feed? Take a moment to engage, use resources to research the headline and help to educate others by offering a link to more accurate information. According to, these are some good steps to determining whether a news story is credible.

  1. Consider the source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
  2. Read beyond the headline. Headlines can be outrageous in effort to get clicks. Go beyond headlines.
  3. Check the author. Do a quick Google search on the author. Are they credible?
  4. Determine if sources support the story. Click those links. Determine if the subsequent info actually supports the story.
  5. Check the date.
  6. Consider that it might be satire. If it seems too outlandish, it might be satire. Do some quick research on the site and author to find out.
  7. Check your biases.
  8. Ask the experts. Ask a librarian, or consult one of the fact-checking sites outlined below.

Consult Trusted Fact-Checking Sites

Use these sites to check the accuracy of a story’s assertions.

  • – “A nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”
  • Snopes – Widely regarded as one of the web’s essential resources, Snopes is an online touchstone of rumor research.
  • PolitiFact – “A fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics.”
  • Washington Post Fact-Checker “The purpose of this website is to ‘truth squad’ the statements of political figures regarding issues of great importance, be they national, international or local.”

Be Wary of Advertising Disguised as Stories

The internet is a revenue-generating giant for advertisers, and some companies have found success in disguising their ads as news stories in website sidebars, feeds and at the footer of credible stories. You’ve surely seen the ads for “This one weird trick to help you lose weight.” Finding Good Health Information on the Internet can also be a slog through fake and biased information intended to sell you products. You can always trust Medline Plus for accurate, supported information on health issues.

Search a Library Research Site

Lissa also suggests that if you’re looking for information on a specific topic, you can start with the State of Kansas Library’s research databases instead of an internet search. The databases have already done part of the work of evaluating information for you by selecting quality information sources.

Read the full article here. Thanks, Lissa Staley, and the TSCPL staff for the information.