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Evaluating News Sources

Spot fake news from real news with this guide.

Evaluate the source

When reading and listening to news sources, you need to consider the language being used. One part of this is to consider if the language is "loaded" or "neutral".

Loaded terms are words that can evoke certain feelings in a reader and can be used in fake news (including mis- or disinformation) to draw a reader into a story. News stories with this type of language should be evaluated for their credibility. Objective news stories will use more neutral terms that may seem boring or colorless, but avoid showing the source in a biased light.

For instance, using the term “claimed” - considered a loaded word - instead of “said” - a neutral word - throws doubt on the source’s statement.

Loaded Terms Neutral Terms
Alleged Said
Asserted States
Avowed Told
Claimed Related
Declared Announced

The image below is from AllSides, and is their Media Bias Chart. You can view a copy of this image on their website: AllSides - Media Bias Chart. When evaluating news sources, you also want to consider the bias each news agency might have for one side of a story or another. Many news agencies can have strong left- or right-leaning bias for political content. The chart below highlights these for some of the most well-known news agencies.

allsides media bias chart

Looking for more?

The videos and guides below provide more examples for how to evaluate sources.



News Sources at Lavery

The following databases, part of the Library's subscriptions, offer many news sources.

News Agencies