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The Story of Fake News: Resource Guide

Davidson Now MOOC

Welcome to the Fake News Resource Guide

Fake news is a real problem. From allegations of election fraud to Pizzagate, fake news saturates our newsfeeds--and our national discourse. Some say it has compromised the authority of journalism, others say writing fake news stories has brought them a fistful of money. What do we make of this phenomenon? Why is fake news so prevalent these days? And how should we respond?

This resource guide serves as a supplemental guide for the Davidson Now course, "The Story of Fake News," on In this 2-week course, we'll pose the above questions (and more) to scholars, working journalists, and media pundits in order to get a hold on this complicated issue. Join a vibrant community of critical thinkers who are interested in exploring these questions togeter.

How to Spot Fake News Infographic

"How to Spot Fake News" by IFLA is licensed under a CC By 4.0

Relevant Books on Media and Information

What You Can Do to Fight Fake News

Detect Bad Journalism

Credible journalists and news publications follow certain standards like the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

When reading the news, look for indicators of ethical journalism. Articles with these characteristics tend to be credible.

  • Transparency: An ethical journalist will make it easy for readers to identify sources. They will clearly identify or link out to source material (first-person accounts, relevant documents, bills, etc). 
  • Independent Reporting: Often false information spreads because journalists are spreading reports without doing their own research. Look for clues that the journalist made direct contact with sources and did not just re-use information published by other journalists.
  • Values Accuracy: Ethical journalists are careful to verify claims and avoid publishing hearsay. They will write about an event in a way that does not distort or mislead. Pay special attention to titles and how sources are described. Do they encourage a certain interpretation of events?
Check the Facts and Spread the Facts

Real and credible news is verified. Typically this will be done in-house by an editor before publication, but it helps to look for verification from other sources. 

These fact-checking organizations independently verify claims made by media outlets. Use them to debunk and call out false information:

Some individuals and groups have also been compiling lists of fake and faulty news agencies:

Equip Yourself

Interactive Tools and Mobile Apps

  • Twitter Trails- A tool that allows you to track the trustworthiness of stories shared on Twitter
  • SettleIt!- From Politifact, this free mobile app provides fact-checked information on a variety of political issues
  • WSJ: Blue Feed, Red Feed- Visual representation of how Facebook feeds create political echo chambers for news.

Fake News Detector Extensions

  • BS Detector- Flags news that are unreliable (Extension available for Chrome and Firefox)
  • Fake News Alert- Alerts you of fake, misleading or satirical news (Chrome Extension)
  • This is Fake- Identifies fake news on Facebook, allows you flag and report fake news.

Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035