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SPJ Western Washington launches campaign to stop disinformation

In our current political climate, and with social media moving from a platform that shares headlines to one that creates them, it can be difficult to discern fact from fiction.

The SPJ Western Washington Pro Chapter wants news consumers to be cautious when reading information online. Below are tips to keep in mind to help identify well-sourced news from what’s sensationalized — or simply not true.

Vet the author

Run the author’s name through Google. Do they have other stories they’ve written? Can you find the writer’s biography somewhere? Can you find a LinkedIn or Twitter profile? Real people are accountable for what they write.

Know your source

What sources does the author use in the story? Do they name the people they quote, or does their story rely heavily or only on unnamed sources? Do the documents they cite support the story, and can you find them directly? Don’t settle without verifying.

Go beyond the headline

Headlines are meant to generate clicks and entice readers. You can’t fit the whole story in a ten-word headline. Don’t get duped; do your homework.

Listen to your gut

If something doesn’t seem right with a story, it merits further investigation. But remember, stories that shock or offend you may still be accurate.

Before you post, check the host

If it’s only a Facebook post, dial up your skepticism. If it’s a blog, check their sources. If it’s an established news organization, read and compare coverage from another outlet.


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