47 Fake News Signals: Part 7 of 7

Know Your Fake/Satirical Sites 

Empire News                    The Reporterz                   React365

Stuppid                            News Examiner                 Associated Media 

Naha Daily                        The Stately Harold            National Report 

NC Scooper                      Huzlers                            Empire News

NewsBuzzDaily                 Now8News                       Satira Tribune

Empire Herald                   The Daily Currant            CAP News

NewsBiscuit                      Call the Cops                   World News Daily Report

Protip: If you see a fake or very bias story in your Facebook feed, block the source from showing up again.

Know Your Fact-Checking Sites 

FactCheck.org                           Fact-Checker

Hoax Slayer                              Hoaxy

Irumor Mill                               MetaBunk      

Media Bias Fact Check             Myth Debunk  

Politifact                                   Snopes                  

SourceWatch                            Truth or Fiction


Tools for Spotting Fake News

Facterbot (https://medium.com/facterbot/how-to-use-facterbot-c460f6c71711)

This Facebook Messenger chatbot aimed at delivering fact checks.


A Chrome extension that suggests whether a Twitter account is likely to be a bot.


This Facebook Messenger app identifies the political leaning of an article. 


A Google Chrome plugin that attempts to identify whether a website is generally trustworthy. 


 Sources/Explore more

6 Tips for Identifying Fake News, Sabrina Stierwalt, Quick & Dirty Tips

As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth, Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times

Critics of Dan Rather’s tips about fake news brought up his past. But the points are still solid, Alex Horton, Washington Post

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” SourcesMelissa Zimdars 

How I Detect Fake News, Tim O'ReillyO’Reilly Media

Infographics Lie. Here's How To Spot The B.S., Randy Olson, Fast Company

Photographs cause false memories for the news, Deryn Strange, Maryanne Garry, Daniel M Bernstein, & D. Stephen Lindsay, Semantic Scholar 

Searching for Alternative Facts: Analyzing Scriptural Inference in Conservative News Practices,Francesca Triopodi, Data Society  

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors, Kim LaCapria, Snopes 

Want to resist the post-truth age? Learn to analyze photos like an expert would, Nicole Dahmen & Don Heider, Quartz

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

The irrational ideas behind anger

According to Albert Ellis, the most common irrational ideas behind anger are the following:

1. I must do well in one the approval of others or else I will rate as a rotten person.

2. Others must treat me considerately and kindly and in precisely the way I want them to treat me.

3. The world and the people in it must arrange conditions under which I live, so that I get everything I want when I want it.

As their anger slows down, people should challenge irrational thoughts with statements such as:

What evidence exists for this? Why can't I stand this noise or this unfairness?

Gary Collins, Counseling and Anger

47 Fake News Signals: Part 6 of 7


These biases are broad tendencies, rather than fixed traits or universal behavioral laws. They are not uniformly shared by everyone. Plus, there are multiple influences resulting in a given behavior. 

1. FALSE MEMORIES. Studies have shown we are susceptible to false memories. We selectively remember our own experiences, much less historical and cultural events. Planting fake memories has become easier these days with AI-enhanced photo and video forgeries on the internet. 

2. CONFIRMATION BIAS. We tend to seek information that confirms what we already believe to be true. Ask yourself: Do I want to believe this report, not because it is well sourced and reported, but because it fits with what I already believe?

3. CORRELATION VS CAUSATION. Just because events or statistics have a connection doesn’t mean you can assume one causes the other. 

4. WE OVERVALUE NARRATIVE. Adding a story to a fact increases the likelihood that people will believe it—even when the story narrows the likelihood of it being true. We like tidy stories, not ambiguity.

5. FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS. As the title of Nassim Taleb’s best seller suggests, we are fooled by randomness. Human tend to read meaning into the unexpected and the improbable, even where there is none. 

6. OVERSIMPLIFICATION. To avoid conflict and uncomfortable thinking, we oversimplify to reduce tension. Soon, one side looks good and the other is dismissed as evil. 

7. SUNK COST FALLACY. We hang on to a course of action or idea when we have invested in it, even when circumstances and reasoning show we should abandon it. 

8. GOOGLE-SEARCH RELIANCE. Google is not neutral. When you Google something, the algorithms isn’t weighing facts but other factors, such as your search history. Google tailors your results to what you want—or what the search engine “thinks” you want. Because of this personalization, you are probably getting different results than the person sitting next to you. Be critical of search engines as you are critical of the media. Don’t assume the first link or the first page that comes up when you Google something is the best answer to your question.

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7


Tuesday Tools: Various Writing Helps

We all could use a little help with writing and editing text. Here are some wonderful tools (apps and online) that will help in unexpected ways. You'll more writing tools at the tech tools site. If you have other suggestions, feel free to send them my way.

Associated Press Stylebook*
The most used reference guide to writing news stories, the AP stylebook is available both in print and online for a small fee.  It can improve general writing as well, especially for its alphabetically organized guide to the use of common and proper nouns.

Diversity Style Guide
Resource to help media writers nagivate through a "multicultural world with accuracy, authority and sensitivity."

Cliche Finder
Just what the title suggests. Free.

Check for online plagiarism.

Corpus of Contemporary American English
This BYU site includes transcripts of spoken language from radio and television programs and comprises academic writing from a range of disciplines allowing comparison of styles--spoken language vs.written academic language.

Coschedule Headline Analyzer
Analyze your headlines for SEO and share value. Free. 

Dragon Anywhere*
Voice to text app for iOS. Have to finish dictation before seeing the text. Free.

Flip Text
Flip text upside-down.  Use it on Facebook or Twitter. Free.

Gender Guesser
Cut and paste some of your writing into the the Gender Guesser and it will tell you whether you are male or female based on the writing tendencies of each.

the Grading Game*
App for practicing your editing skills and win points. Avail at the App Store.

Grammar Girl
Writing Tips from a grammarian.

Edit, organize and share documents. Merged with Dropbox in 2014.

HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator
Just write three nouns related to the topic that you'd like to blog about and this site will offer ideas.  

Lexicon Valley
Slate's grammar podcasts.

Limpert's About Editing and Writing Blog
A blog about how editors and writers do their work by Jack Limert was editor of the The Washingtonian for more than 40 years.

Created by Twitter co-founders to support good writing. Clean design and easy-to-use interface. For those who want to write but don’t want to maintain a blog or website. Intended to be a place where smart people plant their thoughts.  Share a draft of a post with friends who can make comments as marginal notes (rather than at the end of a post). Free, but Twitter account is required. No custom domains or customization.

Online Etymology Dictionary
Gives you the history and derivation of any word. Free.

Developed at the Associated Press, Overview analyzes the complete text of every document, extracting keywords and sorting documents into categories and sub-categories.

Power Thesaurus 
Crowdsourced thesaurus. 

Free rhyming dictionary.

SEO writing tips.

Writing platform. Minimalist interface. Encourages reader response.

Collaborative writing tool. 

Mac typing shortcut. Takes snippets of text and turns them into longer ones. Ideas for how to use it here. $44.95.

Extracts text from a variety of printed sources (PDF, books, etc.) by using the iPhone camera. Can translate text from many languages. $4.99.

Tone Analyzer
Linguistic analysis detects the emotional tone of your writing. Detect the levels of particular emotions it triggers and language style. Free.

 Yoast SEO
A WordPress plugin to work SEO into your writing.

Articles of Interest - Sept 17


'Molar Mic' will let US military make radio calls from their teeth  cnet

Shapeshifting canopy uses drones to keep guests in the shade  New Atlas 

How a wave of new tech products are making life easier for people with disabilities  USA Today


Unifying Big Data And Machine Learning, Cisco Style  Next Platform

The increased complexity of the analytics that is being done is changing.. and dragging on big data  Datanami 


Making useful three-dimensional maps  Kottke 


Google Employees Are Quitting Over The Company’s Secretive China Search Project  BuzzFeed News 

The Rise and Demise of RSS  TwoBit History


How the Magazine Industry’s Identity Crisis Plays Out on Its Front Page  The Ringer


Reddit, Twitter, Facebook stand out as sites with the most news-focused users  Pew Research Center  

Americans expect to get their news from social media, but they don’t expect it to be accurate  Harvard’s Nieman Lab 

Tips every brand new reporter should know  Poynter  

Audiences often overestimate the influence of news stories on other people — while underestimating how much they influence their own views and beliefs  Harvard’s Nieman Lab

What Is ‘Quality’ Journalism?  European Journalism Observatory 


A Trump effect at journalism schools? Colleges see a surge in admissions  Washington Post

Observations on how we teach drone journalism  Reynolds Journalism Institute 


New fund gives $20 million to local journalism  Poynter 

As newsrooms do more with less, can reporters keep up?  Columbia Journalism Review 

Marc Benioff is the latest tech billionaire to buy a news outlet CNN


A mathematical model captures the political impact of fake news  MIT Tech Review  

CrowdTangle now lets users report potentially false news  Poynter


One is the loneliest Number  Aeon 


How the Cold, Dead Hand of John Dryden Still Perpetuates Grammar Myths  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Google Docs just became smart enough to fix your grammar errors Tech Radar


The 2018 National Book Award Longlists  NPR 

Customer wins bookshop in raffle The Guardian  


Mischievous Pronunciations  Chronicle of Higher Ed

What our emotional reaction to jargon reveals about the evolution of the English language, and how the use of specialized terms can manipulate meaning Jstor


Americans are reading fewer novels, but more poetry  PS Mag 

Mary Shelley’s Handwritten Manuscript of Frankenstein: This Is “Ground Zero of Science Fiction,” Says William Gibson  Open Culture 


Dartmouth College hired the first woman known to coach full-time in Division I football  Dartmonuth

CBS And #MeToo  NPR

Photojournalists Are Demanding A #MeToo Reckoning NPR

Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules  New York Times


History lesson: Scholars take aim at racist views of Middle Ages  CS Monitor  

How Journalists of Color Are Redefining Newsroom Culture  Harvard’s Nieman Report  


Univ of Wisconsin defines unacceptable protest in updated guidelines-two violations means suspended, third expulsion  Badger Herald 

Freedom of Speech? A Lesson on Understanding the Protections and Limites of the First Amendment New York Times 


How Will Police Solve Murders on Mars w/new blood-spatter patterns, different body decay rates, and they won’t be able to fire guns indoors  The Atlantic 


A Christian counseling organization leader faces plagiarism charges  Christian Post

Inside Of A Cult Whose Leader Claims He Can Control The Weather Digg 

The Tiny Blond Bible Teacher Taking on the Evangelical Political Machine Beth Moore’s outspokenness on sexism could cost her everything  The Atlantic   

Jury: Crossroads megachurch in Grand Prairie must pay couple nearly $4M after using retirement money to expand  Dallas News

Non-Disparagement Agreements And Truth-Telling In The Church: Willow Creek (opinion)  Scot McKnight blog 

Most Western Europeans favor at least some restrictions on Muslim women’s religious clothing Pew Research Center 

Disgraced Baptist leader Paige Patterson body-shames a woman in his return to the pulpit  Washington Post

John MacArthur's ‘Statement on Social Justice’ Is Aggravating Evangelicals Christianity Today


Community Center Displays Sign with Countless Funny Puns  My Modern Met 

Bystanders lift vehicle to free man pinned underneath car  WTAE 

This school janitor has quietly been giving homeless students clothes, soap and more Washington Post

Banker offers free 2-year tuition to every senior at a Wisconsin high school  CNN 

95-year-old World War II vet breaks scuba diving record  Telegraph  

He spent 27 years wrongly convicted of murder. He wants to spend the rest of his life  encouraging inmates to read  CNN

Animals rescued from Florence floodwaters, after pets left behind or forgotten Fox News

California teen finds purse with $10,000 inside, turns it in to police  CBS News

Armed Robbers Take Over A Store, Underestimate The 83-Year-Old Man In The Room (video) Digg


Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards - in pictures  The Guardian

The secret to great design Asking good design questions will elucidate problems and opportunities  O’Reilly 

Can you guess which of these paintings was not made by a human?  Quartz


You Don't Own the Music, Movies or Ebooks You 'Buy' on Amazon or iTunes  Life Hacker

The Unlikely Endurance of Christian Rock  The New Yorker  


A Blockbuster Store Has Popped Up In London And It's Only Renting Out One Movie Digg


Chancellor’s Husband Is Banned From Campus After Sexual-Harassment Investigation  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Nine former softball players at the Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette filed a federal civil-rights complaint alleging gender discrimination  KATC  

How Faith Changes Campus Sex Assaults  Christianity Today


A World With Fewer Babies Spells Economic Trouble: "The human race is approaching the point where it's no longer reproducing enough to expand the global headcount"  Bloomberg

Thousands of foster children may be getting psychiatric drugs without safeguards, watchdog agency says  Associated Press 

Key findings about U.S. immigrants  Pew Research Center 

Twitter is bringing back the reverse chronological feed of tweets  BoingBoing


The Ultimate Guide to the Best Business Newsletters  Fortune 

The #1 Office Perk? Natural Light  Harvard Business Review 


North Carolina didn't like science on sea levels … so passed a law against it  The Guardian

How the West Was Lost In America’s first climate war, John Wesley Powell tried to prevent the overdevelopment that led to environmental devastation  The Atlantic  


The States With The Best And Worst Life Expectancy, Mapped  Digg 

Risks From Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Outweigh Benefits For Healthy Seniors  NPR 

Can brain-stimulating implants treat some severe cases of autism?  Spectrum News 

Medical students definitely need to learn professionalism. But can it be taught? Stat News


Annual list of the Top 100 Destinations to visit right now  Time Magazine

20 Silly Mistakes That Most Couples Make When They Travel The Travel


Throw Your Children’s Art Away  The Atlantic

Parents with child who are deaf or hard of hearing have new resource in California ABC 30


Single molecule control for a millionth of a billionth of a second  Science Daily  

Scientists May Have Found What Makes Batteries Charge holds a charge for three days when new yet only three hours after you've owned it a while  Popular Mechanics   


Your earliest childhood memory is probably fake  Quartz 

Are the foot soldiers behind psychology’s replication crisis saving science — or destroying it?  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Scientists identify four personality types  The Washington Post


For the first time, a neural link between altruism and empathy toward strangers  Penn Today 

What is your dog really thinking? MRI brain scans might soon provide the answer  Aeon


The Attack On Democracy In The 1930s And Today  NPR

Are Museums Still Important in the Digital Age?  New York Times


A top cancer researcher resigns  after reports that he failed to disclose millions in payments “from health care companies in dozens of research articles”  Propublica   

Inside the 'shadowy world' of China's fake science research black market ABC (Australia)

Who are the world’s top reviewers?  Pulbons 

How Would You Ensure Diversity In Peer Review? Scholarly Kitchen

Academic publishing is a mess and it makes culture wars dumber BongBong

Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free (opinion)  The Guardian


The college-age population will drop 15% between 2025-2029  Hechinger Report 

How Americans have come to see college as a requirement  Washington Post 

Ed Dept reopens a 2011 complaint by a Zionist group that claims Rutgers permitted a hostile environment for Jewish students  New York Times 

Auburn issues statement of disapproval and investigation over fraternity banners   oanow 

Why Is College in America So Expensive?  The Atlantic

If 'Free College' Sounds Too Good To Be True, That's Because It Often Is  NPR

Most Christian Students Believe College Is About Making Money: Study  Christian Post

Two small Christian colleges take a stand against Nike over its Colin Kaepernick ad campaign Washington Post 


How to create a syllabus  Chronicle of Higher Ed

How a Common Course Fosters Teaching Collaboration on One Campus  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Devices dominate teenagers' social lives  Axios 

Meet the Other Empty Nesters: They are Dogs and they are missing their Kids, too  Boston Globe

U. of Nebraska Wondered Whether Conservative Students Were Being Silenced: Here’s What It Found Out  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

5 facts about Americans and video games  Pew Research 


Why I Left a Tenured Job for a Career in Policy  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Prominent health policy researcher resigns from Dartmouth over plagiarism dispute  Stat News 

The University of Southern California fired a professor for being a student at his own institution Daily Trojan 

University of Oklahoma Law professor found connected to anti-Semitic publication  OU Daily 

47 Fake News Signals: Part 5 of 7


36. REPUTATION. Is the writer’s reputation at stake if they are wrong? Does the organization risk loss of reputation or loss of finances if it becomes known for having promoted false news?  

37. RELIABILITY. Has the organization been reliable in the past? Have you read other information from the organization was confirmed to be accurate? 

38. AMATEURISH. Data collected by an amateur is more error-prone than data collected by a professional scientist. Does a quick web search confirm whether the people who collected and organized the data have a good track record of collecting and distributing data.

39. RESPONSE TO CRITICS. Does the publisher respond publicly to its critics when there are reasonable questions? Does it acknowledge when the critics have a point?

40. DATA SOURCES. Look closely at the sources of data the publisher uses: is this material provided by for-profit companies, partisan organizations, or advocacy groups? While it is possible the material is accurate, data from groups with agendas require greater scrutiny than data from nonpartisan organizations. 

41. PAYING THE WRITERS. Content Farms (or Content Mills, if you like) pay very little in return for lots of writing. When news writers are focused on cracking out material to feed the beast, the quality of the work suffers. If you discover a site is considered a Content Farm by professionals or pays writers very little for their work, that’s a big red flag.

42. DIVERSE VOICES. Does the news organization offer diverse perspectives in its articles? A professional outlet will make a concerted effort to give voice to various ethnicities and political persuasions. The more a newsroom focuses on a single viewpoint the greater the likelihood it will leave out significant perspectives from its news converge. 

43. FEEDBACK. Reputable news publishers want readers’ feedback on stories for accuracy and look for help in determining coverage priorities.  

44. AGREEMENT. Do you find yourself agreeing with everything your preferred news outlet says? If so, something is wrong. Find a commentator whose politics don’t match with your own—vary your media consumption to get a balance of perspectives.

45. EASY STORIES. If news outlet overlooks stories worth telling in favor of the stories that can be easily told, it may not have the resources to dive into investigative reporting or may not have the goal of getting beyond low-hanging fruit.


46. YOUR COMMUNITY. There’s no substitute for knowing people who are well-informed and will let you know when you’ve posted something questionable. These are people you can ask when you have your doubts. Don’t know any experts researchers, or information junkies from various fields who are critical and helpful? Make some new friends! Developing such a support system is critical for navigating effectively through life. Read some books written by experts.  

47. FACT-CHECKING SITES. Does a fact-checking site identify the assertion of the article as a hoax? Check one of the sites listed at the end of this article or type the topic of the article into a search engine and add “hoax” or “fake.”   

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7


47 Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7


22. DOT-GOV. Does the site have a dot-gov address? Generally, data provided by government organizations is trustworthy. 

23. DOT-EDU. Does the site have a dot-edu address? Generally, data provided by university research laboratories is reliable.

24. LO & DOT-CO. Websites ending with odd letters like “lo” (such as “Newslo”) or “.co” could be a red flag for fake news sites.

25.COM.COM. Another way to try to trick readers is to add a “com” so the web address almost looks right. For instance “USATodaycom.com.”

26. Country-codeTop-level Domains. The end of some website addresses is a clue to the site’s originating country. For instance, “dot-au” means the site is based in Australia and  “dot-ng” means the site is based in Nigeria. If you find a supposed article about your community on a website coming from a country far away, it probably means the writer isn’t likely to have access to the necessary sources to write a competent story. 

27. ODD NAMES. Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.


28. ABOUT. Check the site’s aboutpage for information about who is behind the operation.  If you aren’t familiar with the name, look for information about who owns it. For instance, the Russian government owns the RT network. What bias you can expect from its news coverage.  

29. DATES. Look for a date on the page to make sure the story is not outdated. Reliable sources want readers to know when the information is posted and will usually have the date clearly displayed near the headline. 

30. WEB DESIGN. Poor web design is a red flag. Is the design out of date when compared to other reputable sites? Is the display navigable and professional?

31. CORRECTIONS. Does the site make corrections as it receives new information and does it make those corrections obvious? Typically, a note will be added to the top or bottom of a news article when even a factual change is made to a story. In a print or broadcast story, the original error should be clearly state along with the correct information.

32. OTHER ARTICLES. Look for information you know to be false in other articles on the site. Does the site offer quality information on other topics besides the one you are investigating.

33. LINKS. More clues can be found by conducting a Goaccess to the original source material so readers can make up their own minds about how it was used. ogle search, using the query “link: website name.” This will indicate what kind of other sites link to the one you are inspecting. If reliable websites refer its readers to the site, that’s a good sign.  

34. COMMUNITY POSTS. Some sites allow bloggers to post pieces under the banner of the news brand (ex: BuzzFeed Community Posts, Kinja blogs, Forbes blogs). The site editors typically do not vet these posts, making the material suspect. 

35. PREVIOUS FAKE NEWS. Do Snopes, Wikipedia, or other such sites show the website in question as having a connection to spreading false information in the past? While Wikipedia is generally pointed in the right direction but can contain some questionable information, the links to other sites it provides can be invaluable in the hunt for truth.  

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7


47 Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7


14. OUTRAGE HEADLINES. Fake news outlets have found stories that make the reader angry can generate more shares. The use of ALL CAPS is a red flag. 

15. HYPERBOLIC HEADLINES. Hyperbolic headlines, claiming you’ll “never believe” the article’s epic content, suggest you shouldn’t click. 

16. AUTHOR ATTRIBUTUION.Lack of author attribution can mean the news story is suspect. Some respected sites, such as The Economist, doesn’t typically identify its writers, but that’s an exception to the rule. Nearly all quality news outlets identify the writer of each article. 

17. AUTHOR CREDENTIALS. Look for other articles by the same author by Googling the person’s name. Have they produced legitimate writing for legitimate news outlets? Their credentials and backgrounds are a guide to the quality of work they are likely to produce as well as the quality of the news outlet you are considering. If the story is about a specialized area, such as health or science, it’s a bonus if the author regularly writes about the subject because the person is also likely to possesses basic knowledge of that particular area.  

18. SUPPORTING PHOTOS. Do accompanying photos visually back up the story’s claims? Do the images even relate to the headline and content?

19. FUNNY PHOTOS. Are photos cropped oddly or taken from some strange angle? Does it appear the photographer was deliberately trying to avoid showing something in the shot? Legit news organizations avoid picking unflattering photos that might bias the reader unless that’s part of the story. This goes for distorted images as well, taken very close to a subject to emphasize someone’s age or physical characteristics. When a site shows a politician or celebrity’s face contorted or just plain goofy in a photo, it’s a subtle attempt to affirm your negative impression of that person and cue you that the article will fit your bias.   

20. MISLEADING GRAPHS. Look closely at any graphs related to an article. Using plot points that misinterpret data can skew the results displayed in the image. Axes should always have labels.

21. BAIT & SWITCH. Reliable websites respect readers by avoiding discrepancies between the headline and the story. Teases designed to trick readers into clicking is a sure sign of a disreputable organization. Reputable sites deliver on the headline’s promise and do not frustrate readers by holding back information in the headline.

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7


47 Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Here are some tips for determining if a story is probably reliable. An organization does not need to tick off all these qualifiers in order to be authentic and accurate, but the more red flags suggest a heathy skepticism is in order. 


1. ORIGINAL REPORTING. Is this source likely to know this information? Does the news organization have reporters attending news conferences in person, working in cities where the news is happening and talking to key sources directly? Or does the organization have to rely on second-hand information from other sites?

2. LONE-WOLF REPORTING. Compare the information with other sites you trust. Are these sites reporting the same information? It’s possible the site might have a scoop, but a lack of multiple independent accounts means it is more likely that the story is false. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of writer and producer bias within a company or the result of the particular focus of the outlet (which may include not offending certain sponsors or other companies owned by the same parent company). Typically, you should expect more than one source reporting on an important topic or event. Plus, it’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames.

3. AP STYLE. Most legitimate news organizations will use the AP Stylebook as a writing guide (no Oxford comma, full name on first reference and only last name thereafter, etc.). Some organizations have developed their own style guides (New York TimesWall Street Journal,etc.) and most news organizations use an in-house style guide (to deal with writing issues that are unique to the publication’s area of reporting).  

4. POOR GRAMMAR. When a writer makes obvious grammatical mistakes they also may not have taken the time to make sure the facts in the article are accurate.

5. ADJECTIVES & ADVERBS. Objective journalism avoids adjectives and adverbs. The more of them used in an article, the more you should question whether the goal of the writer is to inform you or to convince you of something. 

6. BALANCE. Does the article quote, not only more than one side in a dispute, but experts as well? A he-said-she-said story without the opinions of experts in the field is weak reporting. And when there’s only a single source, be hesitant to accept the information outright. 

7. OBJECTIVE. Like the scientist aiming to discover the truth, having some bias does not mean a journalist cannot arrive at the truth through a tested and effective approach (as does the scientific method, despite the bias of the researcher). The complaint that “no one can really be objective” misses the point that it’s not the journalists themselves but the articles that need to be objective. Someone with biases can still put together a “neutral” article. 

8. OPINION. Is the article part of an opinion section? Does the video feature a commentator? Commentary has a long history of having a part inside the pages of newspapers, but many readers confuse an editorial article with news reporting. The same can happen online or on TV news. There’s no need for an opinion piece to be neutral in its presentation. Just don’t confuse it with a unbiased news piece.            

9. DOXING.Doxing is making private information public in order to hurt a person or organization. If writer suggests anything like doxing, run the other way.

10. EMBEDDED LINKS. Quality journalism values clarity over style. Links in the article to original source material shows a commitment to transparency and allows readers can make up their own minds about how it was used.

11. SPONSORED CONTENT. Some news organizations will publish articles similar to what they normally publish—only in this case the material is sponsored by an advertiser. The intention could be to provide legitimate information about a subject while at the same time promoting the advertiser's product. Sometimes referred to as native advertising, reputable publishers will identify the article as “sponsored content” in a prominent location. 

12. LOCAL REPORTING. If the story involved a particular locale, was local expertise included? Was the reporting conducted on the scene?

13. YOUR REACTION. Be sensitive to occasions when you become angry as you read an article. If you are outraged after reading something, the story may be written to manipulate your emotions.

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7



47 Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Four Kinds of News Sites

1-Quality news brands (like the New York Times and the BBC) have earned their reputations over time as consistently reliable news sources. Savvy news readers don’t expect as much from 2-inconsistent outlets that sometimes show bias but are not “fake” (such as Huffington Post, Fox News). Then there are 3-satirical news sources (The Onion and Clickhole). The articles and videos are intentionally fake but intended to be funny or make a point. They aren’t intended to fool anyone. 4-Fake news sites deliberately fabricate stories. These articles are packaged as legitimate journalism and may mix some truth with outright lies in order to deceivereaders or gain clicks.

Google Searches for “Fake News”

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Google Searches for “Fake News” by Region

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The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics encourages journalists to “seek truth and report” and “be accountable and transparent” while doing it. Looking for these qualities is an effective way to separate the fake and the real.

What Fake News is Not

Some people will mislabel rumors, hoaxes, and real news stories they don’t like as “fake news.” Another area of confusion are stories that result from mistaken or bad journalism. 

Sometimes CNN, FOX, and Associated Press (AP) all get it wrong. Sometimes new information changes the basic understanding of what is known publicly. You wouldn’t call this fake news since the motivation of posting the original but mistaken information wasn’t to deceive. Cutbacks that leave newsrooms with fewer reporters and editors make it more likely news sites will get it wrong even when they are trying their best to get it right. The shift from legacy media like newspapers to digital has left the news industry scrambling to figure out how to financially support quality journalism.  

Between the pressure to meet quotas and competition with other publications, writers often don’t get the necessary time to craft thoughtful and nuanced stories—or possess the power to reject an assignment over concerns about amplification.

Inaccurate details, such as reporting that four people are dead in a plane crash instead of six, can be the result of an honest mistake. The wrong number might be heard or written down. 

During times of breaking news, information will quickly shift as it trickles into news organizations. It takes time to get a clear picture of what’s happening. Sometimes law enforcement officials or public relations professionals get the story wrong themselves and send out inaccurate information. At those times, news organizations are simply repeating mistakes. This is most likely to happen when there is only one source of information available when a story breaks. 

It’s worth noting that the approach of legacy news organizations (Washington Post, CNN) differs from new media outlets (BuzzFeed News, Politico). Traditional outlets aim at objectivity or neutral-voice reporting, where the focus is on being balanced, keeping the journalist’s opinions out of reports. Many recently launched news sites are more likely to focus on immediacy and transparency over neutrality, as well as updating readers whenever more information is known. Each approach presents different weaknesses for reporters to overcome. 

The bottom line: be skeptical and bring a critical mind with you to everything you read.

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 6 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7


Tuesday Tools: Writing Scripts

Here are some tools (apps and online) that will help you get your TV or movie script in shape. There are more writing tools at the tech tools site. If you have other suggestions, feel free to send them my way.

Fade In
Script-writing software with similar features toFinal Draft without the price tag. Not as many of the extras that come withFinal Draft but only $50. Windows, Mac, Linux.

Final Draft*
Industry standard for writing screenplays on both Windows and Mac. Notes section for keeping track of characters, special scene view to get an overview, index card system for summaries, etc. $170.

Free script-writing alternative to Final Draft and Fade In. Enough features to get you started.

TV Tropes
Fiction writing help through examination of storytelling devices in creative works.


Articles of Interest - Sept 10


Following heart attack, Father-daughter duo spends summer visiting every MLB ballpark  ABC-7

Young doctor reunited with nurse who helped save his life 28 years ago  Mercury News

Adopted man reunites birth parents, officiates their wedding  New York Times

Boy's Kindness To Another At Seahawks Game  Patch 

When a woman collapsed at the top of a 14,000 feet summit in the Rocky Mountains, strangers banded together to carry her all the way down  Inside Edition 

Falklands veteran Steve Sparkes is first blind person to row Pacific  Exmouth Journal  

Woman saves man after heart attack on first date (and relationship is still going strong!)  NBC Today Show


How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again  The Daily Beast

BBC admits ‘we get climate change coverage wrong too often’  The Guardian

Mexico Is the Deadliest Country for Journalists, but That’s Not Stopping These Students  Vice

'A large grain of salt': Why journalists should avoid reporting on most food studies (opinion)  Canadian Broadcast Corp. 

LGBTQ journalism group apologizes after host refers to attendees at event as 'things and its'  The hill

BuzzFeed, Bourdieu, and Samantha Bee: Here’s a collection of new research on where journalism is headed  Harvard’s Nieman Lab


The Outline has laid off all of its staff writers  Fast Company 


How to shake the fakes out of politics  BBC  

To Resist Manipulation, Ask One Question  Tech News World


Facial recognition tech is ready for its post-phone future  Wired 

***BIG DATA & AI  

Training machines to facilitate curiosity-driven learning  Economist 

An infographic on the data science shortage  Inside Big Data  

Artificial intelligence can estimate an area’s obesity levels by analyzing its buildings  Quarttz 

Machines know when someone’s about to attempt suicide: How should we use that information?  Quartz 

From rust belt to robot belt: Turning AI into jobs in the US heartland  MIT Technology Review   

A chart showing growth in traffic to programming languages as a data science tool and a quiz to show how well do you know R  Towards Data Science 

CERN’s pioneering mini-accelerator passes first test by ‘surfing’ electrons on proton waves over short distances  Nature

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Live Without A Particle Accelerator  Nautilus  


Millennials Deleting Facebook App From Phones  Media Post

Trump, without evidence, accuses social media firms of election meddling: report  Reuters

Sweden’s official Twitter account will no longer be run by random Swedes  The Verge

Instagram is working on a standalone shopping app  Quartz 

Snap launches new styles of Spectacles that look more like traditional sunglasses  The Verge

Many Facebook users don’t understand how the site’s news feed works  Pew Research Center

How social-media platforms dispense justice  Economist


A hack of British Airways’ system left hundreds of thousands of passengers’ financial information exposed, and a big fine could follow  MIT Tech Review

A year later, Equifax lost your data but faced little fallout  TechCrunch

Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook  Pew Research Center 

Dozens of popular iPhone apps caught sending user location data to monetization firms  TechCrunch 


Google wants to kill the url  Wired 

How search engines respond when you look up "suicide"  Fast Company


Trump Says Google Is Rigged, Despite Its Denials. What Do We Know About How It Works? New York Times 

Are Google searches biased in favour of left-leaning news outlets?  Economist


I survived the Warsaw ghetto: Do not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did.. Becoming (my blog)

The Best Thing My Psychic Mom Taught Me Is No One Wants To Hear The Truth  BuzzFeed News

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on  The Guardian

Is happiness a consequence or cause of career success?  The London School of Economics & Political Science 


A striking lapse in the preface to Merriam-Webster  Chronicle of Higher Ed  

23 Jokes All Grammar Nerds Will Absolute Love  BuzzFeed


25 of the new words Merriam-Webster is adding to the dictionary in 2018  Mental Floss 

Classifying languages is about politics as much as linguistics: The nationalism of small linguistic differences  Economist 

How Americans Speak: the latest issue of American Speech, a journal in its 93rd year  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Why your Latin teacher was wrong  Economist


These Are the 20 Books Travelers Are Always Leaving Behind at Their Hotels  Travel & Leisure

Literary Theorists Admit They Still Have No Idea What Animal Farm About  The Onion


Are Women Better Investors? Data suggests women may be better natural investors  Stash Learn 

The Women Code Breakers Who Unmasked Soviet Spies  Smithsonian Magazine 

Why are so many teenage girls appearing in gender clinics? A new paper suggests this may be partly a social phenomenon  Economist 


Jury Settles Nazi-Punching Question: Fines Man $1 For Punching Charlottesville Rally Organizer  NPR  

A Black Restaurant Owner Says He Tried Assisting a White Patron in Distress: Police Arrested Him  New York Times

Ohio Middle School apologizes for a classroom exercise that asked students to pick minorities to toss off a spaceship  New York Times 

After racist coach scandal, Brandeis demotes two administrators, severs ties with another  Inside Higher Ed 


Trump suggests protesting should be illegal  The Washington Post

Misguided Appeal in Grindr Case Is Latest Threat to Online Free Speech EFF


California Bans Prosecution Fees In Most Cases Following Newspaper's Investigation  NPR

Trump Sues U.S. Government For “Pain And Suffering” Due To Becoming President (satire)  Extra News Feed

Lawsuits over journalist Twitter accounts may become more common  Columbia Journalism Review  

East Coast Scientists Win Patent Case Over Medical Research Technology  NPR  

Icy Refusal to Copyright Frigidaire’s Logo  The 1709 Blog


Valentines with Bible verses at heart of free speech lawsuit student filed against college   JS Online 

The Mormon Church Is Trying To Stop A Medical Marijuana Bill In Utah, Testing Its Influence In Its Home State  BuzzFeed News

Nebraska Catholic diocese rocked by old abuse allegations  Associated Press 

U.S. adults are more religious than Western Europeans  Pew Research  

Someone broke into a Fresno church and burned a Christian flag. Is it a hate crime?  Fresno Bee 

What Is Rosh Hashanah: Meaning, Greeting, Food  Metro


Photorealistic Paintings Put You at the Center of Cities Around the World  My Modern Met

Instagram's Boundary-Pushing Documentary Photographers  Vice  


High school football team in Texas finally snaps 77-game losing streak  Star-Telegram

Mississippi homecoming queen boots game-winning extra point  Boston.com

Madison, Alabama's minor league baseball team will inexplicably be named the Rocket City Trash Pandas starting next season  WHNT 

The Men Who Have Taken Wiffle Ball to a Crazy, Competitive Place  New Yorker   

He spent his whole life working toward one goal: The big leagues.. then, it rained  Chicago Tribune


Stephen Colbert Break Down Chance the Rapper’s ‘Favorite Song’  Rolling Stone


The Best Movie From Every Country, Mapped  Digg 

To Make Great Films, You Must Read, Read, Read and Write, Write, Write, Say Akira Kurosawa and Werner Herzog  Open Culture  


Today's College Students Aren't Who You Think They Are  NPR

Study: 1 in 5 College Students Has Weighed Suicide  Inside Higher Ed

Ohio school resource officer on leave after using Taser to wake up a student in class  KGTV-TV 

About 47 percent of Millennials have at least one Tattoo, compared with 13 percent of Baby Boomers Wisconsin Gazette 

6 facts about U.S. students  Pew Research Center 

Students Are Sharing The Differences Between Teachers In High School And College And They Are Hilariously True  BuzzFeed News

The Cities Where Millennials Have The Most Debt, Mapped  Digg 


Should We Still Cite the Scholarship of Serial Harassers and Sexists?  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Research is adding up the cost of campus rape and sexual assaults  Quartz   


The US Government's Discretionary Spending Since 1963, Visualized  Digg

Fundraising with cryptocurrencies is booming, but is that a good thing?  Economist  

Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator  Pew Research Center

How to put bitcoin into perspective The best-known cryptocurrency has been a failure as a means of payment, but thrilling for speculators  Economist

Cryptocurrencies look like a solution in search of a problem. Blockchains could be more interesting  Economist


BBC admits ‘we get climate change coverage wrong too often’  The Guardian

California Just Became the First State to Ban Beauty Products Tested on Animals  Glamour

The sinking islands of the Southern US  BBC


Probiotics labelled 'quite useless'  BBC  

This hyper-real robot will cry and bleed on med students  Wired 

Researchers develop method to convert cells in open wounds into skin cells  Salk Insitute 

Over the past 40 years, the average sperm count has fallen by more than 50% - even more disturbing is the fact that this decline is accelerating  GQ

How To Tell Whether Your Seafood Is Cooked Properly Or Not  YouTube

How a shampoo bottle is saving young lives A doctor in Bangladesh has found a simple way to treat infant pneumonia  Economist 

In story about 'latest generation' of weight loss drugs, NBC overlooks doctors' pharma ties HealthNewsReview.org 


Why the 10,000 daily steps goal is built on bad science  The Guardian

Over 1.4 billion people worldwide don't get enough exercise  USA Today


2,300 Americans hospitalized by pizza in 2017  Daily Mail  

Risk of heart attacks is double for daily e-cigarette users  Science Daily 

New warning to pregnant women, nursing mothers: Stay off the marijuana  The Inquirer 

Food Safety Scares Are Up In 2018: Here's Why You Shouldn't Freak Out  NPR


Top Museums in the World  Trip Advisor  

The cities that make living easy  BBC 


Trump admin rejected report showing refugees did not pose major security threat  NBC News  

ACLU Launches Search In Guatemala For Parents Who Were Deported Without Children  NPR


Confessions of a Science Critic  Two Psychologists, Four Beers 


When Postpartum Depression Doesn't Go Away  The Atlantic

Moral Reminders Have No Effect on Cheating Behavior, Replication Effort Concludes Psychological Science 

The enduring appeal of personality types How a mother-and-daughter duo invented the world’s most influential personality test  Economist

Sigmund Freud Speaks: Hear the Only Known Recording of His Voice, 1938  Open Culture 


Three post-war liberals strove to establish the meaning of freedom: Berlin, Rawls and Nozick put their faith in the sanctity of the individual  Economist

Does altruism exist? Science and philosophy weigh in  BigThink 


Why work is exhausting even when it involves no physical labor  Vox

Evernote slashes price of Premium subscription as many executives depart  The Verge


When Is It OK to Tell a Well-Meaning Lie?  Harvard Business Review

Who’s to blame when a machine botches your surgery?  Quartz 


A documentary on the tug of war over paywalls in scholarly publishing  Nature

Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole  Quillette 

All 10 senior editors of a journal resign after alleged pressure to publish mediocre papers  Science Mag 

Peer review is no substitute for fact-checking: The likely mistaken history of the vibrator  The  Atlantic  

Shutterstock Former University of Utah researcher wins damages in whistleblower case KSL

A transparent process to publish referees’ reports could benefit science, but not all researchers want their assessments made available (opinion)  Nature


Getting Inside the Mind of a Plagiarist  Literary Hub 

Idea Plagiarism and Ethics in Competitive Research  The Wire  

Plagiarism is innovation's cul-de-sac (opinion)  Bangkok Pist


Do Chief Diversity Officers Help Diversify a University’s Faculty? This Study Found No Evidence Chronicle of Higher Ed  

The top 10 most highly-educated states in America  Tech Republic 

Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other Ethical Issues in Higher Education Springer

Campuses prepare for the invasion of the electric scooter  Slate  

Perlego raises $4.8M for its ‘Spotify for textbooks’  Tech Crunch  


Liberty University dismissed from civil case linked to 2009 international kidnapping  News Advance

In wake of Colin Kaepernick ads, Liberty reexamining business relationship with Nike College Football Talk 

Christian liberal-arts college, College of the Ozarks to Drop Nike from Uniforms After Colin Kaepernick Campaign  Bleacher Report

Christian College Says Accrediting Agency's Proposed Guideline Change May Harm Religious Schools  Christian Post

Baptist College dismisses man for being gay  Citizens Voice 


How the accusations against Avital Ronell are playing out on the syllabus and in the classroom Chronicle of Higher Ed 


How I survive: American teachers and their second jobs – a photo essay  The Guardian 

A professor schemed to get a raise and win his department’s respect. Instead, he wrecked his career  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Purdue University Global will no longer require its faculty members to sign a nondisclosure agreement  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

A University of Kansas professor has canceled his office hours, saying he doesn't feel safe because state law permits the concealed carry of firearms on campus  The University Daily Kansan 

Controversial Fresno State prof back teaching for first time since tweet celebrating Barbara Bush’s death  Fresno Bee 

The Way We Hire Now  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Santa Barbara City College ex-philosophy instructor agree to $120,000 settlement  The Channels

Faculty members push back on one university's expansion plans Education Dive

I survived the Warsaw ghetto

Do not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did. This may seem the most obvious lesson to be passed down, but only because it is the most important. One moment I was enjoying an idyllic adolescence in my home city of Lodz, and the next we were on the run. I would only return to my empty home five years later, no longer a carefree boy but a Holocaust survivor and Home Army veteran living in fear of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD. I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting in a war of independence for a Jewish homeland I didn’t even know I had.

Perhaps it is because I was only a child that I did not notice the storm clouds that were gathering, but I believe that many who were older and wiser than me at that time also shared my childlike state.

If disaster comes, you will find that all the myths you once cherished are of no use to you. You will see what it is like to live in a society where morality has collapsed, causing all your assumptions and prejudices to crumble before your eyes. And after it’s all over, you will watch as, slowly but surely, these harshest of lessons are forgotten as the witnesses pass on and new myths take their place.

Stanisław Aronson, 93 years old, writing in The Guardian 

Kindness in Anger

The hardest time to practice kindness is, of course, during a fight—but this is also the most important time to be kind. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship.

“Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express our anger,” psychologist Julie Gottman explained, “but the kindness informs how we choose to express the anger. You can throw spears at your partner. Or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.”

Emily Esfahani Smith writing in The Atlantic