This reblog is thanks to Jon Udell, a very tech-minded blogger I follow. He is working on an application that looks promising. It might just make it easier and quicker to determine fake news from real news, well, at least those tricky ones. (Well, until they find another way around it…)

Until then… here’s some of my tips and how I attempt* to determine a story’s veracity (truth):

The general rules still apply – any story is suspect if one or all of the following are true:

• The language used in the article is biased and/or overly emotional. i.e. “ARE YOUR CHILDREN BEING TAUGHT ISLAM IN PUBLIC SCHOOL?!” (lol)
• Sources are not cited in the text or at the end of the article.
• There is no posting date anywhere and/or the posting date is recent or a repost of old news, re-hyped for ad-click purposes. (NOTE: the app mentioned above with search the html code for you for the original posting date… yay!)
• The website address is misspelled, truncated, and/or has an additional ‘dot-something’ at the end. (i.e. cnn-dot-com-dot-co is FAKE)
• The news site is unfamiliar. (i.e. ‘liberty presshouse’ or some weird conglomeration thereof…) If I’ve never heard of it, I immediately start to check all the more common news sites for record of the same or a similar story.

All I will add is that, yes, as of today’s date, press houses and media outlets have been forced into a comic book hero scenario since the inception of Fox News. Superman created Lex Luther, right? The Joker created Batman… the list is long…

So, yes… Fox News forced news agencies to represent the ‘other side’… but:

– The very concept of FREE PRESS, is a LIBERAL ideal.
– There is a difference between left-leaning and full-out Liberal. Yes, NPR is left-leaning, but has had some of the more insightful articles. Yes, CNN is still struggling to find its’ footing in the left vs. right playing field and more often than not, take NO stand – even when it is appropriate to…

I hope this tool helps us to start to separate fake news from real news…

For now… TURN OFF THE NEWS FEED ON FACEBOOK. It will only upset you…

And to the media… CAN WE PLEASE JUST GO BACK TO THE EVENING NEWS HOUR? And lose all the filler crap?

*Yes, even I make mistakes… but I would rather err on the side of an overly hyped story being FALSE than getting upset over nothing and having to stay upset just to save face…

Jon Udell

Mike Caulfield’s Digital Polarization Initiative (DigiPo) is a template for a course that will lead students through exercises to analyze and fact-check news stories. The pedagogical approach Mike describes here is evolving; in parallel I’ve been evolving a toolkit to help students research and organize the raw materials of the analyses they’ll be asked to produce. Annotation is a key component of the toolkit. I’ve been working to integrate it into the fact-checking workflow in ways that complement the use of other tools.

We’re not done yet but I’m pleased with the results so far. This post is an interim report to summarize what we’ve learned so far about building an annotation-powered toolkit for fact checkers.

Here’s an example of a DigiPo claim to be investigated:

EPA Plans to Allow Unlimited Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico (see Occupy)

I start with no a priori knowledge…

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