How to Know Which News Stories to Trust

How to Know Which News Stories to Trust

( – With concern about mainstream media bias at an all-time high, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine what news sources to trust. Fortunately, a group of California State University librarians developed a system known as CRAAP for determining the reliability of the information. Initially designed for librarians and scholars, the system is straightforward and simple to use.

Its five components are Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Each provides some basic questions to ask yourself to help you identify false or unreliable information.


The first thing you want to check out is the timeliness of the information. When was the article published or posted online? Was it updated, and if so, how recently?


Does the news story relate directly to your topic of interest? Is the article consistent with other data or articles you have read? Who is the intended audience for the information?


Who is the author, or what is the source, of the article? Is it a well-respected website, news organization, or educational institution? Is the author(s) or institution an expert in the relevant field? Do they have any credentials, professional affiliations, licenses, or degrees?


Where did the information originate? Is the news story supported by evidence? If it’s a scholarly article, has it been peer-reviewed or supported by any other sources? Do the overall language and tone sound objective, or do they sound opinion-based? Are there any obvious spelling or grammar errors in the piece?


What is the stated purpose of the article? Is it to entertain, inform, sell something, or persuade you to agree with it? Is it listed as a news article or an op-ed piece? Does it include any cultural, ideological, religious, or personal biases?

Determining the accuracy of news stories might appear daunting at first. However, using the suggestions discussed above should provide a good starting point for filtering out bad information. Additionally, taking your time and applying a little common sense helps too.

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