Real News About Fake News

Last Sunday, the Madison-Chenango Call to Action held a discussion at our library titled “The News…Truth or Fiction,” which I attended as a panelist.  While preparing my remarks for the event, I realized that the subject would also make a great newspaper column, so for all that did not attend, here is the Cliff’s Notes version of my presentation.  For those that did attend, feel free to skip the column this week.

Below is an eight-step checklist on how to spot fake news, reprinted without permission from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).  That group states that the “mission of libraries is to educate and advocate” the importance of critical thinking in media and information literacy. So here you go! To put their checklist into practice, I held IFLA’s website up to a mirror to see if they passed their own test:

  1. Consider the Source:  In this case, much of the IFLA’s information was legitimate, lots of other things on their website were about conferences and would be considered ‘dull’ to a non-librarian.  
  2. Read Beyond:  Even IFLA’s Wikipedia page was boring, so that checks out.
  3. Check the Author:  It looks like “IFLA Staff” is attributed to this one.  
  4. Supporting Sources:  Checking this website and its links revealed no surprises, it would be a pretty elaborate scheme to create all this seemingly neutral propaganda.
  5. Check the Date:  The last time this was updated was February 28, 2018.
  6. Is it a Joke:  Again, elaborate and not very funny.  The only person who could possibly pull of something of this caliber would be the one who set up the panel discussion, Josh Finnell.
  7. Check Your Biases:  Being pro-library, this one’s tough for me.
  8. Ask an Expert:  Maybe I should check with another librarian?

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Still confused about fake news? Connect with Travis L. Olivera at the Hamilton Public Library by phone at (315) 824-3060 or by email at

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One Response to Real News About Fake News

  1. Diane Halloran says:

    WOW! Looks great!

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