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Navigating Online News and Information (NONI)

Navigating Online News and Information Overview - Infographic

navigating online news and information infographic

Navigating Online News and Information Overview - Extended Text Version

You may explore more fully the various tactics in the pages linked from the navigation menu. The tactics described in this guide should be practiced repeatedly and in coordination with each other, such that they become a set of habits and dispositions toward sources of information, much like those described in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. But, as you start out, it is worthwhile to try out each tactic separately and hone your skill.

Summary

When you encounter a piece of information online (a factual claim, a picture or video used as evidence, a news article from an unfamiliar source, an argument about a current event or issue, a meme quote, etc.), you can evaluate that information for validity and credibility by following these tactics:

Slow Down

Stop (or slow down) and adopt a skeptical (not cynical) attitude toward the information

Read Laterally

Read laterally by going away from the information source and finding a trusted source that can corroborate or provide more context for the information

  1. Read laterally about the source of information: Is this website known for credible news and information? If not, what is it known for? What do other people say about this source of information?
  2. Read laterally about the information, ideas, and arguments: Do other trusted sources of information corroborate the facts, ideas, claims, and evidence provided in this information? Does the evidence actually support the claim? Does the source use any common logical/argumentative fallacies?
  3. Read laterally using Wikipedia: Simply type into a search engine the name of a website, individual person, or organization that you want to learn more about, and then type Wikipedia next to the name.This will allow you to get the Wikipedia entry (if one exists) on that person or group.

Exercise Restraint

Make it a habit to slow down and be mindful about the information you engage with and consume. Exercise restraint when you encounter suspicious information. Avoid clicking on "click bait," clicking on only the first search result, or sharing information within your social networks until after you have read laterally and confirmed the credibility of information.

Be mindful of the strengths and dangers of social media for finding news and information and participating in public discourse. Social media platforms are designed to make a profit off of your attention and "engagement" by selling your attention to advertisers, and thus they encourage "engagement" at all costs, including at the cost of trusted information and balanced coverage of issues.