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Information and Media Literacy: How to Spot the Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Ugly

Information and media are everywhere, and it can be hard to keep up with, let alone to ensure the news you are receiving is accurate. This guide is designed to encourage you to examine the information you receive and feel you can determine its quality.


Humans are prone to bias, which we define here as an attitude that always favors one way of feeling or acting over any other. Therefore, anything that humans create--including information--is also prone to bias. Unrestrained bias can result in unfair treatment. 

When you check information, it is important to look for underlying bias. Discovering bias does not mean that you should completely disregard any information, but rather, you should carefully consider how much weight you give to that information.

Below you will find several sources that may help you think about ways to address bias during your information checking:

Just as individuals are biased to prefer certain people, groups, or things, organizations also have biases. This includes newsrooms and other distributors of information. Organizational bias can influence the kinds of stories that are carried on a website and the way that those stories are told. Several groups monitor news bias and report on it online, as can be viewed in the links below.

Using bias charts like these can help you get started in thinking about media bias. However, you still should investigate information on your own for bias and other problems through methods like the Information Checking Strategies listed here.