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Real News


1. The News Environment

A guide to reading (and sharing) news in the "post-truth" world.
Image showing a jumble of news headlines and online news and social media

How do you sort out...

  • real or fake?
  • ads & propaganda or honest information?
  • my own bubble or my own open & critical thinking? 

logos of washington post, mashable, and weekly world news


Old (print and broadcast) media, new (blog, vlog, and social) media. This is journalism now, an industry that reports stories and packages and sells them to make advertising revenue from clicks. What ethics govern this industry?

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This is you, your friends, your crazy uncle, and public figures and bots. What are your responsibilities? How do you engage and share? What is your impact?

logos of facebook, twitter, youtube, and google

Global Platforms

Global search and social media apps deliver news content to you via algorithms that assess your engagement. What are their motives and responsibilities? How do those opaque algorithms affect what people see? 


This guide tries to help you make sense of the whole picture. The news environment has 3 big areas:

  1. Publishers/Broadcasters
  2. Readers/Sharers
  3. Global Platforms

Use this guide to learn more about the three areas of the news environment, and find tools to help you account for how each one of these areas affects the quality and accuracy of the news you find and share.

Share Responsibly

Don't share information pollution!

  1. Stop: Don't let your moral outrage or approval push you into sharing information pollution.
  2. Read: Read the whole article, not just the headline. Who wrote it? Who published it? What are their purposes? Are claims supported by evidence? What's the ratio of pollution to solid information?
  3. Think: What's the benefit of sharing this? Will it deepen dialog? Will it further entrench and polarize?

Old News Guide

Looking for the old News Know-How guide?