In this day and age, there is a constant barrage of news and influx of information from the media that comes in through our devices and television. There are also many claims by those of both sides of the political spectrum that there is fake news surrounding us every day. But how does one pick between the facts and fiction?

With the help of social media, news has the ability to reach an incredible amount of people within a short amount of time. While on one hand, this is excellent because it allows information to be transferred easily, but it also allows misinformation to be shared thousands of times. We have all seen Facebook posts that have ridiculous headlines that entice readers to click further.

There have been multiple examples of news outlets delivering the wrong information because they were quoting a source that was unreliable. In order to decipher whether or not a source is credible, first consider these steps that actual fact checkers use.

Read through the content

Simply reading the headline is not enough. Real news sources will typically be grammatically correct, have little spelling errors, and confusing sentence structure. While not always the case, there shouldn’t be any of these mistakes in the writing of an official news document. While headlines are used to draw in audiences, be cautious of headlines that urge you to read it within the headline itself.

Look at the publication

If you find yourself reading from a personal blog or a particularly biased news source, take articles with a grain of salt. Also, read about the author if you’re unsure about the content that was¬†written in the article. Do they write often and use objective language, or does it seem like they have an agenda? Figure out their qualifications and where else they make their work public.

Check the media

Illegitimate news sources are more likely to use stock photos and ones that are readily available to everyone. If it does look genuine, you can also do an image search on Google to determine whether or not it should have been used in the article.