Breaking news checklist

Grades: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12+

When big news breaks, it can be hard to cut through the noise and find accurate information. Misinformation thrives during times of war, natural disasters and upheaval — and bad actors often spread falsehoods for cheap engagement on social media.

This infographic offers six best practices to help you navigate fast-moving stories:

  1. Mind the gap: Keep in mind that there’s often a gap between what the public wants to know and the verified information available. Unconfirmed or completely bogus content often rushes in to fill that gap.
  2. Beware bad actors: Remember that bad actors often capitalize on breaking news situations to spread falsehoods for easy likes and shares.
  3. Do a quick search: This is often your best defense against misinformation.
  4. Look for evidence: Claims that make bold assertions but provide no links or other evidence should always be approached with caution.
  5. Seek credible sources: Be intentional about looking for credible news and not relying on social media algorithms to bring you updates.
  6. Practice patience: Quality journalism and verification take time. Be ready to follow news developments over time.

Remember: Early details in news reports may turn out to be incorrect, and it might take days or even weeks to untangle initial accounts in a major story. The last thing you want to do is add to the fog of confusion by sharing an unverified post or visual. Slowing down and following these tips can help keep you anchored as the story continues to unfold.

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