There are times when you investigate the source (Move Two), you’ll find that the source is sufficient for your needs. Other times, however, you may question the reliability of a source. Often, you don't care about the source of the article, but instead, you care about the claim the article is making. You want to know: if it is true or false? Does it represents a consensus viewpoint, or is it the subject of much disagreement?
That’s where Move Three comes into play! When the reliability of an initial source is questionable, and you just care about the claim, your best strategy might be to find other trusted reporting or analysis on the claim. To find better coverage, you can do a “quick check” on a claim/story. Simply type keywords from the article title into Google and (1) observe any consensus, disagreement, or controversy on the story, and (2) determine whether the claim is true or false by trying to find reporting by other sources you can confirm are credible. If your Google search shows that this story is being covered by multiple outlets, that’s a good sign—after all, most big (true) stories will get covered by multiple, major news outlets.
Social Media, News Stories, and “Trading Up”
What is trading up? When you Google search a claim and get a story from a reliable news source that has a verification process in place, you not only verify the claim, but you end up with a better story to use and/or share with others. The idea behind trading up is that you can use things like social media to discover relevant stories, but then take the time to "find the best reporting or analysis on them." Watch this video below (4:28), as Caulfield attempts to "trade up" and find trusted coverage on suspicious Coronavirus claims found on social media:
When you use social media in this way, you let social media do what it does best (personalized topic discovery) while relying on either news or other searches to address social media's big problem (credibility, clickbait, manipulation). If you find a better story on the subject, share that story instead, and in doing so make social media a bit better for everyone.
Reverse Image Search to Find Trusted Coverage
Quite often claims or stories will come to you in the form of images. If you want to find trusted coverage of the issue, claim, or photo, you have a couple of options:
Below is how to reverse image search in Google Chrome, but other browsers have similar methods.
Keep in mind that if reverse image search is difficult due to the device or browser you are using, you can usually get pretty far with a text search of Google Images. The video below (1:30) will show you examples of using reverse image search to find trusted coverage:
This SIFT method guide was adapted from Michael Caulfield's "Check, Please!" course. The canonical version of this course exists at http://lessons.checkplease.cc. The text and media of this site, where possible, are released into the CC-BY, and free for reuse and revision. We ask people copying this course to leave this note intact so that students and teachers can find their way back to the original (periodically updated) version if necessary. We also ask librarians and reporters to consider linking to the canonical version.
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