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How to Spot a Bogus News Site

Don’t be embarrassed: It’s easier than ever to be fooled by a “pink slime” site.

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In partnership with
The News Literacy Project

Vetting news sources has never been more difficult than in today’s most complex information environment. With no shortage of websites and social media accounts claiming to be credible—often propagated by bad-faith actors—how can you tell what’s legit from what’s not? The crisis of local news outlets shutting down across the country has only exacerbated this problem, making it easier for nefarious forces to fill the void with “pink slime” sites with misleading names.

In the links below, we explore the problem but also offer resources to help you or your community avoid being fooled by sites and people masquerading as legitimate news outlets.

Beware Partisan ‘Pink Slime’ Sites That Pose as Local News

Margaret Sullivan
The Washington Post

News Literacy Project: “Now-former Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes about the crisis of local news deserts—areas that have lost outlets that, for many years, were trusted sources of journalism—and how partisan news sites disguised as legitimate have filled these voids to push partisan agendas with news-looking propaganda.”

Building Trust in an Age of Disinformation [LISTEN]

The Aspen Institute

NLP: “Aspen Digital Executive Director Vivian Schiller discusses how businesses and media can build trust in a time rife with disinformation. Though she says we’ve never had as much high-quality journalism as we do now, there are consequences to an oversaturated market—some credible sources may be drowned out by those who don’t value accuracy or authenticity. This is why media players must be responsible for holding industry peers accountable and safeguarding reliable information sources.”

How News Works

Trusting News

NLP: “With trust in news at an all-time low, it’s never been more important for newsrooms to be transparent about their work—and explain the decisions that the average consumer of their product might not initially understand. On this page, Trusting News provides highlights of newsrooms being exemplary in this practice.”

News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan education nonprofit, is building a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals—and ultimately a stronger democracy. Learn more about its work at newslit.org.