The News Evaluator is a tool that teaches an evidence-based method for online source criticism. It is available in Swedish and English for use by those wanting to teach source criticism, as well as anyone wanting to learn how to evaluate the credibility of online news themselves.

 

In today’s media landscape, many people, especially young people, often get information about current events from websites and social media. At the same time, there are actors who are using these channels to spread fear and prejudice through false news. To be able to critically review news, a high level of education and general critical attitude is not enough. Anyone can be tricked by false news, regardless of whether they are a primary school pupil or a senior professor. The best way to determine if a news item is credible is to follow a set of research-based principles. In the News Evaluator, these principles have been used to develop a tool for teaching digital source criticism.

Using the tool, pupils collect, categorise and evaluate news according to a research-based method used by professional fact-checkers. In this way, they learn how to critically evaluate the news in their own digital feeds, while at the same time contributing to new knowledge about the nature of young people’s newsfeeds.

The News Evaluator ​​project started in 2017 as a mass experiment run as part of the European Researchers’ Night in Sweden. A second phase of the project began in 2018 and resulted in the development of a tool that can be used by both schools and the general public.

A News Evaluator Election Special was also run in September 2018, whereby pupils helped researchers investigate political news in young people’s digital feeds prior to the Swedish general election.

The latest addition to the News Evaluator is a self-test, whereby the user is given the task to determine the credibility of nine real news items shared via social media. Halfway through the test, some feedback is given along with some short instructional videos on how to conduct a news evaluation. The user can then try out their new knowledge on several more news items.

You can access the News Evaluator self-test at https://www.newsevaluator.com/

Anyone interested in translating the tool into their native language to launch it in their own country, should contact Fredrik Brounéus at VA (Public & Science) or lead researcher Thomas Nygren, Uppsala University.

The News Evaluator is a collaboration between the Swedish non-profit organisation VA (Public & Science), Uppsala University and the research institute RISE Interactive. The project has been funded by Vinnova and Uppsala University.

For more information, please visit http://nyhetsvarderaren.se/in-english/ or contact Fredrik Brounéus, a researcher and press officer at VA.

 

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