University Library at St. Cloud State University

ENGL 333 - Advanced Civic Writing (Inkster)

The Consolidation of Mass Media
The Mechanics of Fact-Checking
Fact checking is as much art as science, and there's no one good way to do it. Here are a couple of articles on fact checking and processes.

"Ask TON: How to fact check." From The Open Notebook, an online resource for science journalists.

"The Manti Te'o scandal: How to fact-check in the digital age." From 10,000 Words, a MediaBistro blog on journalism and technology.
Ethics in Journalism and Media
Poynter Institute Unrestricted Resource
Web site of the Poynter Institute, a major resource in journalism. Includes links to resources in journalism, associations, calendar of events, tracking of top stories.

FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting
FAIR is a national organization that performs a sort of watchdog function for the media. Since 1986, they have offered non-partisan, impartial criticism of media matters and brought attention to instances of media bias and lack of objectivity in the mainstream media. 

Columbia Journalism Review
CJR is published under the auspices of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and is highly respected for its coverage of media issues. Check out the "Who Owns What" feature to find out what companies own which newspapers, or do a simple search for "fact checking" for resources on fact checking in the media. 

Fact Checking and Debunking Online, a sister publication of, fact checks and analyzes arguments and claims made by politicians, researchers, and other public figures in support of various issues in the media. A great place to check the accuracy of claims made about climate change, medical research, insurance, and so forth.

David Emory's 
Urban Legends page
David Emory has maintained the Urban Legends page at since 1997. A freelance journalist, he tracks myths online and off, and has achieved some notoriety for his debunking of many myths associated with 9/11. Click on the "Basics" tab for information on spotting and debunking rumors and hoaxes.

Founded in 1995, is the granddaddy of all online debunking pages. regularly reports on urban legends and myths in all areas of society, including politics. Look to the left side of the page for links to fact checks on rumors about the presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
On this website, you'll find lots of great free resources here on how to avoid the most popular scams, identity theft threats, and urban legends making the rounds. 

Fact Checking Political Campaigns
CQ Weekly Restricted Resource Some full text available
A weekly publication covering events in Washington. Includes in-depth reports on congressional issues, a summary of the previous week's news, committee and floor activity, and debates and roll-call votes. Cancelled; access ended on 31 October 2014.
More of a research organization than a press outlet, the Center for Responsive Politics tracks how money is spent in American politics: who spends it, how much, and on whom. They are rigorously nonpartisan in outlook.
A collaboration between CQ Press and the Saint Petersburg Times (Florida), this site features the "Truth-O-Meter," which measures the truthfulness of statements made by candidates for public offices, and the "Flip-O-Meter," which notes when the opinions of the candidates as reflected in their statements have changed. Informative and entertaining. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, but maintains staff and funding separate from the university. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan, and is funded entirely by the Annenberg Foundation. It is staffed primarily by professional journalists and fact checkers. 

Partisan Fact Checkers
From the web page: "Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."

From the web page: "Welcome to NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center (MRC), the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias. In August of 2005, with the guidance of Matthew Sheffield of Dialog New Media, the MRC [Media Research Center] launched the NewsBusters blog to provide immediate exposure of liberal media bias, insightful analysis, constructive criticism and timely corrections to news media reporting."

Subject Specialist
Picture: Olivia Olivares

Olivia Olivares
Associate Professor, Business Librarian
(320) 308-4822

Olivia's contact hours
At the library's Reference Desk:

Tuesday, 9:00 - 11:00 pm
Wednesday, 2:00 - 3:00 pm

Office hours:

Monday, 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Thursday, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

If the above is not convenient, please call or e-mail me to make an appointment
State and Local Politics - A Caveat
Unfortunately, there are few larger, nationally prominent news outlets that concern themselves with small (county and municipal) elections unless a candidate does something embarrassing or scandalous. Likewise, most of the larger, state-wide news organizations (here in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, WCCO-TV or other television news channels based in Minneapolis-St Paul) do not cover news in smaller towns except in the aggregate. Consequently, there are few places to find news coverage of city or county elections unless one looks in the local newspapers like the St Cloud Times ( 

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