The Journalistic Approach: Evaluating Web Sources in an Age of Mass Disinformation
Elmwood, Victoria. (2020). "The Journalistic Approach: Evaluating Web Sources in an Age of Mass Disinformation." Communications in Information Literacy, 14 (2), 269–286. https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2020.14.2.6
A new approach to teaching web source evaluation is necessary for an internet that is increasingly littered with sources of questionable merit and motivation. Initially pioneered by K–12 educational specialists, the journalistic model avoids the cognitive duality of the checklist and a reliance on opaque terms and concepts. Instead, it recommends students apply the six journalistic questions of what, who, where, when, why, and how when evaluating freely available web sources. This approach outlines an evaluative procedure that is open-ended, discursive, and analytic in nature as opposed to formulaic and binaristic. It also requires students to consider both the context of the information need and a source’s potential use as central to its evaluation.