There's a lot of less-than-productive talk about "fake news" these days, including discussions about precisely what it means. At first, it meant fabricated stories produced to make money off ads, the more clickbaity, the better. That's a pretty bananas scam, and we ought to punish those people up the wazoo.

Of course, then there's actual parody news, like The Onion, which people bizarrely still (sometimes) take seriously. That's probably necessary for parody to survive – the credulity or hostile response from skeptical people outside the joke. I'm not sure there's another way to write satire, but certainly the best way to write satire is to write a silly story that some people (however few) believe to be sincere. There might not be a way around it, and making things too obvious kills the humor. We need those cultural antibodies, building our ability to notice nonsense, and The Onion sets a pretty low standard for that skill set. Obviously, they deserve tons of praise.

There's also lazy news. This is shockingly common, yet people still dive into it on purpose, as though they're learning something. I don't get it, but I suppose it's similar to the strange addictive powers of social media. Don't do it kids: CNN ain't worth it.

I've been somewhat distressed by how lazy almost all corporate news is, and I've completely switched away from places that have let me down more than once (without correction and/or apology). I listen to people who disagree with me, so long as they're not hilariously thoughtless, and I'm decently consistent about ruling people in for good ideas but ruling them out for dishonesty (or time wasting, because reality imposes its constraints on us all). But I guess the normal person's view is that news is out of their hands. That's never been the case, but it's so hilariously wrong now that being regularly misinformed is humiliating. I feel embarrassed by it, at least, and I'm not particularly embarrassed by not knowing anything, which I think is also very healthy. The worst scenario is to be ignorant but think you know something.

But if you insist on terrible news, as many seem to do, we ought to reward those who do small things to make it easier, or better. Here's a small showcase I encourage you to help me build:

Just Says In Mice retweets news stories making major health claims and clarifies they only see those health effects... in mice.

Saved You A Click spoils a clickbait headline so that you don't feed the strange advertiser-driven beast. Obviously, some things need deeper discussion. I think you'll find they don't "save" a lot of clicks to those pieces.

Andrew Gelman's blog, where bad statistics are crushed in the mighty fist of an actual expert. Read, if only so you will learn the humility to notice when things aren't trustworthy, which is essentially always. Don't trust papers, trust people.

Mediawise, which does some basic media literacy work and will (occasionally) help people figure out if something is nonsense.

Snopes, which is self-recommending. Note: they do have a somewhat famous trap-fact for those wishing to copy them, which means you must be skeptical of their posts as well. Obviously, this is very good.

Politifact has a very specific and strange point of view, but if you ignore their editorializing, they do tend to give much needed context for almost everything they write about. seems reasonable, but I do not use them as a source regularly. That being said, isn't the whole point of this to expand your source-pool and grab more context from many trustworthy places? So I recommend this almost as strongly as everything else in the list.