Fact checking using the Internet

Amanda Sturgill | Baylor University

When I teach fact checking to my students, I demonstrate some online resources with which they may not be familiar. I check the university records for students' home addresses and, ahead of class, find some who have very close-in pictures on Microsoft's TerraServer or on Google maps. I don't identify who lives at the addresses I type in, but students are often amazed at the level of detail - cars in the driveway, etc.

Our county has its tax records accessible online. We look up the tax records of some prominent citizens of town (the mayor, the head football coach, our congressional representative, etc.) and can see their home value. I think it gives the students a sense of what a public record may contain.

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