Fact-checking is what happens in a newsroom before an article is published (whether online or on the print edition): it means going through every part of the written text, making sure that what the journalist wrote is correct, factual and true. If there are people interviewed throughout the piece, they have to be contacted for confirmation that they said what is quoted in the feature; reported data have to be corroborated by independent sources, as are dates, places and details.
Doing some fact-checking isn’t just limited to the newsroom, either. Readers can do their bit of fact-checking when they read any type of news, not just suspicious items that may look fake or exaggerated. Doing a bit of fact-checking is easy, doesn’t take much time at all when it’s done at home in front of your tablet or computer, and in turn, makes for a much more informed reader.
It will suffice to go on a search engine of your choice to look for the same news item you’ve just read. If it shows up with pretty much the same details on many other media or news sources, then you’re on the safe side: the news is authentic.