Nick Robins-Early, World News Reporter for The Huffington Post, wrote this 22 November 2016 article that identifies nine steps that readers can use to identify fake news stories.
The Huffington Post on How to Recognize a Fake News Story https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fake-news-guide-facebook_n_5831c6aae4b058ce7aaba169
Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo. These sites take pieces of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts” (sometimes for the purposes of satire or comedy).
Watch out for websites that end in “.com.co” as they are often fake versions of real news sources
Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting on the story. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.
Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.
Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification.
Some news organizations are also letting bloggers post under the banner of particular news brands; however, many of these posts do not go through the same editing process (ex: BuzzFeed Community Posts, Kinja blogs, Forbes blogs).
Check the “About Us” tab on websites or look up the website on Snopes or Wikipedia for more information about the source.
Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can also be a sign that the source you’re looking at should be verified and/or read in conjunction with other sources.
If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you read wasn’t purposefully trying to make you angry (with potentially misleading or false information) in order to generate shares and ad revenue.
If the website you’re reading encourages you to DOX individuals, it’s unlikely to be a legitimate source of news.
It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames. Some sources not yet included in this list (although their practices at times may qualify them for addition), such as The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News, vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic, and/or hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources.
For more tips on analyzing the credibility and reliability of sources, please check out School Library Journal (they also provide an extensive list of media literacy resources) and the Digital Resource Center.
There are a variety of verification tools available online. Fact checker services such as Snopes, PolitiFact, and PunditFact investigate claims, and assign truth ratings to them. Reverse image searches, on sites such as Google Images and TinEye, help users find the original source and location of images, which is helpful if images have been manipulated.