While "fake news" is nothing new, the traction it's gained recently -- especially on social-media platforms -- has created very real challenges for both news organizations and those who follow them.

A 2016 Stanford Graduate School of Education study found that most students, middle school through college, had trouble distinguishing between credible and unreliable news articles. The same is true for many adults.

A pair of upcoming Worthington Libraries programs not only will help you learn to identify fake news, but also make sense of what the phenomenon means for the future.

The first program, called "Who Can You Trust?," starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at Worthington Park Library, 1389 Worthington Centre Drive. During the session, participants will learn how information is disseminated and how to analyze news sources for credibility, then practice their skills by looking over sample articles.

One way to spot fake news is to check out the website from which it originated. Fake-news sites often will use a real-sounding URL, but have uncommon extensions like ".com.co," instead of ".com."

You can also get a second opinion on an item you've read by consulting reputable fact-checking sites. Snopes.com and Factcheck.org are two examples.

The term "post-truth," Oxford Dictionaries' 2016 Word of the Year, refers to the current era of politics in which appeals to feelings, personal beliefs and "alternative facts" are as influential as objective facts.

What does this new era mean for information, news and American government going forward?

At 7 p.m. July 20, a panel of local experts -- including Darrel Rowland, public-affairs editor at The Columbus Dispatch, and Dr. Gerald Kosicki, communications professor at Ohio State University -- will discuss information literacy, fake news, social media and politics in a post-truth world.

The session, "Post-Truth Politics," will be held at Old Worthington Library, 820 High St.

Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.