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News Literacy Toolkit   Tags: faculty, literary  

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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News Media Literacy Toolkit


Key Resources

Glossary: The Language of News Literacy (Stony Brook University)

FAIR's Media Activism Toolkit (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting): "How-to" guides on identifying and challenging misleading or unfair news coverage

Tips on How to Spot Fake News (

  • Consider the source.
  • Read beyond the headline.
  • Check the author.
  • What's the support?
  • Check the date.
  • Check your biases.
  • Consult the experts.

Six Questions that Will Tell You Which Media to Trust (American Press Institute)

  1. Content type
  2. Source
  3. Evidence
  4. Interpretation
  5. Completeness
  6. Knowledge gained

Key Concepts for Media Literacy (Media Smarts):

  1. Media are constructions.
  2. Audiences negotiate meaning.
  3. Media have commercial implications.
  4. Media have social and political implications.
  5. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form.

Allsides: Compares news coverage from left, right, and center sources

Truth, Truthiness, Triangulation: A News Literacy Toolkit for a Post-Truth World (School Library Journal)

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers (Mike Caulfield, 2017): Free and excellent online book with strategies for evaluating and fact-checking online sources


Why News Literacy?

In recent years fake and misleading news has become prevalent. It is perhaps unsurprising that Oxford Dictionaries named "post-truth" as its 2016 "Word of the Year." This guide can help readers evaluate news sources for accuracy and harmful bias.

Reasons that fake news has become a growing problem include:

  • The growing use of social media as the primary source for news consumption:
    According the a Pew Research Center report over 40% of adults in the US go to Facebook for their news.

  • The appeal of sensational and often false "clickbait" information
    News that goes "viral" and is widely share is far more likely to be false or misleading.

  • "Filter bubbles" that result from the personalized web:
    Search engines and social media usually present a us with information intended to fit with own own individual interests and perspective. We then miss information that others with different perspectives are more likely to see.

  • Confirmation bias:
    People are predisposed to believe information that fits their worldview and to discount information that does not.

These factors reflect a need to carefully evaluate news sources and where and how we get our news.


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