In our increasingly information-saturated society, it can be challenging for young people (or any of us!) to sort fact from fiction in journalism. We get news from all directions, at all times, on multiple channels; citizen reporting competes with major corporate conglomerates for our attention and our trust. As we get ready to celebrate News Engagement Day on October 6th, what can you do to help your students become more critical consumers of news media? The video playlist below should provide a good entry point to the discussion, and then you'll find some resources for digging deeper.
Video Playlist: Truth and The News
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- How to Choose Your News - Damon Brown (04:49)
This excellent video primer from TED-Ed explains how to find and consume your news thoughtfully and with the least chance of being manipulated. Visit the TED-Ed website for a full lesson that you can customize for your own classroom.
- News Literacy at NYC's Intermediate School 303 (07:27)
The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University considers itself the birthplace of the idea of news literacy. In this video, middle school kids in Coney Island learn to consume news responsibly, using curriculum the Center developed.
- Why the News Isn't Really the News (02:22)
Self-proclaimed "media manipulator" Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I'm Lying, reveals his trade secrets for getting false anonymous stories to the main page of major news outlets in this animated explainer by Epipheo. An excellent bonus video on the same topic is "How False News Can Spread," from TED-Ed.
- Markham Nolan: How to Separate Fact and Fiction Online (13:30)
In this TED Talk, journalist Markham Nolan, managing editor at digital generation news outlet Vocativ, shares pro tips for how to verify information in real-time and how to sift for authenticity in the deluge.
- News Literacy Is... (03:51)
A little low-fi, but earnest, this video from the News Literacy Project features teachers and students talking about why news literacy is valuable. The non-profit offers workshops that connect reporters to schools and resources for middle and high school teachers.
- News Literacy Project Trains Young People to Be Skeptical Media Consumers (06:54)
PBS Newshour takes us inside classrooms where teachers are using curriculum developed by the News Literacy Project, including a high school in Bethesda, Maryland, and a middle school in Washington, DC.
- Why News Matters (01:54)
This peppy graphic video from the McCormick Foundation makes a pitch for the value of news in our communities and explains why news literacy is a key skill to cultivate for an engaged citizenry. The Foundation offers resources for both students and teachers, and gives grants in Chicago.
- Churnalism Tutorial (02:24)
Although this useful Web tool by the Sunlight Foundation has sadly been retired, and the website it was inspired by is on hiatus for lack of funding, I think the video is still worth a watch as it reminds us just how much of our news is based on repackaged press releases.
- Not All Scientific Studies are Created Equal - David H. Schwartz (04:27)
Okay, I got a little TED-crazy in this playlist, but I can't ignore a great resource. This one zeroes in on the different kinds of scientific studies one hears about in the news, and it gives viewers some tools for scoping out their validity. See the full lesson on the TED-Ed website.
More Resources on News Literacy
I'm sure you're convinced at this point that our need for news literacy is ever-increasing as the volume of content we consume from all different sources grows. But it can be very difficult to teach and even harder to measure. I've gathered some teaching resources to help you get started. As always, chime in with your own questions, ideas, or favorite resources in the comments below.
- News Engagement Day
- "Can News Literacy Grow Up?" by Lindsay Beyerstein, via Columbia Journalism Review
- The News Literacy Project
- Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University School of Journalism
- News and Media Literacy Programs at The Poynter Institue
- Digital Resource Center via Center for News Literacy
- Youth News Literacy Resources via American Press Institute
- Why News Matters
- "If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating," by Ravi Somaiya and Leslie Kaufman via The New York Times
- Internet Hoaxes via The Washington Post