News Literacy

The universe of information we live in is a complicated web of messages with a mind-blowing array of sources, biases, and agendas. Help your students develop the mad news literacy skills they need with the resources in our hot-off-the-press News Literacy unit. Designed for the high school classroom, this unit teaches students to recognize high-standards journalism so they can make informed judgments about the information coming at them. Students get practical skills to help them identify and deal with misinformation, bias, opinion, and more.

Each lesson includes a paper activity as well as a web activity (similar to our WebQuests) and an independent web-based activity so your students can get real-world, hands-on practice. The mini-lessons in the unit zero in on narrower topics of special concern.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Find fillable PDF versions of the lesson materials available for download with each lessoon in this unit.

This resource was created with support from the Raab Family Foundation.

Lesson 1: Journalism

What separates journalism from other kinds of information out there? Would you know reliable reporting if you saw it? This lesson introduces students to journalistic standards and ethics. Students learn basic markers of high-standards reporting based on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. They flex their new skills by analyzing a variety of examples to identify what reliable reporting looks like.

Web Activity Link: 

Mini-Lesson A: Monetization

In this mini-lesson, give your students a reality check about the news industry by helping them understand that news is a business. Students learn how news providers monetize the news through advertisements and consider how the news/profit relationship affects journalism and news audiences.

Lesson 2: Misinformation

Reliable news outlets always answer the question “How do we know?” Train your students to examine news stories for evidence of transparency and verification that will help them distinguish legitimate news from unreliable information or “fake news.” Students practice spotting misinformation and learn fact-checking tricks for verifying information.

Mini-Lesson B: Satire

Don’t let your students be fooled into believing satire is real news. Satirical news stories, like political cartoons, are meant to poke fun—not to trick people. Help your students learn to spot satire and understand both the joke and the purpose of this news-related genre.

Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!

Lesson 3: Bias

Bias can sneak into any news story, influencing an unsuspecting audience. Bias often seems like the boogeyman of the news industry, but is it really so terrifying? This lesson strips the fear out of bias by showing students how to notice the word choices and framing that show up when bias is present in a news story. Students learn about methods journalists use to produce high-quality objective reporting to see how journalists address bias and present stories from neutral viewpoints.