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Media & News Literacy

Media & News Literacy

Have you ever wondered how to best evaluate information you have heard in the news? Or online through social media?

Media literacy includes approaches to help you think critically about all types of media, understand how media shapes our society, and advocate for change (Media Literacy Now). News, or journalism, is a part of this media environment, and you can apply your media literacy skills to evaluating news and current events.

Looking for news articles? Some online newspapers provide their articles for free but others require a subscription. Try searching in OneSearch or a library database and look for options to limit your results to articles from newspapers.

Part 1: Watch the Fairness & Balance Video

Part 1: Watch the video Fairness and Balance (2 min.) and reflect on discussion questions.

Discussion Questions & Quiz

  • Where do you get your news? Do you actively seek out news or do you mostly encounter news through social media?
  • According to the video, what are some examples of journalistic standards?
  • Why is a fair and balanced representation of the news important?

 Take this quiz to receive a certificate of completion to upload to Blackboard that includes your responses to the video discussion questions.

Start Quiz

Part 2: Practice

Part 2: Take an interactive tutorial.

Includes a certification of completion to download as a PDF and upload to Blackboard. 

Web browser with tab and search icon.
Lateral Reading

A brief tutorial on fact-checking with hands-on practice and reflection questions.

Start Tutorial
Paper with magnifying glass.
Evaluating Information

A tutorial on evaluating online information based on an information need.

Start

Part 3: Watch the Anatomy of a News Website Video

Part 3: Watch the video Anatomy of a News Website (3 min.) and reflect on questions.

Reflection Questions

After watching the video, reflect on the following questions: 

  • Did anything surprise you about how the news is made?
  • How do editorial decisions factor into how you consume news?
  • As a reader, how do you feel about advertisements and sponsored content? 
     

Handouts

Click on the handout to view in a new tab, download, or print.

For Instructors

  • Ask students to review the Anatomy of a News Article video and infographic and a newspaper article on a current topic. How does the photo contribute to the understanding of the story? Do the byline or photo caption provide any additional information they might use to evaluate the article? Consider providing popular historical examples of misleading photo captions for students to analyze (e.g. https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-harvey-20170829-story.html).
  • Have students create a research log where they record information on how they laterally evaluate websites as part of their research process.
  • Compile a list of at least 3 provocative claims and have students imagine they are professional fact checkers for a news organization. Using the "Four Moves & a Habit" handout as a guide, have them analyze and reach a conclusion about each claim. What criteria did they use? How did they justify their responses? Any contentious or highly debated topics can be used as a springboard for class discussion.
  • Ask students to examine how a contentious topic is covered via social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Facebook). Have them identify two tweets/posts/videos that make competing claims. Ask students to analyze their claim using the "Four Moves & a Habit" handout.
  • Choose a controversial topic and pull 4 articles: two credible U.S. newspapers, one from a lobbyist organization, and another from a highly polarized commentary website. For example, if the topic is gun control you might use the NRA, Breitbart, or InfoWars. Break up the class into groups of at least 3 students each and assign each group an article. Either within the class session or as a take home group assignment, have each group identify the article’s major claim. Using the skills they learned from the Lateral Reading tutorial, have them argue in favor or against the validity of their source. Come together as a class to discuss.

Mix and match this suite of instructional materials for your course needs!

If you are assigning the Fairness and Balance quiz and/or the interactive tutorials, students can receive a certificate of completion with their name and date and upload the PDF to Blackboard to show what they've learned by completing these online activities. We recommend assigning activities for participation points.

Questions about integrating a graded online component into your class, contact the Online Learning Librarian, Tessa Withorn (twithorn@csudh.edu).

Example of a certificate of completion:

Sample certificate of completion for a CSUDH Library tutorial.

Download "For Instructors: Teaching Media & News Literacy at CSUDH"

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This guide was created by Tessa Withorn, Carolyn Caffrey Gardner, Aric Haas, and Amalia Castañeda at the CSUDH Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.