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Central High School Library Home Page: Fact vs. Fiction

Media Literacy

What is Media Literacy?

Watch these videos to learn about Media Literacy.

How Can We Evaluate Sources?

One way to evaluate sources is to use the SIFT Method. Click below to learn how to SIFT.  

Source: Mike Caulfield

AND Use this infographic to help you figure out whether the news you encounter is credible. 




Lateral Reading

How can I fact-check on my own?

How can you fact-check what you're reading? Use these tools below!



The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) publishes daily fact-checks for teenagers, by teenagers. The program is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles.

In 2020, the TFCN is focused on fact-checking social media content related to the novel coronavirus. Our team of teen fact-checkers — reporting from more than a dozen states in the U.S. — has published more than 50 fact-checks related to COVID-19 as of May 7.

TFCN fact-checks are unique in that they both debunk misinformation and teach the audience media literacy skills so they can fact-check on their own. On average, 86% of respondents polled on the MediaWise Instagram account recently reported they were more likely to fact-check on their own after watching a TFCN fact-check story.

Follow @MediaWise on TwitterInstagramTikTokFacebook and YouTube to see new fact-checks posted daily and learn how you can apply to be part of this program.


Source: CommonSense Media (sign in with Clever) 



Conversation Starters about News Diets--Where Do We Get Our News?

Conversation starters about our news diets:

  1. Who or what influences where we get our news?  
  2. In what ways does access to technology make us more or less informed? 
  3. How does where and how we get our news impact our understanding of the world?

Begin by clicking on the link below to take a survey about your news diet. 


Click on the link below to see how other teens answered the same questions. 


Use the source below to discover how news diets differ among age, race, place, and how they change with as technology changes. 

“Many Americans Get News on YouTube, Where News Organizations and Independent Producers Thrive Side by Side” (Pew Research Center).
A revealing new study from the Pew Research Center drives home just how central YouTube has become in many Americans’ news diets. About a quarter of U.S. adults turn to the video-sharing platform for news, but only about half of the news channels on YouTube are associated with established news organizations. According to the study, independent channels — or those without a clear affiliation with an organization — post much of the remaining news content. These channels are often personality-driven and more likely to cover conspiracy theories or approach subjects with a negative tone.

How Do We Uncover Our Own Bias?

What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is about embedded (but often invisible) ways of thinking that influence the way we interact with others. Prof. Dolly Chugh suggests that this "fog" of cloaked associations comes from sources such as media, news, conversations we hear at home, and our education.

NYT/POV's Saleem Reshamwala unscrews the lid on the unfair effects of our subconscious in this video below.

We all have implicit biases, but how do we recognize them?

Click below to take an Implicit Association Test.

OR Click on the All-Sides link to examine your biases. 


Does this visual help you understand biases even better?


And how can we decode media bias?

Conversation starters about Media Bias

  1. Where do people in the US get their news?
  2. How do media organizations decide to cover stories? 
  3. How does news selection amplify one’s political views? What can we do about it?
  4. What is a news bubble? We have access to fact-checking data at our fingertips, why might news bubbles exist?  
  5. Do we have an obligation as citizens to move beyond our news bubbles?

Watch this video about getting unstuck.

Americans are stuck in social media news bubbles that block exposure to opposing points of view. Here you'll get concrete advice from leading media experts on how to break free and get fully informed. Narrated by Glynn Washington.


Social Media: Is Your Breaking News Broken? 

The internet and social media give us tools to find out what’s happening almost instantly – sometimes even in real time. But how much can we trust the breaking news we see online? In this video, hear from two experts on the topic -- Renee DiResta and David Barstow -- as they break down some of the ins and outs of how we interpret the breaking news we see online.

TED Playlist: How to Pop Our Filter Bubbles 


Can we trust the news? Conversation starters

Can we trust the news? Conversation starters.

  1. Can reliable sources show bias? What responsibilities do journalists have to be fair and accurate in their reporting? 
  2. Whose voices need to be heard? 
  3. Who in power should be held accountable for inaccurate or misleading information? 

It seems like any news report shared on Twitter or YouTube is inundated with "fake news" claims: comments calling out something for being "liberal propaganda" or "paid for by Russia." Most often these claims are just a way of dismissing facts or analysis that someone disagrees with.

The thing is, there are bigger, more harmful examples of bias and bad reportage. These rare but educational incidents get lost in the flurry of baseless "fake news" accusations. Case in point: Mark I. Pinsky at Poynter issued a powerful report on the shameful role Southern newspapers like the Orlando Sentinel and the Montgomery Advertiser played in normalizing and covering up injustice, racism, and violence against Black people in the decades following the Civil War, through the civil rights movement, and continuing today. Here we have an actual, high-stakes example of the news getting something wrong. It's important for students to examine cases like this -- and the political contexts surrounding them -- to build a more informed understanding of "fake news."

Read about a newspaper's shameful and racist past and consider what factors might influence how the news is covered today. 

Montgomery Advertiser's apology for its coverage of lynchings. The newspaper was edited by a Confederate veteran who had a position of power and a vested interest in minimizing the damage of lynchings and blaming victims.

And then read the Poynter report below to learn more.



The Seven Standards of Quality Journalism

Source: The News Literacy Project

News about Fake News

  • Note: This Twitter thread from Tommy Shane, of First Draft, explores how the design and functionality of TikTok’s new misinformation labels may impact their effectiveness.
  • Also note: In a Feb. 7 Bloomberg opinion column, Cass R. Sunstein argues that because we are all vulnerable to “truth bias” — the persistent sense that there is at least some truth to everything we hear — labeling misinformation online doesn’t reverse its effects.
  • Discuss: What kinds of misinformation have you seen on TikTok? If you were the CEO, how would you go about addressing misinformation and other harmful content on TikTok? Is labeling misinformation an effective way to limit its effects? Do you think social media platforms should just ban or remove all misinformation? Would this be possible? Why or why not?
  • Related: “TikTok takes on the mess that is misinformation” (Danielle Abril, Fortune).

Viral Rumors Rundown

Viral rumor rundown May 11, 2021

NO: LeBron James did not say he didn't want anything to do with white people. YES: In the first episode of the HBO show The Shop in 2018, James shared that he was initially wary of white people at his predominantly white Catholic high school in Akron, Ohio. YES: In telling this story on The ShopJames said [link warning: profanity], “when I first went to the ninth grade … I was so institutionalized, growing up in the hood, it’s like … they don’t want us to succeed … so I’m like, I’m going to this school to play ball, and that’s it. I don’t want nothing to do with white people. I don’t believe that they want anything to do with me.” YES: The conversation went on to clarify that these initial feelings soon changed as sports and basketball created friendships.

Note: This misleading quote has gone viral several times before. It recently recirculated after James tweeted a photo of a police officer who was identified as firing the shots that killed Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, on April 20, along with the message “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” James later deleted the tweet.



NO: This is not a photo of Saturn. YES: It’s an artistic rendering of the imagined view from the Cassini spacecraft during one of its final, close passes over Saturn in 2017.

Tip: Fake or doctored photos supposedly from space are a common type of “engagement bait” online.

Resource: Reverse image search tutorial (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom).


NO: COVID-19 is not automatically declared the cause of death for anyone who dies within 20 days of testing positive for the virus. YES: The cause of death in the United States is determined by local coroners, medical examiners, and other officials across more than 2,000 independent jurisdictions, according to the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, who was interviewed by Lead Stories. NO: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not control death certificate decisions and has no authority to overrule local medical examiners. NO: There is no conspiracy to falsely inflate the number of COVID-19 deaths.

Related: “How COVID Death Counts Become the Stuff of Conspiracy Theories” (Victoria Knight and Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News).


NO: This video is not live footage of a gas station explosion. YES: This May 7 post on Facebook appears to use video footage from 2014 of a fire exploding at a gas station in Russia, according to the fact-checker Lead Stories.

Note: This is another example of “engagement bait.”

Tip: You can use reverse image search to look for the origin of videos by taking screenshots of different video frames.

Related: “How to find the source of a video (or, how to do a reverse video search)” (Gaelle Faure, AFP Fact Check).

The Sift from the News Literacy Project


More Teacher Resources

Introducing Lateral Reading before Research

We The Voters | PBS LearningMedia › collection › wethevoters

Before the 2016 Election, PBS Education partnered with We The Voters, a nonpartisan digital project featuring short films to activate voters across the country.

Games and Quizzes

The Spot-The-Troll quiz is an educational tool to help the public learn to spot the markers of inauthenticity in social media accounts. Can you spot a troll?

Source: The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub presents:

Take the quiz to test whether you can sort fact from fiction related to COVID-19 information. The World Health Organization called the deluge of information and misinformation about the pandemic an “infodemic’ for good reason.


The best way for you to help reduce misinformation online is to avoid sharing it. But can you tell the difference between social media posts that are false or misleading and those that are credible?

Source: The News Literacy Project  

The Bad News Game puts players in the position of the people who create manipulative news stories, and as such gain insight into the various tactics and methods used by ‘real’ fake news-mongers to spread their message.

Source:DROG (, 


Can you spot "fake news"? Try Factitious and find out! [Works on Firefox & Chrome only.]

Sources: JoLT &  The American University Game Lab


Create Your Own Clickbait Headlines

3 Resources about Comparing Perspectives in the News

GET TO KNOW WHAT THE OTHER SIDE THINKS A website designed to open your mind by showing you what you‘re missing in current eventshistoric conflicts and classic debates due to filter bubbles.

ALLSIDES allows users to see different political perspectives is the same news stories. Stories are labeled as left, center, or right of the political spectrum. 

GROUND NEWS allows users to see perspectives in news coverage based on political bias, time, and location. 


Conversation Starters: What is polarization and how does it affect the news?

  1. Why is the US so polarized? 
  2. How does polarization influence decision making? Can we find common ground? 
  3. Who benefits from polarization? How do you know?
  4. Are there polarized news narratives that events fit into?  

More Resources 

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).