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Daily News Lessons (show all)

Fact or Fiction? How can students sort through the misinformation?

October 21, 2020


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. For the FULL one-hour video of Face the Facts: Election 2020 Youth Town Hall, click here.

Summary: On October 6, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL), in partnership with MediaWise, aired a special called Face the Facts: Election 2020 Youth Town Hall. The event was a one-hour, virtual youth town hall streaming on NewsHour digital platforms. The livestream event showcased conversations with teens and first-time voters about how they’re engaging in this year’s historic election, and educational elements on how to spot election misinformation. 

In this edited clip from the event, Hari Sreenivasan, PBS NewsHour’s weekend anchor, discusses how to spot misinformation online with three student reporters.

Discussion: First, have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is offering insights on misinformation in this segment and what are their backgrounds?
  • What are some types of misinformation common online?
  • When and where are people exposed to misinformation, according to the three students reporters in the segment?
  • Why do fact checkers and journalists have a hard time keeping up with misinformation online?
  • How can you assess whether information is likely false or misleading, according to the student reporters in the segment?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. What tools for assessing misinformation did you find particularly helpful?
  2. Have you ever tried to determine the reliability of memes or social media posts before? If so, what method did you use?
    • Have you ever used a reverse image search or lateral reading to try and determine the reliability of a meme, post or article?
  3. How would you determine the objective or bias of an information source if you wanted to test its credibility?

Dig Deeper:

  1. Watch the video in this lesson and ask your students: How do you judge whether or not information is credible?
  2. You might also want to check out this lesson taken from another clip produced during the Face the Facts Town Hall. In it, students who are about to vote for the first time describe how they’ve been engaged in politics already and discuss the issues that matter most to them.