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Fake News vs. Real News: Overview and Research Assignment

This guide will provide resources and lessons on how to identify fake news and how to look for credible news sites.

What is it?

Real news is information or a report about something that has happened recently meant to inform the reader/viewer from a reliable, authoritative source. Real news is objective and unbiased information that is factually based from credible sources.

Fake news is designed to persuade an audience to hold one ideological viewpoint over others based upon "misinformation" -- false or less than completely factual information.  In this regard, fake news acts as propaganda.  Attempts at persuasion like this have led to a phenomenon in which people dismiss information with which they disagree as being fake news, even if that information has a factual basis.

Satirical news is a closely related cousin of fake news.  Satirical news typically refers to the practice of presenting journalistic coverage of current events that intentionally exaggerates elements of the story being reported.  The distinction between satirical news and fake news is that satirical news is intentionally exaggerated, often for comedic effect, whereas fake news is intended to mislead an audience into thinking that it presents objective, factual information.

Liberal or Conservative? What is the Difference?

Memes and Headlines



Our lesson begins with a gallery walk using strategy: I SEE, I THINK, I WONDER. Students will each get a stack of Post-its, as they walk around, they must write down what they see in the images, what they think is going on, and then ask an "I wonder" statement or question to help them start formulating questions.


Model using Emma Gonzalez image:





Watch ideo on Emma Gonzalez's speech after the Parkland shooting.



We will write a 250-500 word reflective analysis on a current event, either national or global.

Step 1: Choose a topic from the list below

Step 2: Do preliminary research on your topic using Opposing Viewpoints Database to read multiple perspectives about your topic. You will be getting your CENTER information from the any of the media sources in the top center of the news spectrum infographic

Step 3: Create a Noodetools account and begin taking notes on the FACTS of your issue.  

Step 4: Write a 5 paragraph paper which includes a commentary on how you feel your issue was presented on all sides of the political spectrum and if they offered fake, misleading or opinionated (bias) information. If you found bias, explain what you believe the publishers purpose was. 

Your reflective analysis will include: 

I. Introduction

II. Factual information from a news source in the CENTER 

III. Analysis from a media source on the LEFT (liberal)

IV. Analysis from a media source on the RIGHT (conservative)

V. A reflection on how media shapes our reality, with your current event as an example. 

Follow the rubric below: 



  1. Academic/Test Anxiety 
  2. Alt-Right (white nationalism)
  3. Animal Welfare 
  4. Artificial Intelligence 
  5. Big Pharma
  6. Black Lives Matter Movement
  7. Blue Lives Matter
  8. Border Wall
  9. Capital Punishment
  10. Charter Schools Funded by Tax Dollars
  11. Civility in Modern Society
  12. College Costs
  13. Confederate Monument Removal
  14. Culture of Beauty
  15. Cyberbulling
  16. DACA
  17. Designer Babies
  18. E-Waste
  19. Eating Disorders
  20. English as an Official Language of the U.S.
  21. Environmental Issues (there are many- you select)
  22. Fracking
  23. Gerrymandering and Redistricting
  24. Government Surveillance
  25. Government Shut-down
  26. Homelessness
  27. Human Trafficking
  28. Mental Disorders
  29. #MeToo Movement
  30. Minimum Wage Increases
  31. Net Neutrality
  32. North Korea 
  33. Opioid Epidemic 
  34. Racial Profiling
  35. Refugees in the U.S.
  36. Renewable Energy
  37. Reproductive Rights
  38. Second Amendment Rights
  39. Selfie Culture
  40. Social Media
  41. Special Council Office Investigation (Russian Collusion)
  42. Standardized Testing
  43. Steroid Use
  44. Sustainability (i.e. plastic usage, food waste, green living, etc.)
  45. Syrian Conflict
  46. Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
  47. Teen Suicide 
  48. Video Gaming Culture
  49. Voter Suppression
  50. Western Drought and Wildfires


(12)  Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students are expected to:

(C)  compare and contrast coverage of the same event in various media; and

(D)  evaluate changes in formality and tone within the same medium for specific audiences and purposes.