Stories about so-called “fake news” abound, and while the term is bandied about, it is little understood yet widely discussed. Is “fake news” about bias? About disagreements on fundamental principles or arguments? About verifiable falsehoods or perceptions about truths? About generating revenues through attention-seeking headlines and fabricated story lines? As we often say in media literacy, we have questions about the answers. But we can say with confidence that no one should “outsource” their brain for others to decide, nor do we wish to invite censorship or filtering. As power flows to individuals through social media, the traditional notions of journalism are upended and we are now all citizen journalists, with the collective and individual responsibility to be thoughtful and critical before circulating or consuming opinions or gossip or so-called “fact.” Whom do we trust, about what, and why? Who decides? Who checks the checkers? Yes, we need media literacy!
To get started with your students, go to MediaLit Moments for classroom activities related to addressing fake news. MediaLit Moments are short activities using the Key Questions and Core Concepts to teach critical thinking skills in K-12 classrooms. And check back often, we regularly add new activities.