Before fake news and alternative facts there was … The Quibbler and The Daily Prophet. Yes, I am talking about the wizarding world of journalism. Bear with me.
For those who skipped the Harry Potter series, The Quibbler was Rowling’s storyline about a tabloid complete with sensational headlines, paparazzi and misleading (even fake) stories. The Daily Prophet, on the other hand, shared government-sponsored news, replete with alternative facts and spin control from The Ministry of Magic.
Imagine if Harry Potter readers graduated to Book 7 having gained media literacy skills from the stories. Sadly, the books’ negative depiction of media is troubling – both because it’s based in some truth and because it’s incomplete, leaving readers with a near total distrust of journalism. Sound familiar?
Lest we blame J.K. Rowling for the rise of fake news, it’s time to brush up on our media smarts. Oakland librarians can get you started.
DON’T FALL FOR FAKE NEWS - Workshop and Discussion Guide
In this interactive workshop, we cover key terms, practice identifying lies, bias and quality news, and explore the value of accurate and diverse media sources -- all while helping you make informed choices. We are available to visit your community organization, school or library. Check our events page for upcoming workshops or contact Amy Sonnie to learn more 510-238-6931.
Educators: Download the workshop materials here. Includes a Facilitator’s Guide, activity handouts and evaluation form. For grades 6 & up.
We are planning additional media literacy workshops now. Have a topic you want us to cover? Leave suggestions in the comments below.
EVALUATING NEWS - Resources
There are hundreds of lesson plans, websites and books on this topic. Some focus on how media shapes our views of gender or race. Others help you analyze website credibility with the CRAAP test, or check the political bias on your Facebook feed. Whatever you are looking for, Oakland librarians can help. Just ask!
Here are a few tools we recommend:
- How to Choose News - A brief video on truth and bias in news from TedEd
- AllSides - See news from multiple perspectives, left, center and right
- Snopes - Fact check rumors, news and politician statements
- How to Identify Fake News - A great visual guide from Indiana University
- How to Detect Bias in News Media - Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting helps you recognize bias, stereotypes and omissions
- Society for Professional Journalists Ethics Code - Learn the standards journalists are supposed to uphold
- Project Look Sharp - Lesson plans and materials to support critical thinking in the classroom
- Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Literacy - A study from Stanford that can help us understand the problem of news evaluation along with some solutions
- National Association for Media Literacy - Develop skills to be a critical thinker, effective communicator and active citizen
- News Literacy Curriculum for Educators - Activities parents can adapt too, from the American Press Institute
Teachers, librarians and parents, might also like Truth, Truthiness, Triangulation by Joyce Valenza, which compiles dozens more resources in School Library Journal.
No matter who makes the news, it also matters who owns the news. Find out which companies own what.
And don’t forget to READ FREELY and critically: Oakland Library offers free access to the New York Times digital edition and many more magazine and newspaper databases. As well as lots of great books:
Photo courtesy of Karen_Roe on Flickr, Creative Commons.