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Social Studies Subject Guide: Dialogue for Democracy



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Dialogue for Democracy: Evaluating News Outlets

Goals for the Visit:  To Develop a Toolbox for Student Journalists

  • Introduce some reliable reputation-checking tools
  • Offer some practice using lateral reading skills
  • Practice checking on the reliability of different kinds of sources
  • Learn how to become fast and efficient at sizing up nearly any news site for bias and credibility

Online News Sources
Here are some online options for good quality news sources.  Notice that news found through databases will require a login and password.  Click the Logins & Passwords link at left for access.  






Many of these permit some free browsing, but may set limits at a certain point on how many articles you can access. 

Reuters (website)
International news from a strongly reliable centrist news source.

BBC World News Edition (website)
The BBC is a well-respected source of news in the UK.  

Le Monde English Edition (website)
The English language edition of a reliable source of news from France.  

El País English Edition (website)
A reliable source of news from Spain o
ffers an English language edition.

The Guardian International Edition (website)
A respected UK News source provides an international news option.

CNN (website)
A left-leaning US news source.

Wall Street Journal (website)
A conservative-leaning, generally reliable news source. Limited access to online articles without a subscription.

The Hill (website)
A Washington, DC based reliable source of centrist news focused on US politics.

Fact Checking Toolbox

Group Challenges
Your task:  You have 10 minutes to decide whether the source and information are reliable. Read the directions carefully. 

Use lateral reading skills to open at least TWO outside tabs to evaluate the quality and accuracy of the information source.

  • One of these tabs should be Wikipedia.
  • Another should be MediaBias Fact Check (see link below). 
  • If time permits, open a few more tabs and see what else comes up about your chosen news outlet.

Prepare to report back to the whole group about what you found out.

GROUP 1:  AP News (also known as Associated Press)

GROUP 2Washington Post

GROUP 3:  Al Jazeera

GROUP 4:  The Hill


    • What entity owns this news organization? 
    • How might this be beneficial or problematic? 
    • Are there any other incidents  or facts reported about them that cause you concern, or build their credibility?
    • How does this news outlet rank on the Bias & Credibility scale?
    • How do they rank on Factual Reporting?
    • Have they had any failed fact checks?

MediaBias/Fact Check is a helpful website for evaluating the history, credibility, and accuracy of news outlets. Use the gray box in the upper left corner to enter the name of the news source.  Another very helpful use:  Click "Bias Categories" on the black menu bar on the page to find alphabetized lists of news outlets with analysis of their accuracy and bias. 

This nonprofit organization is affiliated with The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  Provides articles that fact check recent events. Use the top bar menu to search by TOPICS or use SEARCH and plug in keywords to search the entire site.  Very useful website.

"PolitiFact is a nonpartisan fact-checking website to sort out the truth in American politics. PolitiFact was created by the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida newspaper, in 2007. In 2018, PolitiFact was acquired by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists."  --from their website.  A highly reliable source.

The site's mission is to "expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better understand the world — and each other."  They examine news stories from various angles of the political spectrum.

The Poynter Institute teaches "those who manage, edit, produce, program, report, write, blog, photograph and design, whether they belong to news organizations or work as independent entrepreneurs. We teach those who teach, as well as students in middle school, high school and college—the journalists of tomorrow."  --from their website.  A top-notch resource.

AllSides Media Bias Chart

This is the Media Bias Chart maintained by AllSides, an organization that helps readers evaluate the political biases of various news outlets.  It's a frequently updated and handy reference tool for quickly estimating the bias of news based on its source. 

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