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COMM 200 4: Media Literacy and Analysis

We want to hear from you!

As you get settled, please take this two-minute survey on what information literacy concepts you would be interested in learning more about. A group of librarians from across the Ohio-Five will be using your feedback to create new and improved library sessions for future class visits. 

Student Survey on Information Literacy Topics

Beyond "Fake News"

"Fake News" has turned into a loaded term that has more than one meaning.

Fake news originally was applied to the news that was indeed fiction, but the term is now often used to describe any news that someone disagrees with, regardless of the level of factual information presented in the story. It is important to realize that not all stories marked as fake news are false. Just as there are stories that appear to be true, that are in fact fake. 

For this reason, this guide moves away from the label "Fake News" and digs into how news can be false or misleading.

What is News Literacy?

News Literacy is when a person has the critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of information. 

What we are up against: 

  • Often too much information comes at us all at once. In these instances, our brain relies on psychological tricks to quickly decide if something is true or false. But these tricks are not always accurate. 
  • Technology is making it easier and more profitable to spread false information than ever before. 
  • We now expect immediate news coverage, which limits outlets' abilities to fact check. 
  • Digital algorithms create filter bubbles, where we only interact with information that we agree with. 

With news literacy, you can combat these issues by:

  • Recognizing the difference between journalism and other types of information.
  • Analyzing how authors verify the claims they are making with evidence. 
  • Distinguishing between news media bias and our own biases.
  • Evaluating a claim across all news media platforms, based on the quality of evidence. 

What is News?

Types of Misleading News

Let's start by talking about the type of misleading content. Information in news articles can include a spectrum of false content and harmful intentions.




Information that is false, but the person reporting the information believes that they are telling the truth. 

This often is in the form of a legitimate news outlet reporting a story that is proved=n false when these news outlets discover more information. There is no intent of harm with misinformation, but regardless facts are reported incorrectly. 


Dis-information, on the other hand, is false news that the person reporting the story knows is false.

This is the type of misleading news that can be accurately called "Fake News". 


The last type of information is technically not false information, but it is news that is used in a way that is harmful to the person, organization or country identified in the story. Typically this news serves own motivation of the person reporting the story rather than serving the public interest. 

Some leaks of classified information, harassment, and hate speech fall into this category.