Literacy Loophole: Are Students Prepared to Spot Fake News?

Seth Ashley

When it comes to news literacy, schools often emphasize fact-checking and hoax-spotting. But as I argue in my new book, schools must go deeper with how they teach the subject if they want to help students thrive in a democratic society.

As a new poll shows that Americans struggle to know if the information they find online is true, news literacy remains essential in student education.

Separating fact from fiction is a vital skill for civic engagement, but students can be good fact-checkers only if they have a broader understanding of how news and information are produced and consumed in the digital age. Here are five questions students should be taught to ask.

1. What’s happening to real news?

Fortunately, fake news is only a small part of the information most people consume. But real news – where journalists are paid to produce original reporting about their communities – is disappearing due to a combination of declining revenue and industry consolidation. Most people have no idea this is happening. Hundreds of communities have lost all local news, and both print and digital outlets face layoffs and cuts.

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