News Evaluation – Beyond the Checklist
As part of a larger news evaluation campaign, Sara Davidson Squibb and colleagues (Lindsay Davis, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco and Elizabeth Salmon) created a jigsaw lesson to use with introductory writing courses. Students were asked to evaluate an article’s content, tone, and purpose in a large group before they discussed the article in the context of two other articles on the same topic in a smaller group. After these group discussions, the library instructor revealed the source of each news article and highlighted resources and strategies for learning more about news sources. Through the lesson, students were able to focus more on content, corroboration, and source knowledge (rather than a mere checklist) to make decisions about an article’s bias and level of accuracy. All four instruction librarians taught this lesson to multiple sections of introductory writing courses. Though the librarians started with an original set of three articles on the topic of health care enrollment, we also identified two other sets of materials that were targeted to the course content of specific introductory writing sections.
Students will be able to …
• make an initial determination of an article’s accuracy and bias based on an evaluation of content, purpose, and tone.
• discover the importance of corroborating information.
• identify resources that can reveal more information about a new source’s perspective.
• recognize that many factors may be considered when evaluating a news source.
Information Literacy concepts:
Individual or Group:
Librarians contacted instructors of introductory writing classes and offered this one-shot lesson on news evaluation. Instructors provided class lists, and librarians made three student groups (A, B, C), matching each student with one article (Article A, etc.). Librarians provided redacted news articles, which instructors assigned to students to read prior to the library session.