Fake News Alerts: Teaching News Literacy Skills in a Meme World

Taylor, Diana

ID – Media Literacy

Ireland, S. (2018). Fake news alerts: Teaching news literacy skills in a meme world. The Reference Librarian, 59(3), 122-128.

Summary: In this article, Ireland addresses the need for students to have the skills to be able to decipher whether information is true or not. In today’s fast paced world of technology, most information is sent in less than 100 words, and readers view it as true. Ireland suggests that librarians can make their own memes and infographics to provide visual information to combat it. This article covers memes, what is fake news, identifying fake news, identifying reliable news sources, accessing sources, addressing bias and logical fallacies, and how to stop being part of the problem.

Evaluation: This was an excellent article on how librarians can help address the issue of fake news with students. Ireland provides us with all the necessarily terminology to discuss fake news and provides resources to post in the library for students to view.

How False News Can Spread

Murphy, James


Tavlin, N. (2015, August 27). How false news can spread. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-false-news-can-spread-noah-tavlin

This video explains why the modern-day speed of the news cycle and reach of the internet has made verifying facts and news so much more difficult than it used to be. “Circular Reporting” is a phenomenon when a false or incorrect story is published and then picked up by a different legitimate news source. The original publisher then points to the legitimate publisher as a source for their story. This gets even more confusing when several news sources re-report a false news story. This can even happen when a highly controversial, peer-reviewed journal article is later debunked, such as the 1998 article that claimed vaccines cause Autism. This single source of bad science still plagues us today. The video also mentions how satire can be mistaken as legitimate, and “Circular Reporting” can also happen via wikis.

I wanted to share this video because it made me aware of a facet of information literacy of which I was unfamiliar. Although we often bemoan the lack of fact-checking done in much of reporting today, I became more sympathetic to the difficult situation. More importantly, I am now aware that even if several reputable sources report something, it may still not be true, particularly if it is re-reported all from the same source.

Fake News

Katy Golden


Coughlan, S. (2017). Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/education-39272841

In an article that I thought was especially relevant given the current political climate, this author discusses how the educational leadership in England plans to alter their standardized test, the Pisa, to assess students’ abilities to think critically and distinguish fake news from real news. They talk exstensively about the idea of critical judgment, and how students need to have the 21st century skill of being able to parse out truth from fiction.

Now that you can’t necessarily trust everything you read, especially on the Internet, it’s particularly important that kids can think critically and decide for themselves what is and isn’t true. They warn of other dangers inherent in the current social media culture as well, such as the development of a mono-culture and the belief in one right way to do things, that they suggest teachers address as well.

As school librarians, it’s a big part of our job to help kids become information literate and a very big part of that is developing the skill of parsing fake news from real news.

After Trump Was Elected, Librarians Had To Rethink Their System For Fact-Checking

Martinez, Evelyn

Crum, M. (2017, March 12). After Trump Was Elected, Librarians Had To Rethink Their System For Fact-Checking. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/after-trump-librarians-develop-new-fact-checking-system_us_58c071d3e4b0ed7182699786

This is a very informative and interesting article explaining a method that some librarians are using to to distinguish real facts and news from fake facts and news.   Librarians will use a resource called the CRAAP (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy & Purpose) test created by Meriam Library at CSU Chico to distinguish between fact and fiction.