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News Literacy

How do you consume news and stay informed? How do you know if a story is true or false? Use this guide for tips to analyze the news that you see, read, or hear.

What Is News Literacy?

 

  • Evaluating news and media stories
  • Distinguishing between news and opinion
  • Recognizing bias or slant
  • Identifying when news is fake
  • Checking credibility of news
  • Using multiple formats and sources to get news
  • Understanding perspectives and beliefs other than your own
  • Being an informed citizen

Your Filter Bubble

When reading news and searching online, consumers experience the "filter bubble." The filter bubble is formed by websites and search engines that personalize the content you see, like news and search results. Results you get are personalized based on factors, like location and past clicks. It means you may not see the same results as others. Eli Pariser coined the term. Check out his TED talk and book:


The Filter Bubble and Google

How Google search works:

  • Step 1: Google sends out web crawlers to scan and save, or index, webpages.
  • Step 2: You search Google by typing words in the search bar.
  • Step 3: Google searches its indexed webpages to find results that match your search words.
  • Step 4: Google finds and organizes results based on factors, like your location or keywords. An algorithm, called PageRank, sorts and orders the results.
  • Step 5: Google gives you search results.

Google's PageRank uses a bunch of factors to get results. Details that affect your individual search, like your location and search history, might be different from other people's. So when you search a topic, you might see different results than someone else gets


The Filter Bubble and Social Media

Filter bubbles are formed in social media environments through algorithms that deliver personalized information (like Facebook's News Feed) as well as through our own choices of who we follow.  Here's some food for thought:


How to Burst Your Filter Bubble

The most effective way to burst your filter bubble is to expand your personal learning network and vary the sources of your news and information.  You take the driver's seat!  Here are a few specifics:

  • going directly to news websites,
  • trying different search engines,
  • finding news in different formats, like podcasts or social media,
  • and following the news by using tools, like RSS, email newsletters, and more.

You can also take a deeper dive to change your mindset, adjust the settings on different applications, and use tools that will help you seek other perspectives:

Newspaper Databases through WCC