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Cranston High School East Library: Fake News

Fake News

Did you hear that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton supported Isis with weapons, or Michelle Obama is actually a man?  You might have heard these things or read them online, but are they true? 


Essential Questions: 

  • What happens when fake news spreads?
  • How can I tell if news stories, photographs and other sources of online information are accurate?

Your Assignment:

Visit one of the news articles listed below.  Evaluate the article according to the checklist on this worksheet.  Answer the questions on the back of the page. 

Why should you care about Fake News?

Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?

  1. You deserve to know the truth.  By reading real facts, you can make up your own mind, and not be influenced by others. 

  2. Fake news can hurt you and others.  Fake medical advice can help perpetuate myths and stop people from getting necessary treatment.  Fake political news can influence election results, and can influence people on candidates or issues.  

  3. Real news can help you, both in school and in real life. If you are writing a research paper, your teacher will expect you to use valid sources. If you are voting in an election, you want to study the issues and be well informed so that you can vote for the best candidate.  Fake news will not help with either of these things.

5 Ways To Spot Fake News from Common Sense Media

Factitious - A game that tests your news sense

What makes a news story fake?

How to Spot Fake News

Questions to Yourself Ask When Evaluating Information

  • Who is the author/producer/creator of the message?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What techniques are being used to get our attention and to make a message believable?
  • Who benefits from a message?
  • Who or what is omitted and why?


  • Think carefully while reading and watching news
  • Check the source before sharing on social media
  • Use a list such as this one to determine whether or not a website contains legitimate information.
  • Fake news spans across all kinds of media - printed and online articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, radio shows, photos. Be prepared to double-check everything.
  • When you open up a news article in your browser, open a second, empty tab.  Use that second window to fact check, check author credentials, etc.



Standards for the 21st Century Learner:

  • 1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions
  • 1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context. 
  • 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information. 
  • 3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively. 

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8

Fact Checking Websites

Discussion Questions

  1. How many viral posts - whether articles, videos or photographs - do you click on each week?  How many on average do you share on social media?
  2. How often do you check to make sure what you are sharing or commenting on is real?  How do you go about finding that out?
  3. How much do you care if a story purporting to be real actually is?
  4. How much more careful are you with online sources when you are doing work for school than when you are simply surfing the web for fun?  How do you decide what is a reliable source for your schoolwork?
  5. What news source do you usually trust?  What sources do you rarely trust?  Why?
  6. What responsibility do journalists and news outlets who post or link these stories have to make sure they are true?  Is it their job to make sure something is not a hoax before they cover or link to it?  How do you think they go about verifying information?
  7. Can embellished, or outright fake, stories have real world consequences?  What examples can you give?
  8. In a world where news can be reported by anyone with a cellphone, how do you decide what is true?  What questions should you ask to find out?  What personal rules might you develop to decide what news you post and when you post it? What harm might be done by not following these rules?