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Lesson | 50 minutes

LIVE: MediaWise Toolkit



Through a partnership with the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network and with support from Google, millions of teachers throughout the United States can access weekly lesson plans published by the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs that teach specific online fact-checking skills that will be posted right here! The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network – or TFCN – is a virtual newsroom made up of middle and high schoolers from across the United States who use social media to debunk viral misinformation and share media literacy tips.

Explore more below and be sure to check this page weekly for new lessons!

MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network is a digital media literacy initiative of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.


I Can’t Believe It When I See It: A Primer In Spotting Misinformation

Students will learn how misinformation with an image or video is more believable and can lead them to unintentionally share information that is misleading or inaccurate. The MediaWise Teen Fact Checking Network (TFCN) demonstrates how to fact-check images in social media posts about Ukrainian Snipers using cats to locate targets. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (45 - 90 Mins)


Inflation Reduction (F)Act Check

Learn to identify a politically-motivated claim and fact-check it while learning about the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on energy production. Students will also learn to narrow searches to find original Congressional documents more quickly. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (45 - 60 Mins)


Statistically Speaking, Statistics Are Misleading

Introduce students to how data and statistics can be used to spread misinformation online. Students will learn to recognize unsupported data or statistics and equip them with tools to fact-check data or statistics used to politicize the Student Loan Reduction Act. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (45 - 60 Mins)


How to Spot “Pink Slime” Journalism – Misinformation in Long-Trusted Local News

Students will be able to recognize local pink slime journalism websites that spread biased or partisan information online and equip them to fact-check a suspicious website or article. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (45 - 90 mins)


Recognizing Satire is No Joke

How to Identify Satire Before Sharing it As Misinformation – This lesson will equip students with the tools to distinguish satirical news sources from legitimate news sources. Students will also be able to explain why satire is an effective way to communicate an idea and four of the techniques used to create satire effectively. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (45 - 90 mins)


Trick or truth: Why social media posts hit the misinformation sweet tooth

Strong emotions cause us to act quickly — but that’s when we especially need to stop for a minute and check things out. This lesson explores all the tips and tricks for how to recognize a post that evokes strong emotion and choose the best search terms to find and evaluate sources. These search skills will help you find better answers to your other interests as well, such as “best exercises to work off all of my kid’s Halloween candy.” For more information and to complete the lesson, go here. (30-45 min)


Viral Moments in Political Campaigns – or manipulated media?

A 2019 viral video of Nancy Pelosi slurring her words is one high-profile example of how cheap or free editing software and apps make it easy to create engaging and believable manipulated media that spread misinformation. The 2022 election cycle has had its fair share of manipulated media shared by candidates from both parties. The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania has produced several examples of manipulated media. Learn about the different types of manipulated media and how to spot when a video has been doctored. For more information and to complete the lesson, go here (45-60 mins)


Gun Laws and Book Bans – How to Find Missing Context

Social media posts that share misinformation about controversial topics out of context go viral because they trigger our desire to act. Students will learn the “Top Five Ways to Check for Context” and understand why understanding the context behind the information in social media posts is important. Saying “I’m sorry” and “My bad” mean the same thing – unless you are at a funeral. For more information and to complete the lesson go here (45-6O minutes)



A set of moral principles based on standards of right and wrong, usually in terms of obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.

Source: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Journalism Ethics

Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Source: Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics


Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Source: Lexico, Powered by Oxford


Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.

Source: NAMLE

News Media

All forms of media created with the purpose of informing the public and delivering news through specific mediums such as radio and broadcast stations, digital news organizations and others.

Media consumption

The act of consuming any form of media including anything that is text or visual. It can be books, television, papers, flyers, advertisements, newspapers, information on the Internet, etc.


A group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood). It can also be a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

Source: Merriam Webster

Story Angle

In news, it’s a story’s point or theme. It's the lens through which the producer or writer filters the information they have gathered and focuses it to make it meaningful to viewers or readers.

Source: ThoughCo.


The people who read, watch and consume news. Often, journalists think about audience and newsworthiness in similar ways. How will the news story serve their local or national audience? Who am I writing the story for and why?


The availability of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid


Something that is known or proved to be true.


A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.


Something that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.


An investigation into and study of sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.


A source is an individual, company, document or more that can provide information to fuel a new story. In order for a story to be considered verified and to maintain a reputation as a news outlet, it is important to have a credible source.


Free from mistake or error. Coverage of topics and facts in appropriate detail.


Journalists should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.


The process of verifying the accuracy of a piece of information.

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)

Civic and Political Institutions

In order to act responsibly and effectively, citizens must understand the important institutions of their society and the principles that these institutions are intended to reflect. That requires mastery of a body of knowledge about law, politics, and government. (NCSS D2.Civ.1.9-12 - D2.Civ.6.9-12)


Digital Literacy/Citizenship



Media Literacy

Active Prompts





White board, chalkboard or other visual board


Estimated Time

50 minutes