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Lesson | 50 Minutes

Fact-checking for beginners


Students will learn the basics of fact-checking a news story, and the difference between primary and secondary sources.

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Central Question

How do you make sure everything in a news story is accurate?

Learning Outcomes

This lesson will help students understand how journalists fact-check their stories.

When Would You Use This Lesson?

Use this lesson during the middle and at the end of your newsgathering journey. Fact-check while you’re preparing for interviews, writing your script, and again before publication.

Media Literacy Connection

This lesson will deepen students’ understanding of how reporters and editors make sure what they publish is accurate. It will show them the steps to take to ensure their own stories are free from factual errors.

Civics Connection

Ensuring news stories are accurate is arguably the most important job of a journalist. With the rise of social media, misinformation, and online propaganda, it’s more important than ever for the public to be able to trust in the accuracy of the information they receive from the press.


Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.

Source: American Press institute


Belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

Source: Merriam Webster


An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.

Source: Merriam Webster


Something that is known or proved to be true.


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


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.


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

Writing - Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Reading - Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Language - Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Digital Citizenship

Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)

Processes, Rules, and Laws

Civics is the discipline of the social studies most directly concerned with the processes and rules by which groups of people make decisions, govern them- selves, and address public problems. (NCSS D2.Civ.11.9-12 - D2.Civ.14.9-12)

Historical Sources and Evidence

Historical inquiry is based on materials left from the past that can be studied and analyzed. (NCSS D2.His.9.9-12 - D2.His.13.9-12)

Demonstrate writing processes used in journalism and broadcasting media.

Gathering and Evaluating Sources

Whether students are constructing opinions, explanation, or arguments, they will gather information from a variety of sources and evaluate the relevance of that information. (NCSS D3.1.9-12 - D3.2.9-12)

Speaking and Listening - Comprehension and Collaboration


Media Literacy


Digital Literacy/Citizenship

Broadcast News





Online Worksheet

White board, chalkboard or other visual board


Estimated Time

50 Minutes