News Credibility

Identify how audiences interpret information

Click for related ACADEMY Lesson Plan

Everyone interprets information and news from their own perspective.

  • Class discussion: What in your experience might make you interpret information differently than someone else your own age? in your own family? in your neighborhood?

  • Student exercise: Have a teacher pick a photograph from the newspaper and give it to  students without a caption. Have the students each write a caption and then compare the different captions–and the original newspaper caption.

  • Follow-up exercise: The same exercise can be done with headlines: students can be given the same story and be asked to write a headline.
    Then post all  the headlines that are written. What are the differences?  (They might be of language.  They might be what point is emphasized.)

  • Follow-up exercise: Rewrite that story for two different audiences (old, young, men, women, different political groups, etc.) What would change? What would not?

  • Class discussion: Does all news have to follow the same stylistic template?  Is there room for creativity, remixing and individual expression?

  • Student or small-group exercise: Find several examples of alternative media (radio, podcasts, websites, newspapers, text messaging, etc.) that report news in different ways than mainstream news organizations. What is the value of their kind of news delivery? Are they reaching a different kind of audience? Is their information more credible? Less credible? Why?