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TruthQuester! Badge

This information literacy badge may be earned and awarded to students at Southern New Hampshire University. Others are free to participate, however may not earn a SNHU-authored badge.

News on Social Media:
Where does it come from?

If you get your news from Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram or other social media, that information originated on media outlets across the web. These outlets are the ones documented on the Media Bias Chart. Next time, before you click, dig a little deeper... where is the information coming from?

Google Web Search

What does Google say?

From text to memes to videos, where do you go next? Google, right? 

  • Below are results from a Google search for "gun violence" (including quotation marks)
  • The three highlighted websites below are all news publications
  • Pick one of the sites highlighted in yellow; type in the name of the source into the media bias chart (see below); see where it is classified on the spectrum from "most extreme left" to "most extreme right." 

This screenshot shows a article from August 13, 2019 titled - How likely is the risk of being shot in America? It depends...- is highlighted.

This screenshot shows a article from December 17, 2019 titled "22 stories about gun violence that are shocking..." is highlighted.

This screenshot shows a Fox News article titled "Gun violence fuels murder rise in some cities even with..." is highlighted.

Keep scrolling for your task...

Media Bias Chart

Below is a media bias chart produced by a nonpartisan group, Ad Fontes Media This link opens in a new window. Notice the designations along the top as the chart categorizes media sources from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. Notice the criteria down the side from "Original fact reporting" to "Contains inaccurate, fabricated info." Watch the video below this chart about how your Google search results might be biased. Then scroll down to see instructions for your next task!

media bias chart produced by a nonpartisan group, Ad Fontes Media

For the most recent version of the Media Bias Chart (Version 6.0), visit Ad Fontes Media's Interactive Chart This link opens in a new window. When the page opens, be sure to scroll down to the interactive chart where you may type in your media outlet name to see where it falls on the chart for reliability and partisan bias.

Beware Online Filter Bubbles

The video below is a clip of a TED Talk by Eli Pariser explaining the phenomenon of filter bubbles on the internet.

Watch this video:

Your Task:

  1. Pick one media outlet from the Media Bias Chart above and record it on your poster template. Note which column your source is from on the chart and add that label to your template ("extreme liberal" or "skewed liberal" or "neutral" or "skews conservative" or "extreme conservative." 

  2. Go to your selected media outlet website and search using the key word "gun violence" (be sure to include quotation marks so it will search for that phrase and not the individual words). 

  3. Select one relevant article from the result list; screenshot it and paste it into your poster template in the designated area. Remember to copy and paste the link beneath the image.

  4. Practice SIFT This link opens in a new window to check the validity of the source:

    • Stop
      • Do you know the website or source of information? What is the reputation of both the claim and the website? If you don't have that information, use the next moves to get a sense of what you are looking at. 
      • What is your purpose? If you just want to repost, read an interesting story, or get a high level explanation of a concept, it probably good enough to find out whether the publication is reputable. If you are doing serious research, you might want to chase down individual claims and verify them independently.
    • Investigate the source
      • What do you already know about the website this article comes from?
        • It's a reliable, trusted news source-go ahead and read the article.
        • Don't know? Keep sifting...
      • Who wrote it? Would you consider them an authority on the topic?
        • Yes? Go ahead and read the article!
        • No? Seek out another source.
    • Find trusted coverage
      • Are there other articles that support and affirm the information in this article?
        • Yes! Bookmark them all-you will need them later.
        • No? Seek out a different article. 
    • Trace claims, quotes and media back to the original context
      • Is the article, video, research or image you're looking at original (not reposted)?
        • No? Track down the original source (or sources) instead!
        • Yes? Go ahead and read or watch the resource and gather information.
      • Is what your looking at the entire work, video, research study (not edited version)?
        • No? Track down the original source (or sources) instead!
        • Yes? Go ahead and read or watch the resource and gather information. 
  5. After "sifting" your article, rate your article on the poster template as: 

    • Fully reliable 
    • Somewhat reliable
    • Unreliable
    • Garbage