MediaWise for Gen Z

Misinformation is everywhere. More than half of Americans admit to sharing made-up news online. Most of them didn’t know it was fake when they shared it.

While digitally savvy teens have grown up on the internet, research from Stanford History Education Group shows that the vast majority of teenagers have trouble navigating digital information — from viral hoaxes on Instagram to sponsored content on news sites. Especially during an election year, this issue has real-world consequences.

MediaWise is teaching teens to be critical media consumers and make decisions based on facts.

(Read our editorial standards here.)

The 4 pillars of the project

  1. Curriculum: Stanford History Education Group released high school and middle school curriculum called Civic Online Reasoning that’s free to use. *
  2. In-person and virtual training: MediaWise team members host in-person and virtual events at middle and high schools nationwide: 65+ trainings so far teaching more than 15,000 students.
  3. Teen Fact-Checking Network: Dozens of teens work with us virtually from across America to fact-check content online as members of the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN).
  4. Ambassadors: Our MediaWise Ambassadors — prominent journalists and social media influencers —  are helping us spread the word.

Some of the biggest champions for our cause are our MediaWise Ambassadors. They work with us in a variety of ways to spread the MediaWise message. For example, best-selling author John Green — author of “The Fault in Our Stars” — hosted a 10-part video series called Navigating Digital Information on the CrashCourse YouTube channel. The series has more than 1 million views.

Founding ambassador Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” worked with the MediaWise team to teach hundreds of students digital literacy skills at a training event at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. Holt also featured MediaWise on “NBC Nightly News” after the event.

Feb. 13, 2019: “NBC News” and “Dateline NBC” anchor Lester Holt and MediaWise hold a joint event at Washington D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School to teach students about digital literacy.

How can you get involved?

For everyone:

Follow us on social media! Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. TikTok.  Send us claims to fact-check. Use the hashtag #IsThisLegit to flag us on claims you want helping checking out online. Feel free to message us directly, too  — @MediaWise across social.


For teens:

Join the Teen Fact-Checking Network! Visit the MediaWise Twitter or Instagram to find out whether applications are open. You’ll learn how to create original fact-checking videos for Instagram and help us teach MediaWise tips along the way. If you’re in middle school or high school in the United States, contact the team at


For educators:

Want to bring MediaWise to your school for a training event? Email us with your specific request at to get connected.


For journalists:

Interested in covering MediaWise? Email us at

(Read our editorial standards here)

MediaWise is a nonprofit, nonpartisan project of the Poynter Institute. It is made possible thanks to grant funding and charitable donations by:

* Poynter’s partnership with Stanford History Education Group concludes in June, 2020.