News Literacy Primer: How to Evaluate Information


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News Literacy Primer: How to Evaluate Information

Separating fact from opinion and identifying trustworthy news sources online can be challenging. Learn to identify credible news resources and evaluate information you find on the Internet and elsewhere.

Type: Self-Directed Course
Updated in 2018
Time Estimate: 3 hours


SKU: NUSDT12-15 Category:


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The Internet is often called the “Information Superhighway,” and for good reason. Massive amounts of information vie for the attention of Internet users from countless sources. It’s easy for a media consumer to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that is available with a few clicks of a mouse.

Sorting through all that information — news, analysis, fact, opinion — and figuring out which information you can trust can be challenging. But as a journalist, a future journalist or a thoughtful media consumer, you’ve come to the right place. This course will give you the knowledge and tools to sift through content of all types and sort fact from opinion, news from nonsense.

Want to integrate this course into your curriculum or training program? Contact us at We can create a special edition of this course for your students or staffers. As a bonus, you’ll get access to an Instructor Dashboard™, giving you access to their assessment scores.

Looking for more? We also offer a Language PrimerNumeracy Primer and a host of other courses you can build into Digital Course Packs to supplement your syllabus. Let NewsU be your online resource for teaching tools.

What will I learn

In this course, you will learn to:

  • Tell the difference between factual content and opinions
  • Determine which content, whether a “news” story or a restaurant review, can be trusted
  • Discern whether content is balanced and fair
  • Identify several types of factual, opinion and advertising content, including promoted content and “native” content
  • Evaluate whether a news story provides enough context for the audience to understand its importance and value
  • Avoid the “two-sides” trap that often creates a sense of false balance
  • Decide when it is necessary to inform your audience that a particular perspective on an issue is simply not true
  • Consider whether a story offers information from expert sources who represent multiple perspectives — without promoting a particular viewpoint
  • Become an informed consumer who thinks critically about media encountered online

Who should take this course

Journalists, editors, journalism students, educators, media organizations managers, anyone who consumes media online, in print or on TV or radio

Course instructor

Pam Hogle

Pamela Hogle is a freelance writer and editor. She holds master’s degrees in journalism and canine studies. Pam has taught editing at USFSP and worked as a copy editor at The Jerusalem Report and as a technical and marketing writer for NDS Technologies.