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Evaluating your media savvy


Students will evaluate their own personal news media habits based on the media log assigned in the Understanding news literacy lesson and by answering self-reflective questions. Students will consider how their perspectives on news media have developed over time, and what influences their family, community, and education have had on their expectations for journalism.


  • Students will examine their personal media habits.
  • Students will explain and analyze their perspectives on news media and how those perspectives have developed.
  • Students will apply their personal knowledge to the greater workings of journalism in today’s society.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.


50 minutes


Student media log (assigned as homework after Understanding news literacy)

Key: News savvy test

Lesson step-by-step

1. Class media chart — 10 minutes

Explain to students that you’re going to use the personal media logs they created to build a class media chart. Using the whiteboard, create a master chart based on the individual logs, leaving space under media type, then ask students to come up one at a time to add to each category so that their media use is represented on the board. (Example below. Students should expand the list under “name of media” or add a different media type if needed. The chart should represent each student’s media use once it is complete)

Media Type Description of Media Time Spent
Social media Facebook 1 hour
News KKCO evening news 30 minutes
Entertainment Jon Stewart 30 minutes
Retail 15 minutes

Once every student has gone to the board and added to the chart, tally the total time spent under each activity. You will no doubt see a much greater amount of time spent on non-news activities. This will be the the basis for the following discussion.

3. Class discussion — 15 minutes

As a class, discuss the following questions. Ask students to thoughtfully respond to other’s responses and to challenge any stereotypes or general statements about teenagers and media use. The goal is to push students to understand their personal media use, and how an emphasis/expertise in non-news media might make them less informed news media consumers than they otherwise might be.

Q: What trends do you notice in your personal media use?

Q: Why do you think you spent so much more time on other media types besides news?

Q: Let’s look specifically at the news category. Do you think it’s important to get news and information about current events? Why or why not?

Q. Why do you think teens often don’t read or watch the news?

Q. How might reading or watching the news help you in your daily life?

Q. How do you think keeping up with the news might make you a better citizen? What about when you’re an adult? Do you think it’s a necessary part of adulthood to know and understand what’s going on in the world?

4. Individual exercise — 10 minutes

Now that you’ve discussed their personal experience with media and some of their expectations and beliefs, it’s time to evaluate their own news media savvy. That is, what do they know about how the news media world operates? Pass out the short quiz (found at the end of the lesson) and ask students to take 5-10 minutes to answer each question.

5. Quiz regroup and discussion — 15 minutes

Once all students are done with the quiz, go over the answers as a class and explain. Ask students to keep track of which questions they got right or wrong. Ask the following questions:

Q: Were you surprised by how many you knew or how many you missed?

Q: Those of you who answered most of the questions correctly, how did you learn all this

about the news media?

Q: Why do you think knowing the answers to questions like this is good for us as news consumers?


True or False?

1. Journalists must have a certain college degree to get hired and do their jobs.

2. Any news stories printed online have been fact-checked just like those printed in newspapers.

3. The ads that appear as sidebars on most websites are always approved by the people who run the websites.

4. Newspapers, magazines, and websites will always tell you if something they wrote was incorrect.

5. Journalists don’t write stories about their friends.

6. Journalists never write their own opinion.

7. It’s easy to tell if a story is one-sided or unfair.

8. Whoever wrote a story usually writes the headline (or title) that goes with it.

9. Journalists let the people who are in their stories read the articles before they are printed.

10. A good journalist won’t print something if they think it will get someone in trouble.