English Language / Media Studies KS3: How fake news is presented

Tina Daheley looks at what fake news is and gives students a guide to determining which stories are fake and which can be relied on.

She talks to Megha Mohan, a senior broadcast journalist from BBC News, who helps her separate genuine and fake news.

They show how deliberately misleading stories are often presented as real news stories and unpicks some of the reasons why fake news exists.

The main drivers of money-making, influencing readers’ opinions and satire are explored with a look at stories about high profile people.

Several examples of stories that appear to be from trusted sources are shown and the problems with these stories are discussed.

They then look at some of the fake news stories that appeared around the time of the 2016 US election campaign that were shared on social media.

They discuss how features of genuine news stories are used in fake news, such as headlines, photos, and the names of news providers.

Advice is given about searching online for the news providers and finding an example of the same news story on a credible news site.

Fake news can be convincing and Daheley explores how we can avoid being lured in by false stories.

A group of young people are shown a sequence of fake and real news stories and they attempt to sort them.

They discuss the importance of logos, trusted news sources, bias and language.

The young people also talk about the trustworthiness of news stories and fact checking and how the use of quotations and opinions can make a story seem more convincing.

This clip is from the series Making the News.

Teacher Notes

Look at several trusted news websites and identify the features of these – include headlines, photos, logos, and quotes from reliable sources.

Discuss the problem of fake news.

Some questions to explore include: Why do people set up fake news? What dangers are involved with fake news? Why would readers believe fake news?

Give students a selection of news stories to read and sort into fake and real, in the same way that the young people in the clip are asked to.

Students should explain which features of real news are used by each of the stories and discuss how a story might be convincing even when it is fake.

Curriculum Notes

This series is relevant for teaching English and Media Studies at Key Stage 3 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and at Level 3 in Scotland.