Media Moments Western Reserve Public Media

Constructing the News Story


Accuracy, Fairness and Ethics — High School

Television, newspapers, magazines, computers and the Internet constitute a large segment of what is considered “mass media.” We get most of our information from these sources. It is important that the people responsible for constructing this information environment deal with the elements of accuracy, fairness and ethics in each story. It is our job as consumers of information to question what we are presented with. We need to test the accuracy, fairness and ethics of the stories that are presented. We need to become critical thinkers.


Students will evaluate the fairness, accuracy and ethics of a variety of stories found in “mass media.”

Students will write a response to a story from the Web.


Standard Addressed:

Language Arts, Writing, Communications
Grade 3, Benchmark B, Listening and Viewing

2. Identify types of arguments used by the speaker, such as authority and appeals to emotion.

3. Analyze the credibility of the speaker (e.g., hidden agendas, slanted or biased material) and recognize fallacies of reasoning used in presentations and media messages.



Hard copy of article California Velcro Crop Under Challenge or Web access, board



  1. Discuss the idea that an article can be written in the press or on the web or broadcast of television or radio and still not be true. Have the students read California Velcro Crop Under Challenge. Have the students discuss how accurate these statements are.

  2. Get a copy of a tabloid paper from your local supermarket.

  3. Analyze the stories in it for fairness and ethics.

  4. Discuss the long-term impact of unfair, erroneous or damaging headlines to the person about whom the story is written.

  5. Have the students select one story from the tabloid and write a critique of the story. Have them rewrite the story in a fair, accurate and ethical way. (Students may have to do either library or Web research to come up with facts to make the story accurate.)




The following rubric will be used for evaluation.

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Organization Information in logical, interesting sequence which reader can follow. Student presents information in logical sequence which reader can follow. Reader has difficulty following work because student jumps around. Sequence of information is difficult to follow.
Content Knowledge Student demonstrates full knowledge (more than required). Student is at ease with content, but fails to elaborate. Student is uncomfortable with content and is able to demonstrate basic concepts. Student does not have grasp of information; student cannot answer questions about subject.
Grammar and Spelling Presentation has no misspellings or grammatical errors Presentation has no more than two misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Presentation has three misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Work has four or more spelling errors and/or grammatical errors.
Neatness Work is neatly done. Work has one or two areas that are sloppy. Work has three or four areas that are sloppy. Work is Illegible.
References Work displays the correct number of references, written correctly. Reference section was completed incorrectly Work does not have the appropriate number of required references. Work displays no references.
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