Investigate the Source: Is the Straits Times a reliable news source?
SKILL: Investigate the Source
SUBJECT(S): Pop Culture
Students investigate the Straits Times using Wikipedia to learn that it is a Singapore-based professional news source that they can rely on to get the facts.
Taylor Swift is a pop, country, and folk singer-songwriter that is well-known globally.
About the Example
This article from the Straits Times tells us that a university in Belgium is offering an English literature elective course on Taylor Swift titled, “Literature: Taylor’s Version.” While this claim may seem implausible, we can investigate the source to find out whether the Straits Times is indeed a professional news source.
We can use the Wikipedia trick to learn that the Straits Times is the most widely-circulated newspaper in Singapore and considered to be the country’s ‘newspaper of record.’ This lets us know that this is a professional news source with a trusted reputation that follows professional and ethical standards to ensure that the information they report is as accurate as possible.
- Show students the Straits Times article and ask them to identify the source.
- Have students use Wikipedia to learn more about the source by removing everything after the root URL and adding “Wikipedia” (https://www.straitstimes.com/ Wikipedia). The Wikipedia article about the Straits Times should appear at the top of the search results.
- Have students review the Wikipedia article about the Straits Times. Guiding questions:
- What terms in the Wikipedia article signal that this source is reliable or not?
- What does it mean to be a “newspaper of record?”
- What is the agenda of the Straits Times?