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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.


  1. Show students the Straits Times article and ask them to identify the source. 
  2. Have students use Wikipedia to learn more about the source by removing everything after the root URL and adding “Wikipedia” ( Wikipedia). The Wikipedia article about the Straits Times should appear at the top of the search results. 
  3. 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?

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