Critical News Literacy (Paperback) book cover

Critical News Literacy

By Jeffrey Dvorkin

© 2019 – Routledge

148 pages

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In an era of "fake news" and a seemingly insurmountable influx of data on the Internet, it is critical for both journalists and citizens to understand the digital media we consume daily. This introductory textbook gives students the tools they need to think critically about the news, and to see reliable news as an essential aspect of what it means to be an informed citizen in a democracy.

After reading this text, students will be able to: 

  • Analyze key elements of news reports by weighing evidence, evaluating sources, noting context and transparency to judge reliability.
  • Distinguish among journalism, informed opinion and unsupported opinions.
  • Identify and distinguish between news media bias and audience bias.
  • Use examples from the daily news media to show critical thinking about civic engagement.
  • Develop a skeptical and engaged approach to social media and digital technology.


"Read this remarkable compendium of wisdom to know for good what separates the wheat from the chaff in journalism – today, tomorrow, and far into the future. Jeffrey Dvorkin, an internationally recognized authority on journalistic excellence and credibility, has made a vitally important and timeless contribution." -Kevin Klose, President Emeritus, National Public Radio (NPR), Washington DC, USA

"News literacy is fast becoming the most pressing aspect of civic education. This book, from one of the wisest and most experienced heads in the business, is an excellent guide full of rich insight and clear guidance." -Richard Sambrook, Cardiff University, UK

"Critical News Literacy presents a cogent, accessible approach to help students evaluate the quality of information in today’s challenging media ecology. Jeffrey Dvorkin’s book could not be more timely, nor more necessary." -Alan Stavitsky, University of Nevada, Reno, USA

"As a sharp-eyed introduction to contemporary media practices, Critical News Literacy is tough and insightful, deeply informed, richly detailed, good humored, and – as teachers and students alike will appreciate – a pleasure to read and learn from." -Ed Wasserman, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to News Literacy

Chapter 2: Strengths and Vulnerabilities of the News

Chapter 3: Does the News Always Give Us the "Truth"?

Chapter 4: Verification (or How Do We Know?)

Chapter 5: What Makes the News Different (and Does It Matter?)

Chapter 6: Can the News be "Fair and Balanced"?

Chapter 7: "Who’s Biased Now? Not Me!"

Chapter 8: What’s News? Who Decides?

Chapter 9: Framing and Deconstructing the News

Chapter 10: Sources: Credible and Incredible

Chapter 11: News Literacy in a Time of "Fake News"

Chapter 12: Why News Literacy? Why Now?

About the Author

Jeffrey Dvorkin is a lecturer and director of the journalism program at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. His journalistic career began at CBS News in London while still a graduate student at the London School of Economics. For more than 20 years, he was a CBC journalist in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto where he became Managing Editor and Chief Journalist for CBC Radio. In 1997, he was named Vice-President, News and Information at NPR in Washington, DC, where he subsequently became NPR’s first news ombudsman, handling ethical complaints and concerns from listeners.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies