Bias in News Sources Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 9-12

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson students consider the meaning of the words “bias” and “prejudice” and consider how bias may be found even at the level of individual words due to connotation. Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media contain ideological messages and have social and political implications in considering why it is particularly important to consider possible bias in news reporting. The key concept that each medium has a distinct aesthetic form is introduced as students learn about the “inverted pyramid” structure of news reporting and consider how this may lead to bias. Students then evaluate a variety of news sources with regards to the degree of bias and then demonstrate their understanding of the concept by creating an intentionally biased news report.

This lesson is part of the That's Not Me: Diversity in Media lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • understand the concept of bias
  • identify a point of view based on word choice
  • understand the role of subjectivity and perception in media
  • understand the reasons why bias might occur in news
  • recognize the different ways in which bias can occur in news reporting
  • demonstrate an understanding of how bias occurs in news reporting
  • write in a given literary form

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit