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Curriculum to help students formulate
policies, guidelines and procedures

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Lesson Title

Ethical guidelines and procedure statements: Creating the foundationsprclogo

Description
In this lesson, students will analyze current policies and write guidelines and procedures. Students will then analyze the others’ classwork and provide feedback. Students will be able to rewrite their contribution after the feedback is given. Students will also audit the publication’s diversity.

Objectives

  • Students will analyze their board- or media-level policies.
  • Students will construct guidelines and procedures.
  • Students will examine these guidelines and procedures and revise after receiving feedback.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.9.B Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Length
300 minutes (6 50-minute classes)

Materials / resources
Resource: Editorial guidelines and policy statements, SPRC website
Resource: Working with a board approved policy, SPRC website

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1:
Materials / resources
Slideshow, Day 1: version 1 or Day 1: version 2  (See below for the version you should use.)

Teacher should have copies of either the board-level and/or media-level policies applicable to student media. (If no policy exists, students will work together to create a First-Amendment friendly one and use version 2 of the slideshow.)

If a board or media-level policy exists:
Step 1: Show slideshow (50 minutes)

Students should work through the slideshow using the Day 1: version 1. When prompted, teacher should disseminate board-level or media-level policy.

If no policy exists:

Step 1: Show slideshow (50 minutes)

Students should work through the slideshow using the Day 1: version 2.  Students will create a media-level policy.

Day 1 Version 1

Day 1, Version 2

Day 2:
Resources
Slideshow: Day 2: Ethical guidelines and procedures

Handout: Foundations of journalism: Policy, procedure, guidelines
Resource: JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee’s Foundations: Editorial guidelines and policy statements
Rubric: Ethical guidelines and procedures
Computer lab (if possible) for Step 3

Step 1 — Slideshow (20 minutes)
Go through the slideshow with the students

Day 2 Slideshow

 

Step 2 — Work time (10 minutes)
If you already have job descriptions, make them available. Ask students what to add or modify from these descriptions.

If you don’t have job descriptions, ask students to create one for a general staffer, editor or adviser.

Step 3 — Small group work (20 minutes)
Hand out the following excerpts from JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism:
Editor-staff relationships
Staff conduct
Balance and objectivity
Academic dishonesty
Ownership of student content
Controversial coverage
News judgment and news values

Ask students to use the handout to draft guidelines or procedures (or both) about their assigned areas using the handout provided (one handout per topic). Also, encourage students to examine the resources listed (if computer lab or other Internet access is possible) and to peer edit each other’s work using the back of the handout.

Students should turn in what they have at the end of the class period. Teacher should not grade these. Teacher will need these for the application phase of the lesson.

Day 3: Diversity and sources
Resources:
Diversity audit
Copies of the publications (including online if available)
Handout: Foundations of Journalism: policies, ethics and staff manuals
Diversity Audit

For this lesson, students will need either Internet access or a copy of the school’s newspaper and yearbook. (Note: you could substitute any type of student media including broadcast, magazine, newsmagazine, etc.)

Step 1 — Class preparation (2 minutes)
Divide the class into groups of three. Explain to the class the groups will be completing a “diversity audit.” They will be using the handout titled “Diversity audit” to record their findings.

Step 2 — Evaluating the newspaper/newsmagazine (10 minutes)
The groups should first get a copy of the print or online publication. Divide the students up by the different pages/webpages. (For example, the first group of three should assess the first news page, the second should assess the second page, etc.) Ask students to record the information asked of them on the handout. Ask students to hold on to the publications until after the large group discussion.

Step 3 — Evaluating the yearbook (20 minutes)
Pass out copies of the most recent yearbook. Again, divide the students up by pages. This should take a longer because they may have more to comb through in order to find the information required. Ask students to hold on to the publications until after the large group discussion.

Step 4 — Reporting findings (10 minutes)

Ask students to tally their findings on the board using the Diversity audit pdf.

Step 5 — Large group discussion (5 minutes)
Post the percentage breakdown of the student body on the board. Ask students to look at the percentage of students used. Does the coverage reflect the makeup of the student body? Are any groups under or overrepresented?

Step 6 — Policy starter assignment (3 minutes)
Tell the students that now that they have examined the coverage, how should they craft a guideline or procedure on diversity of sources using the handout. They should bring a draft to the next class meeting. Everyone will draft a guideline or procedure on this topic.

Extension:
Teacher could expand this to as many student media platforms as they have. Teacher might need to add a day to lessons.

Day 4
Rubric: Ethical guidelines and procedures
Slideshow: Day 4: Ethical guidelines and procedures
Web resource and computer lab: JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism

Step 1 — Large-group discussion (10 minutes)
Ask students to share their homework from the previous class.

Step 2 — Recrafting (5 minutes)
Give students time to rewrite their homework if they would like. (Teacher will assess this based on same rubric given Day 2.)

Step 3 — Slideshow (5 minutes)
Show Slideshow: Day 4: Manuals, guidelines, procedures

Day 4 Slideshow

 

Step 4 — Group assignments (Remainder of the class)
(this may be pairs, depending on how many students you have). You may assign each group two of the topics below.

Ask students to use the handout to draft guidelines or procedures (or both) about their assigned areas using the handout provided (one handout per topic). Also, encourage students to examine the resources listed and questions provided in the resource: JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism (if computer lab or other Internet access is possible). Students should peer edit each other’s work using the back of the handout in whatever time remains in the class.

Students should turn in what they have at the end of the class period. Teacher should not grade these. Teacher will need these for the application phase of the lesson.
Treatment of sources
Recording sources during interviews
Allowing sources to preview content before publication
Emailing and texting digital information gathering
Verification
Unnamed sources
Treatment of minors
Public records and meetings
Handling links
Providing context
Advertising
Social media
Sponsored content
Use of profanity
Obituaries
Visual reporting
Guidelines for breaking news
Evaluating and critiquing content
Correcting errors
Takedown requests
Handling letters to the editor, online comments

Day 5
Resources
Class set of policies and guidelines as created by students (Teacher will need to create this packet from submitted student work.)

Handouts: Scenario practice    Scenario key

Rubric: Ethical guidelines and procedures

Computer lab to access JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism

Step 1 — Preparation

Teacher should make copies of the  ethical guidelines and procedures created for the entire class and should have the Foundations available.

Step 2 — Small groups (40 minutes)

Students should use the guidelines and go through the scenarios. They should:

  1. identify the area applicable and use the corresponding guideline or procedure as created by the class.
  2. look at JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism and go through the questions for each section.
  3. make notes on any discrepancies found while practicing these scenarios.

Step 4 — Feedback (10 minutes)

This step is intended to allow students to obtain feedback and change their guidelines and procedures as needed.

What worked and didn’t work about each policy or guideline? The group who created the policy or guideline should lead the discussion concerning this. Have someone from each group take notes.

Day 6
Resources

Class set of policies and guidelines as created by students (Teacher will need to create this packet from submitted student work.)

Slideshow: Scenario practice

Rubric: Ethical guidelines and procedures

Computer lab to access JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism

Step 1 — Preparation
Teacher should make copies of the ethical guidelines and procedures created for the entire class and should have the Foundations available.

Step 2 — Small groups (20 minutes)
Students should look as pairs four of the topics not already used in the scenarios using the JEA’s SPRC website: Foundations of Journalism as a resource. Teacher should divide the foundation points by the number of groups and assign the topics to each group. (For example, the first group will tackle the first five listed. The second group will address the next five, etc.) Students also could use the rubric if they need more guidance.

Step 3 — Large-group feedback (25 minutes)
Students should report back to the large group on the points they assessed.

What worked and didn’t work about each policy or guideline? The group who created the policy or guideline should lead the discussion concerning this. Have someone from each group take notes.

Step 4 — Assignment (5 minutes)
Students responsible for each segment of the policy or guideline should plan how they will revise any content. These will be due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

Teacher should remind students to reference the rubric provided.

Differentiation
As indicated, it’s important for students to evaluate what they have. If any item is missing or they would like to include one not listed above, students should craft the missing procedure or guideline.

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