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What happens when a journalist
gets it wrong?

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Jeff Kocur

Title

What happens when a journalist gets it wrong?

Description

Inaccurate reporting is not the same as fake news, but it can carry the same consequence. What are the forces at play that compel journalists to strive for accuracy? How do media organizations stay accountable for the work of their journalists? What happens when a journalist makes a mistake, and what happens when a media outlet loses the trust of its audience and/or advertisers.

Objectives

  • Students will understand free market forces which drive media outlets to strive for accuracy.
  • Students will become familiar with the consequences of inaccurate reporting.
  • Students will research an incident of inaccurate reporting including the responses from the culpable media organization afterward.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

 

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Story on CNN reporter resignations

Exit ticket (below)

Lesson step-by-step

  1. Read the attached article as a jump-in reading activity, and have students discuss the following question as a think-pair-share. (15 minutes)

After the information was deemed unreliable, what steps did CNN take to show they

were not purposefully peddling fake news?

  1. After a brief discussion, share that the CNN incident is not by any means the first time a

news organization has been exposed for stories that were inaccurate or blatantly untrue.

         (30 minutes).

Ask the students if they know of any off the top of their heads?

Place your students in groups of four, and share the attached Disgraced journalists slideshow(see the slideshow below) with them. Each group will choose one journalist (make sure groups report out who they are researching to avoid duplicates) who ruined his or her career by reporting false, inaccurate, or poorly reported information.

Each group will have about 15 minutes to research and create, and about two minutes to report out.

  1. Final Steps/Assessment (5 minutes)

Exit ticket:

Ask the students to reflect on the following question before they leave the room:

What are three concrete steps a reputable media operation should take when they discover a published story has major errors in it?

Disgraced journalists slideshow

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How do we assist teachers about
understanding the First Amendment?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The Knight Foundation’s recently released 2016 study of student and teacher beliefs, Future of the First Amendment, reported teacher responses that raise First Amendment concerns.

Teacher results showed:
• When asked if  high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities, 66 percent of students strongly or mildly agreed. Teachers had a 61 percent disapproval rate.
• When asked whether students should be allowed to express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook or other social media without worrying about being punished by teachers or school administrators for what they say, 33 percent of teachers strongly or mildly agreed while 54 percent of students did.
• When asked whether schools should be allowed to discipline students who post material on social media outside of school that school officials say is offensive, 28 percent of students strongly or mildly agree while 52 percent of  teachers did.

To get a better idea of how journalism education organizations can react to these findings, we would appreciate your thoughts:

• How can journalism teachers reach out to their peers who don’t understand journalistic freedoms or the importance of those freedoms?
• How can journalism teachers reach out to their non-journalism peers  who don’t support journalistic freedoms for scholastic media about the importance of those freedoms?
• What types of materials should JEA develop to assist these teachers?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism teachers who face prior review and restraint of student media (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism  teachers who don’t support freedom of expression for scholastic media  (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• What additional resources or materials should JEA develop to support journalism and non-journalism teachers  (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• Other comments or suggestions?

Please use the comment section below or contact SPRC current director John Bowen or committee member Lori Keekley with your thoughts.

The Knight Foundation survey, compiled by Kenneth Dautrich of the Stats Group, polled 11,998 high students and 726 teachers. It is the sixth Knight FoundationFuture of the First Amendment since 2004. Past results can be found here.

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Knight study shows hope, raises issues

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The 2016 Knight Foundation’s study of student and teacher beliefs, Future of the First Amendment, has some good news about student beliefs but is equally troubling about what teachers think.

The study showed that 91 percent of students agree people “should be able to express  unpopular opinions” compared with 83 percent in 2004.

Results also showed students who more frequently consume news and actively engage with news on social media demonstrate stronger support for First Amendment freedoms.

Teacher responses, on the other hand, create some areas of concern.

When asked if  high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities, 66 percent of students strongly or mildly agreed. Teachers had a 61 percent disapproval rate.

• When asked if  high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities, 66 percent of students strongly or mildly agreed. Teachers had a 61 percent disapproval rate.

• When asked whether students should be allowed to express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook or other social media without worrying about being punished by teachers or school administrators for what they say, 33 percent of teachers strongly or mildly agreed while 54 percent of students did.

• When asked whether schools should be allowed to discipline students who post material on social media outside of school that school officials say is offensive, 28 percent of students strongly or mildly agree while 52 percent of  teachers did.

The survey, compiled by Kenneth Dautrich of the Stats Group, polled 11,998 high students and 726 teachers. It is the sixth Knight FoundationFuture of the First Amendment since 2004. Past results can be found here.

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High school students, teachers
report student media censorship

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Twenty-five years after the Supreme Court limited First Amendment protections for high school student journalists, a survey of students and media advisers attending a national journalism convention suggests that censorship in their schools is a common occurrence.hazelwoodcolor

Of the 4,540 students and teachers who attended the National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio, Tex., Nov. 15-18, 2012, 500 students and 78 advisers responded to survey questions asking about their experiences with censorship of student media.

Significant numbers of both students (42 percent) and advisers (41 percent) said school officials had told them not to publish or air something. Fifty-four percent of students reported a school official reviews the content of their student news medium before it is published or aired.  And 58 percent of advisers said someone other than students had the final authority to determine the content of the student media they advise.

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Noteworthy information 7

Posted by on Aug 21, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

If it looks and acts like a cheerleader, it shouldn’t end up being a student news outlet.

At least that’s the view presented in the Center for Scholastic Journalism’s latest post, one in a series of decision-making choices about possible roles for student media. Writing a mission statement using this process is something students should consider as they approach each new year.

“So, in developing the mission and applying it through the year,” the post states, “consider putting ‘building morale’ a ways down the list of media role priorities — not because you’re going to be the voice of gloom and doom and whining, but because you want to tell as many sides as you can of your stories and not just stress the positives.”

A morale builder also should not be how your news publication’s social media comes across.

This particular role seems to be growing with the use of Twitter and Facebook to advertise the student medium and its content.

As we examine our potential roles, in “legacy” as well as “new” media, we need to discuss with our students whether the PR and news roles need to be clearly separated in any use of social media.

I worry that scholastic media is becoming more and more PR-oriented. One, I have concerns that combining the roles makes it difficult for our audiences to tell the difference between promotion and news; and, two, not clearly separating the two roles works against scholastic media when coverage of controversial or sensitive subjects are reported.

For another take on the topic, see a Poynter Making Sense of News piece published Aug. 20 (scroll down one or two posts).

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