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Deceptive news lessons

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Blog, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

In the era of the fight against fake news, we believe journalists must be aware of the social climate surrounding the work they do. The attacks and delegitimization of the news media on a national scale shouldn’t make us question the work we do.

We must be able to educate ourselves and our audiences about the role and mission of a 21st century journalist.

We’ve created this set of tools for educators to promote discussion about truth and credibility in the media we access as makers, sharers, consumers and evaluators. Our lessons are listed below:

Deceptive news

Interpretation, framing and sourcing

Why, and how, can two people be exposed to the exact same news story and interpret it differently? Why should this matter to journalists? People interpret the news differently depending on their cognitive schematic structure, or prior experiences. It’s important for journalists to understand this process so they can better understand how their audiences are interpreting the content they produce, so they can ultimately use that information to help shape their content

Journalists are taught to be objective, so they don’t “frame” stories” … or do they? Whether consciously or unconsciously, research suggests time and time again that what the media decides to cover, and how they cover it, ultimately influences what people find important and how they interpret the news. So it’s important for journalists to consider their story angle, word choice and even interview questions to be sure they don’t rely on social stereotypes, which could potentially be inaccurate, to tell their stories.

In the 21st century, we choose the media sources we consume in an increasingly passive manner. Stories show up in our news feeds and social media feeds, or in forwarded emails; often we don’t know the sources, or the sources look familiar, but they are from nefarious sources. Explore the changing nature of how we consume news, and help your students choose their information wisely.

Deceptive advertising

Questions of fake news and disinformation arise almost daily. Citizens also face information spread by sponsored content, an approach to storytelling designed to bring needed revenue to news media. The trouble is most readers and viewers cannot tell sponsored news from reported news. This lesson can help students understand how sponsored news developed, how to recognize it and ways to assist non-journalism communities in dealing with it.

Because of the rapid spread of sponsored content or native advertising, it is possible your students will have to decide whether to use them in their student media. Faced with that decision, what arguments would students raise and what decisions would they make – and why?

Because of the rapid spread of sponsored content, students may have to decide whether to accept sponsored content in their student media. How well can they recognize it and what would they do once they recognize it?

From previous lessons, student journalists should be aware of native ads and sponsored content and the importance of understanding the issues they raise. Now, they take this awareness and knowledge a step further and become the teachers to their various communities. They can use the positions they reported in the last lesson and inform others.

In this lesson, the teacher will lead students to create a Pinterest board that identifies native ads and sponsored content since it always helps to visually explain journalism terminology.

This lesson should follow other lessons on sponsored content. To help maintain student awareness of native ads and sponsored content, students will create Storify news stories and publish them to keep themselves and their communities aware of each.

Identification of Fake News

There has been a lot of talk lately about “fake news” because it has been particularly prevalent during the recent 2016 Presidential election campaign. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 62 percent of Americans get their news from social media sites and 44 percent get their news specifically from Facebook. Nearly 90 percent of millennials regularly get news from Facebook. In addition, a recent study from Stanford University revealed that many teens have difficulty analyzing the news; 82 percent of middle school students surveyed couldn’t tell the difference between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a legitimate news story.  

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn what fake news is, differentiate it from other types of news (including satirical, misleading and tabloid news), develop strategies for spotting fake news and consider what can be done about the proliferation of fake news.

Following the How to Spot Fake News lesson or Satire’s role in Current Events lesson (or perhaps even on its own or before the lesson), urge students to download the Jeopardy-style game to see how they really do in identifying fake news.

In this lesson, students explore propaganda techniques, and discuss how they are the targets of advertisers and politicians. Students will understand and identify how propaganda techniques are used to influence them into doing, feeling and believing a message that may or may not be of benefit to them. Students will create their own propaganda message using one (or more) of 11 known propaganda techniques. The key is to help students begin an awareness of, and the ability to identify, how their outlook on life is related to the messages they see. This lesson takes one 60-minute class period to complete.

In this lesson, students pick up where they left off in propaganda techniques as well as the concept of “spin” and discuss how politicians use these techniques to sway public opinion. Students will identify propaganda used in past and current ads and create their own advertisement using an assigned propaganda technique. Students will also examine how politicians spin current events to suit their own agendas and will assume the role of a prominent political figure’s communication representative who is responsible for spinning news events.

To go to another of the fake news categories in Tools of Truth:

• Sloppy reporting

Censorship

Satire

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Contributors

Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

John Bowen, MJE

Maggie Cogar, CJE

Michael Johnson

Lori Keekley, MJE

Jeff Kocur, CJE

Kristin Taylor, CJE

 

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How the media frame the news
and what journalists should consider

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

by Maggie Cogar

Title

How the media frame the news and what journalists should consider

*The lesson plan “How people interpret the news and why it matters” is meant to be used before this lesson. It will help give students a background on news interpretation and processing before moving on to news framing and effects.

Description
Journalists are taught to be objective, so they don’t “frame” stories” … or do they? Whether consciously or unconsciously, research suggests time and time again that what the media decides to cover, and how they cover it, ultimately influences what people find important and how they interpret the news. So it’s important for journalists to consider their story angle, word choice and even interview questions to be sure they don’t rely on social stereotypes, which could potentially be inaccurate, to tell their stories.

Objectives

  • Students will explain and discuss how the media frame content.
  • Students will evaluate word choice and story angle in existing news stories.
  • Students will apply these concepts to their own writing, by adjusting interview questions, story angle and word choice as needed.
  • In the extension assignment, students will research a specific topic to see how the media frames it (i.e. female athletes, climate change, etc.).

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
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.W.11-12.7 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.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Clip: Framing video clip

Slideshow: See How the media frame the news at the bottom of the lesson

Also see: Related lesson plan

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 —  Entrance Activity (5 minutes)

Show the following video clip from the tv show Scandal, that considers gender stereotypes in the news (refer back to previous lesson plan on news interpretation for the social construction of gender) … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1oyIEgDWAQ

Step 2 — Lecture & Class Discussion (20 minutes)

Use the framing slideshow (with instructor notes) to discuss how the media frames the news. (see the bottom of the lesson)

Step 3 — Framing Activity (20 minutes)

Students will …

  • Make four columns on a piece of paper and label them story angle, visuals, design and word choice
  • Read this story and takes notes in each column with overall impressions in each category.
  • Questions to consider:
    • What is the main angle of the story? Is it biased? One sided?
    • Do the visuals match the main angle of the story? Do the visuals enhance understanding of the story or distract from it?
    • How does the overall design of the story frame it? I.e. what is main angle of the story as told by the design?
    • Are there any words used in the story that could have loaded meaning or be interpreted the wrong way? Are there any words that may paint the picture in a more positive or negative light?

Step 4 — Exit Slip (5 minutes)

On a piece of paper respond:

Will what you learned today impact what you do as a journalist? How?

Extension

Have students research a specific group or issue to see how the media portrays it. Examples of research topics include …

  • Gender (specifically they could look at female athletes, female politicians, parent roles, male models or athletes, etc.)
  • Race (they can look at this in relation to many things like race & athletes, race & criminal coverage, etc.)
  • Climate change
  • Abortion
  • Equal marriage

Further resources: Links to stories to analyze framing

http://www.startribune.com/search-firm-knew-of-st-paul-superintendent-candidate-s-bankruptcy/425706293/

http://www.dispatch.com/article/20160125/NEWS/301259783

How the media frame the news slideshow

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Fake news in an ever-changing media environment

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

by Jeff Kocur

Title

Fake news in an ever-changing media environment

Description
In the 21st century, we choose the media sources we consume in an increasingly passive manner. Stories show up in our news feeds and social media feeds, or in forwarded emails; often we don’t know the sources, or the sources look familiar, but they are from nefarious sources. Explore the changing nature of how we consume news, and help your students choose their information wisely.

Objectives

  • Students will define the terms fake news and post-truth
  • Students will determine a difference between inaccuracies in news media and fake news
  • Students will explore some of the forces changing the way media is consumed and created.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
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.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Article: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/journalism-fights-survival-post-truth-era/

Video clip: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/post-truth-word-of-the-year-2016-oxford-dictionaries/

Newseum: E.S.C.A.P.E. poster from Newseum

Worksheet (below)

As media lines ‘Blur,’ we all become editors 

Lesson step-by-step

  1. Introduction (10 minutes)
    Begin the lesson by showing the following video clip illustrating “post-truth” as the Oxford dictionary word of the year.

Share this definition on a screen:  “Post-Truth: relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Ask students to discuss the following questions with a partner:

  • What is one potential consequence of a post-truth era?
  • Define the difference between fake news and inaccuracies in reporting. Students should try to come up with their own definitions for discussion as a class.
  1. Article and assessment (40 minutes)

Share the Wired.com article discussing journalism in the post-truth era and ask students to complete the attached worksheet

  1. Extension/Homework:

Have the students read or listen to this NPR article and email one connection they see between Wired article.

Journalism fights for survival in the post truth era

By Jason Tanz Wired.com

  1. The article asserts that 30 years ago, people worried the news media might have had too much power. Come up with three reasons (from the article and your own understanding or observations) of why this might have been true.

a.

b.

c.

  1. From your own understanding of fake news and the post-truth era, in what ways might the media have more power today than it did 30 years ago?
  2. The article quotes Chomsky and Herman’s view of the historical function of the media “the raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print” and they state “The result was a false national consensus, one that ignored outlying facts, voices, and ideas.”

In your opinion, have “outlying facts, voices, and ideas” been brought to light in the internet age? What has been the impact of this?

  1. Journalists were once pushed toward “middle of the road consensus because of the economic model of journalism.” Using this idea, explain the difference between broadcasting and narrowcasting, and see if you can do it without looking up the terms.

Does better journalism happen when you appeal to a wide range of beliefs and thoughts or does better journalism happen when you can focus on fringe voices that don’t always get heard through mainstream channels?

Defend your answer.

  1. The author argues that readers are essentially the new publishers. It is demand for stories that drives content, and appealing to people’s feelings is the best way to drive demand. Identify three ways in which an author of a fake news story may try to appeal to people’s feelings?

     a.

     b.

     c.

  1.   Find an example of a widely circulated fake news story that appeals to the emotions of a specific audience.
  2. Print it off or link to it here
  3. Identify the audience this story is meant to target. How do you know?
  4. Using the ESCAPE principles (handout or link), explain why you know not to trust this source.
  5. Identify the feelings the author is trying to stir to create demand.
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Sponsored content and native ads:
Community education

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

by John Bowen

Title

Sponsored content and native ads: Community education

Description — fourth in the sequence
From previous lessons, student journalists should be aware of native ads and sponsored content and the importance of understanding the issues they raise. Now, they take this awareness and knowledge a step further and become the teachers to their various communities. They can use the positions they reported in the last lesson and inform others.

Objectives

  • Students will identify a community for which they would prepare a presentation on native ads or sponsored content.
  • Students will prepare arguments, pro and con, to prepare for the presentation.
  • Students will construct the presentation for their chosen community to create dialogue and action.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
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.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Blackboard or whiteboard

Teacher laptop and digital projector

Internet access

Rubric for student article summary and statement

Small group Action Plan organizational form

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Warm-up (5 minutes)

Students have learned about sponsored content and native ads. Now they are going to create plans to share their knowledge with chosen communities.

Step 2 — Small group work (45 minutes)

The teacher will ask students to discuss what they think would be the most effective strategies to influence others about the topics of native ads or sponsored content. During the discussions students would also talk about the best strategies and to which communities students could reach out.

Students should reassemble into small groups of their choice to do the following:

  • Identify and choose a community they feel would benefit from a presentation about native ads or sponsored content. (Middle school groups, other high school peers, civic groups, school board, faculty, etc.)
  • Select a focus on either native ads or sponsored content.
  • Discuss which resources they had access to turning their classes on the topic that would be the most helpful for a presentation to their chosen community They could assignment certain resources to group members.
  • Presentation platform(s) (live presentation, forum, podcast, video, written articles, slideshows, combinations, etc.)
  • Begin to complete the action plan organizational form
  • Depending on choice of group, type of presentation and more, the small group teams will work to create their action plan organizational form and establish a timeframe for its presentation.
  • Students would do as much planning, research and decision-making in this class as they can. They should also try to share with the teacher questions and concerns.

Assessment

Because it is a group project, the teacher will ask students to create a one-page reflection on the outcomes of the action plan.

Differentiation

It is quite likely the teacher might plan one or more work days for completion of the action plan. Additional class periods might be set aside for:

  • Completion of research and outline of presentation. Personal assignments
  • Practice of presentation approaches. Development of evaluation approaches and forms.
  • Evaluation of the presentation
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What are native ads and sponsored content
and what issues do they raise?

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

by John Bowen

Title

What are native advertising and sponsored content and what issues do they raise?

Description — first in a sequence
Questions of fake news and disinformation arise almost daily. Citizens also face information spread by sponsored content, an approach to storytelling designed to bring needed revenue to news media. The trouble is most readers and viewers cannot tell sponsored news from reported news. This lesson can help students understand how sponsored news developed, how to recognize it and ways to assist non-journalism communities in dealing with it.

Objectives

  • Students will explore sponsored news and be able to identify it.
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast sponsored news with native advertising.
  • Students will evaluate and analyze sponsored news content.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
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.SL.11-12.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Blackboard or whiteboard

Teacher laptop and digital projector

Internet access

Rubric for student article summary and statement

Student computers if available

Links used for this lesson:

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Warm-up (5 minutes)

The teacher will ask students if they have ever heard of native advertising or sponsored content, if they could recognize it if they saw it and where might they see it.

Depending on student responses, the teacher will raise other questions and ask for more explanation.

Step 2 — Large group work (45 minutes)

The warm-up should lead to the teacher sharing definitions:

  • Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user platform in which it is placed.
  • Sponsored content is material which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser  or other information provider and intended to promote the advertiser’s product or services.

The teacher would also discuss the differences and similarities between the two. These sites can provide background information:

From there, the discussion could delve into why news media might favor or oppose their use, with the instructor providing background, historical and current.

Links for this question:

Once students understand the rationale for use of native advertising and sponsored content, the teacher could focus the discussion on the plusses and minuses. The teacher should ask a student to note potential plusses and minuses on the board for further discussion. Students could also use the sponsored news and native ads notes form.

With the points on the board, the teacher will ask students to choose one of the following articles on native advertising or sponsored content from the list below. Students will read the article and summarize its content in a 250-300 word statement emphasizing the pros and cons of the article’s focus. The student article should also contain the student’s views of the value of native ads or sponsored content.

List of choices for the writing assignment (and students could also use links referred to earlier):

Students will turn in their statements at the beginning of the next class or share digitally with the teacher.

Assessment

The teacher will evaluate the students’ summaries and value statements using the accompanying rubric. Students should keep the assignment for future reference.

Note:

Students could be given a list of links to read and take notes on as homework instead of reading or referring to them in class discussion.

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