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Censorship 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:

Censorship

In this noncontinuous lesson, students will localize the 2016 Gallup survey “Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults.”  Students will use their technical writing skills to craft the directions (teachers and students), questions similar to the Gallup questions, and an email in addition to tabulating and comparing the survey results. Students will then compare their results with the national results, create an infographic and then write a reflection of the process.

The lesson starts by providing a prompt in which students examine what they would like to cover, but feel they can’t for some reason. Discussion addresses why this self-censorship exists and examines whether this self-censorship should be abandoned.  

Students and the public have a right to view many records kept by schools, municipalities,  states and federal government. Students should review how to submit a public records request and understand the legal aspects of doing so.The Student Press Law Center also hosts an open records letter generator to make it easy to do. Most often, the Freedom of Information Act request will come at a time when you might be crunched for time. Use this lesson to become more familiar with your rights under the Freedom of Information Act.

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

Sloppy reporting

Satire

Deceptive news

Home

 

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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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

Home

 

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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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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Solutions journalism in student publications

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

by Kristin Taylor

Title

Solutions journalism in student publications

Description

Critics accuse the news media of only reporting bad news, but journalists must investigate and report on problems. One alternative to reporting solely on the problem is to report on how people and communities are seeking to solve those problems. This form of investigative journalism is called “solutions journalism.” This lesson provides an introduction to solutions journalism and encourages student reporters to generate ideas about how they could use this approach in their own reporting.

Objectives

  • Students will be able to define solutions-based journalism and analyze how it differs from traditional news coverage.
  • Students will read examples of solution journalism and analyze how a solutions approach changed the article.
  • Students will apply solutions-based thinking to a current topic they could report and create a reporting plan.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

Length

60 minutes

Materials

Whiteboard and markers

Teacher computer and digital projector

Student computers, if available

solutionsjournalism.org video

Bad news isn’t the whole story” episode of On The Media podcast

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Warm up (5 minutes)

Ask, “What is the difference between journalism and advocacy? Given fears about being perceived as advocates rather than objective journalists, how can a reporter write a story about solutions to problems?” Students offer thoughts; teacher records ideas on the board. Say, “Today we are going to explore the concept of Solutions Journalism and think about how you might use this approach for one of your own stories.”

Step 2 — Video and think-pair-share (10 minutes)

Teacher plays two-minute video from solutionsjournalism.org introducing the concept of solutions journalism. In pairs, students summarize what they learned about the concept and come up with a definition for “solutions journalism.” Partners share their definitions with the class.

Step 3 — Class discussion (10 minutes)

As a follow-up, the teacher asks questions to make sure they understand these key ideas:

  • The video does not suggest that ALL journalism should focus on solutions, but rather suggests there should be a mix. Why is that so important?
  • Why would it be important to look at solutions that aren’t working alongside those that are?
  • How is this kind of journalism different from straight advocacy?

Step 4 — Partner activity (25 minutes)

Students meet back up with their partners and go to solutionsjournalism.org. Together, they select two stories to read from “The Best Solutions Journalism of 2016.” (If students do not have access to computers, the teacher can pick out two stories ahead of time and print them out for the class.) Partners should discuss these stories and why the Solutions Journalism Network selected them. They should consider how each story would have been different if it didn’t have a solutions focus.

Step 5 — Assessment (10 minutes)

Groups will share final thoughts and takeaways from these articles and then brainstorm at least three potential problems at school or in our local community. As a class, look at each problem and discuss how students could investigate that problem from a solutions journalism mindset.

Extension

Students can listen to the 11-minute podcast episode of On the Media called “Bad News Isn’t the Whole Story,” an interview with one of the cofounders of the SJN. The class would discuss how Rosenberg responds to journalists who fear being labeled advocates if they practice solutions journalism.

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Developing guidelines for the use of
sponsored content in your student media

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

by John Bowen

Title

Developing guidelines for the possible use of sponsored content (or native ads) in your student media

Description –– second in the sponsored news sequence
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?

Objectives

  • Students will review their plusses and minuses discussion about use of native ads and sponsored content, focusing on the strongest arguments.
  • Students will develop ethical guidelines about the use of native ads and sponsored content in your student media.
  • Students will evaluate their work, the goal being to reach agreement on guidelines for each for inclusion in their staff manual.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
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.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.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Blackboard or whiteboard

Teacher laptop and digital projector

Internet access

Model SPRC ethical guidelines for sponsored content/native ads

Ethical guidelines template

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Warm-up (5 minutes)

The teacher will summarize the discussions on native ads and sponsored content and introduce the concept of students in small groups developing ethical guidelines for the use of native ads and sponsored content in their student media.

Step 2 — Small group work (25 minutes)

The teacher will ask students to form small groups of three or four depending on class enrollment. Half the groups will focus on ethical guidelines for native ads and half on ethical guidelines for sponsored content.

The teacher will distribute links to the ethical guideline models from the SPRC and the ethical guidelines template for student use as required.

Students will create drafts of ethical guidelines to be shared with other teams so they can select items for final statements for their staff manual.

Step 3 — Whole group instruction (20 minutes)

Student groups will share their work with other teams who did the same assignment. At the end of the discussion period student teams will synthesize their work into one final native ads ethical guideline and one final sponsored content ethical guideline for inclusion in student media staff manuals.

Assessment

Since this basically planning work in teams, no individual grades need be given at this point. The teacher might choose to evaluate student work by assigning an opinion statement due the next class. This statement would share with student media audiences why student journalists felt this statement was needed and the issues it addresses.

Extension

Student groups might add one more step in the approval process by digitally sharing final drafts with those handling the other topic for comment and later resolution.

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