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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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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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First Amendment school dialogue

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

by Jeff Kocur

Title:

First Amendment school dialogue

Description

Constitution Day, for journalists, may need to start simply with recognition of the First Amendment and the five freedoms of the First Amendment. This activity will allow your school or individual classes to have a quick discussion of the First Amendment and how your students see their lives impacted by it.

Objectives:

  • Students will recognize the five freedoms of the First Amendment
  • Students will see the impact of the First Amendment on others
  • Students will show the First Amendment’s impact on their own life.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.9 Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.
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.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

Length:

One lunch period (or extend the time over the course of a week during lunches)

Materials/Resources

Five Freedoms poster (make your own or print off the attached version and make it a poster)

Five Freedoms handout

Post-it Notes in five different colors (red, blue, green, yellow and purple)

Sharpie pens

Candy

First Amendment poster

Activity/lesson Step by Step

Step 1 — Preparation

Print off the Five Freedoms poster and blow it up so that you can hang it on a wall in your lunch or commons area.

Step 2 — Student input

Have your editors sit at a table during lunches with the poster, Post-it Notes, markers and a bowl of candy. Use the Google Presentation slideshow if you have a projector available or print off the five slides and laminate them for student reference.

Invite students to see the five different freedoms of the First Amendment and to choose the freedom they use the most often. Make sure they see the example sheets for the five different freedoms.

Have them choose the color of the Post-it Note that corresponds with their selection and write their name on the Post-it Note.

Post the note on the poster you’ve hung up and offer the students a piece of candy once they’ve completed the task.

Extension

Have an interview booth set up and offer the students the opportunity to share the impact one of the freedoms of the First Amendment has had on them. Here, they could go more in depth and discuss their own story and what the protections of the First Amendment mean to them.

Student media staffs also could put together a story or video that includes the results and some of the quotes from students who provided them.

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What’s in your state press law?

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

by John Bowen and Lori Keekley

Title

What’s in your state press law?

Description

State laws protecting student press rights mean nothing if students don’t know what they cover. For this lesson, students will examine what their state law protects and what its limitations are. Students will also create a dialogue with stakeholders in order to educate them about what the bill and its impact.

Objectives

  • Students will evaluate what their state law covers
  • Students will locate and quote from their state bill
  • Students will create a dialogue to help inform other stakeholders about the bill.

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.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
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.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

State law (pick the applicable one from those available at the end of the lesson)

Handout: State law sheet

Rubric: State law rubric

Computer

Definitions of legal terms used in various bills

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Introduction (5 minutes)

Thirteen states have now passed student free expression legislation or codes. While many are similar, no one is exactly like any other.

Have students guess what 13 states have this legislation or state code.

(Teacher note — the states in which legislation has passed include: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island.)

Is your state part of this? (If it is not, have students evaluate one of the other state laws and see Extension 2).

Step 2 — Small groups (20 minutes)

Place students into small groups. Each group will need to complete the “State Law Sheet.” Teachers may need to provide hints about where to find the information either by search or accessing the New Voices USA homepage.

The teacher would also explain why it is important students create a dialogue between a student and either an administrator, school board member, angry parent, angry student or adviser about the bill. The teacher should assign each group one of these people to educate about the significance, relevance and rationale behind the laws, especially as they apply to the stakeholders.

Step 3 — Assessment (25 minutes)

Students will act out the dialogue they created concerning educating someone about the bill. Please see the rubric for point breakdown.

Differentiation

If you have advanced students, you could have students compare their state legislation with another state’s bill. Then they could write a blogpost about whether their legislation needs any changes and why.

We also recommend more than additional class or assignment time for students to work on applying what they learned about their state legislation.

Assessment

The teacher will use the assessment form to evaluate student participation.

Extension Activities

Extension 1:

Have students (in small groups) research the following court cases and reflect upon why they might be used as precedent in a New Voices law:

Tinker v. Des Moines

Bethel v. Fraser

Dean v. Utica

Miller v. California

Morse v. Frederick

The students should present background information about why the court cases laws are relevant and why precise legal language is essential for any such legislation to succeed.

Extension 2:

If your state is not included in the list of 13 states with laws, the teacher might have students use the lesson to focus on differences between two of the state’s legislation is and what should be in students’ state legislation when developed.

Students could also access the New Voices U.S. site and see their state’s status in the New Voices movement and see who to contact if they are interested in helping to pass the bill.

State Laws and Codes:

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Free speech?
Protests and the national anthem: FSW lesson

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

freespeechweek_logo_mainTitle

Analyzing and creating meaningful discussion about free speech issues over protests during the national anthem

Description

Discussion on whether refusing to stand during the national anthem is an acceptable and effective form of protest have grown in recent months. This lesson enables students an opportunity to research and clarify their views as they share them with others.

Objectives

  • Students will analyze legal and ethical aspects of the issue.
  • Students will share their findings.
  • Students will discuss what they find.
  • Students will report their position on the issue using information gathered from research and discussions.

Common Core State Standards

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.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.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).

Length

60 minutes for two days

Materials / resources

Access to internet resources on the issues of standing for the Pledge of Allegiance by citizens in and outside schools.Foundations_main

Access to the US Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.

Background on this issue:
The teacher would share these quotes introduce the assignment and to background the issue.

From Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin:“I think it’s disgusting, frankly, I can appreciate the fact that people have freedom of speech, people can stand for, figuratively and literally, things that they choose to, but to use an opportunity to denigrate our nation’s flag — it’s not the flag and it’s not the national anthem itself, what it represents is the sacrifice of one and a half million Americans who died.”

http://mycn2.com/politics/bevin-calls-athlete-protests-during-national-anthem-disgusting

From the court decision: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

“We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.”

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — introduction to the assignment and homework at the end of the session the day before (10 minutes)

The teacher should ask how many students are aware of the varied protests, in and outside of schools, against standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher would point out the introductory quotes as representative of the sides on this issue.

The class would discuss pros and cons of the issue before the teacher introduces the assignment: researching current events on the issue, examining legal and ethical positions on the issue and preparing a personal position statement either as a letter to the editor to local or national media or in a personal blog.

Stress that students can begin information gathering at home using live sources as well as digital ones.

Day 1 –

Step 2 — Research (15 minutes)

The teacher will remind students of the assignment and give them 15 minutes to add to and organize information they gathered the night before. Students should also begin to formulate a statement of personal position on the issue. Tell them they will be expected to discuss possible positions and arguments during the second 35 minutes.

Step 3 — Discussion (35 minutes)

Ask students to share information they gathered with others in the class. They could have made pro-con lists based on information they gathered and shared.

Then, students could use of PowerPoint, whiteboard or Google Docs to list possible positions and/or questions they might have about the issue. Such lists should be available for student use after class by them copying the lists and positions or having access to the Google Doc.

Focus during the discussion should be to verify information for possible positions, to clarify issues involved, to develop personal positions and support for them. Students should prepare annotated bibliographies for sources they used as a way for all to examine credibility and reliability.

Step 4 — Clarify assignment (10 minutes)

Reiterate the details and purpose of the assignment and ask students to have a draft of the statement of position or blog post for the next day’s class.

Day 2 –

Step 5 — Group coaching and editing (40 minutes)

Students should break into groups of three for peer coaching and position revision. The teacher can move from group to ask questions and offer suggestions as asked. The teacher should not edit student work but encourage peer coaching and editing. Final coaching and editing should enable all student work to be sent to or posted on designated media.

Step 6 — Final discussion and statement emailing or posting (10 minutes)

Conclude the assignment with final discussion and coaching. Assist students as necessary in the mailing and posting of their statement of position.

Step 7 — Assessment (10 minutes)

Have students discuss what they did, how others might react to their statements as well as what they learned about the issue and about issues surrounding it. They should also discuss how they might handle any responses they receive.

Differentiation

Option 1 – Additional media possibilities include broadcast personal statements, video statements or podcasts. Additional lessons could involve pro-con panel discussions or community forums to involve larger groups.

Option 2 – The teacher could organize the class to have a debate whether this form of speech should be allow in society and as a part of school activities. Discussion of the issue and positions on it could take place before the debate. After the debate, students could write a reflection on their views of the issue before and after the debate.

Extension

You could also work with students to assist them in using social media to discuss their experience and what they learned. Another lesson could focus on student reaction to and comment on this comment from Bevin: “If you’re a superintendent, if you’re a principal, if you’re a high school coach, step up, set an example,” Bevin said. “For us to allow everybody to be free range chickens, to not encourage them to know what they are doing and what the impact is and what the denigration of respect is something that is the responsibility of the adults to communicate to these young people.”

  • Thanks to Jamie Miller, du Pont Manual High School, Louisville, Kentucky, for sharing information about the Kentucky governor’s quote.
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