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Handling sponsored content, native ads QT52  

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Although it is quite possible scholastic media will never face making a decision to run material known as sponsored content or native ads, students and advisers should prepare guidelines just in case.

Sponsored content and native advertising, two media terms for paid materials, are becoming a fact of life for media and consumers. That said, student media, when faced with publishing them, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Scholastic media owe it to their audiences to expect clearly sourced and non-slanted information, particularly with so much concern with fake news.

Guideline

In the last several years, commercial media have faced a new kind of paid content — “native advertising” or “sponsored content.” The goal with this content is to provide advertising in a way that mimics the look and style of news/editorial content instead of appearing as traditional advertising. This style of advertising has raised serious ethical issues and discussion.

Given the influx of this type of advertising and its spread into scholastic media, students should remember their obligation to keep their communities aware of what kind of content they are publishing.

Communities need to know the type content they are exposed to so they can make informed and rational decisions.

Question: Should your student media accept sponsored content?

Key points/action: Sponsored content and native advertising, two media terms for paid materials, are becoming a fact of life for media and consumers. That said, student media, when faced with publishing them, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Since it is financed ads or reporting, it can be fake news or at least deceptive information, and approached carefully.

Stance: We believe sponsored content can be accepted and published while still protecting the integrity and credibility of student media.

Reasoning/suggestions: Students must create clear guidelines for publishing sponsored content. Recommendation for inclusion in those guidelines should include:

  • Prominent and clear identification of the piece as sponsored content.
  • A clear statement, at least on the op-ed pages or their equivalent, of why your student media publish sponsored content and who paid for the piece or benefits from its publication.
  • Verification, as much as is possible, of the credibility and factualness of information and sources in the piece.
  • A concise statement, at least on the op-ed pages or their equivalent, that what your editorial board’s support of included material is Ex: this content does not necessarily represent the view of your media or school system).Resources:

Making Memories, One Lie at a Time (example of native ad), Slate Web magazine
New York Times Tones Down Labeling on Its Sponsored Posts, Advertising Age
Native Advertising Examples: 5 or the Best (and Worst), WordStream Online Advertising
The Native Advertising Playbook, Interactive Advertising Bureau
Audio: Sponsored Content, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute
PR Giant Edelman Calls for Ethics in Sponsored Content, Forbes
FTC: Publishers Will Be Held Responsible for Misleading native Ads, Adexchanger.com

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

 

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Keeping ads and content separate QT50

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student journalists should maintain a wall between promotional/paid content and journalistic content.

That historical wall should remain intact to help reassure audiences the content they receive is as thorough and complete as possible.

As Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel say in The Elements of Journalism, journalists’ first loyalty is to the truth while maintaining an independence from those they report.

Student journalists should develop their policies and guidelines maintaining this separation. A broad ethical guideline should explain this reasoning, and staff manual procedures should outline procedures for maintaining it.

Details could include statements on pairing ads, paid content and acceptance of gifts, as examples.

Guideline:   Student journalists should maintain a wall between promotional/paid content and journalistic content.

Key points/action: Journalists have historically kept the financial aspects separate from reporting and editorial functions to avoid charges of bias. Some evidence of blurring this line occurs in today’s media.

Stance: That historical wall should remain intact to help reassure audiences the content they receive is as thorough and complete as possible.

As Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel say in The Elements of Journalism, journalists’ first loyalty is to the truth while maintaining an independence from those they report.

Reasoning/suggestions: Student journalists should develop their policies and guidelines maintaining this separation. A broad ethical guideline should explain this reasoning, and staff manual procedures should outline procedures for maintaining it.

Details could include statements on pairing ads, paid content and acceptance of gifts, as examples.

Resources:
These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

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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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Creating a ‘Quick Pins’ board
of native ads, sponsored content

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

by John Bowen

Title

Activity: Creating a “Quick Pins” Padlet/Pinterest board for native ads and sponsored content

Description
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.

Objectives

  • Students will become better informed about what sponsored news/native ads are
  • Students will be able to recognize sponsored content
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast sponsored content with native advertising.

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.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
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

Student computers if available

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/or ask for more explanation.

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.

(For additional reference, please see the lesson What are native advertising/sponsored content and should we be concerned about them and issues they raise?)

The teacher would also discuss the differences and similarities between the two.

Step 2 —  Whole group work (20 minutes)

From there, the teacher will review with students how to create Pinterest/Padlet boards that show journalistic terms like sponsored content and native ads.

Once the boards are created and established for the class, students will individually seek, and then post, links to native ads and sponsored content. Along with the links and images, students should briefly comment on each of their choices.

The teacher will make on ongoing, extra credit assignment for students as they find and post examples.

Step 3 — Student collaboration (20 minutes)

Have students pair up and discuss each other’s findings. Students should be encouraged to offer suggestions and make corrections.

Step 4 — Reflection (5 minutes)

Teacher should ask each partner group to share their best example of each type.

Assessment

The teacher will evaluate the students’ posts, summaries and comments and grant an appropriate amount of extra credit for that school’s program.

Differentiation

Students and the teacher can vary the credit by having special assignment posts or creating specific challenges like which student can find the most issues of sponsored content or others stemming from the specific assignment.

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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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