Taking your student media online:
Will students follow online news media?
An ethics lesson
Taking your student media online: Will audiences follow online news media?
by John Bowen
What should you consider before taking your student media online? This lesson will examine areas students should explore prior to transitioning to online.
Students will work through the following questions:
• Why should audiences follow you online?
• What are the benefits of online news?
• What are the downsides of online news?
• What approaches would you take to motivate potential audience to follow you online?
• What would you do to ensure those approaches follow legal and ethical standards?
• How would you create this process into guidelines for your ethics and staff manuals?
• Students will read articles concerning taking a publication online.
• Students will work in groups to create a plan to move their media online.
• Students will create a guideline outlining why taking a publication online is important.
Common Core State Standards
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.
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.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
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.
100 minutes (two 50-minute classes)
Materials / resources
Online ethics guidelines for student media
Your students love social media…and so can you
Cyberlaw: Internet and online media
Living social: College newsrooms revisiting ethics policies for the Twitter generation
Ways to have a social media presence for your staff when your high school says ‘no’
5 reasons why an online newspaper is not the end of the world
High school journalists take a crash course in newspaper economics
College newspaper readership
Have students read in four groups. Each group reads two different articles before class to help frame the next class discussion.
• Online ethics guidelines for student media
• Your students love social media…and so can you
• Cyberlaw: Internet and online media
• Ways to have a social media presence for your staff when your high school says ‘no’
• 5 reasons why an online newspaper is not the end of the world
• Living social: College newsrooms revisiting ethics policies for the Twitter generation
• High school journalists take a crash course in newspaper economics
• College newspaper readership
1. Student work time — 50 minutes
Using what they read for today, students will work in groups of 5 to plan the process of moving their student media online. Their work should ensure that the processes used are ethical. Remind students they will presented their group’s decision the following day.
1. Presentation preparation — 5 minutes
Give students a few moments to review their notes.
2. Presentations — 25 minutes
Student groups should present their plans to each other, allowing time for clarification and alternatives.
3. Guideline creation — 20 minutes
The entire group will then create one or more approaches to inform others about why taking student media online is important. This should result in a workable Action Plan models and guidelines for ethical and staff manuals.
Use this section to provide teachers changes to the lesson plan to accommodate students at different skill levels or in different learning environments. If this involves different materials or resources, list those in the Materials/Resources section.