Idea # 1Media Comparison. Ask students to choose one news story, and compare how it’s covered and framed in as many media as possible, at least five of these: a US Newspaper, a foreign newspaper, a blog, Internet News (such as AOL, Google) TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, a talk show or hosted media show, a TV website, a weekly news magazine, an online magazine, (such as Slate) a humor show…
Ask each student to make a chart showing the difference in each medium regarding the following: Headline; What’s Primed? How is the story framed? Who had the story first? (Might be a wire service, such as AP or Reuters) Who did the investigative work on the story? How accurate were the different versions? Was there a bias? Which story has the most detail?
Based on this analysis, what does the student conclude is the best place to get accurate News? Are there advantages and disadvantages that students might want to note about each medium? To check accuracy, students might want to check
Have students turn in their charts and discuss their findings in class.
Idea (s) #2 Discussion with Prompts
- Then go to front pages of Today’s Newspapers:
- Use these as a way of getting students to talk about the role that media play in US Government and politics: gatekeeping; Signaling function; agenda setting watchdog function; common carrier; Look also at how these newspapers frame the news. Then move into the topic of the role played by TV News, using
Move into the area of the shrinking presence of print journalism and its implications
And/or this clip from CNN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9AtkO7eqIk&feature=related
ore discussion with prompt of the role of news humor in the lives of young people: Show a clip from the “Daily Show”. Ask the students whether they really “get their news” from these sources. And whether that colors their opinion of people and events. (This one works well, and it seems pretty clean, though it does have a commercial at the beginning…) Students examine Newsreels. Many Americans got their news when they went to the movies. Students should watch a few newsreels and analyze what they see for bias, framing, and agenda setting.
Idea(s) #3 Students watch video on the Role of the Media
The video has some difficult but arresting material on child abuse at the beginning, but it works well as an introduction to the watchdog role of the media, and also has an interesting section on Whistleblowers.
The website has some useful activities as well.
Extension: Students examine and analyze political cartoons:
Choose a batch of political cartoons on recent topics.
Use websites such as http://www.cagle.com/politicalcartoons/
Divide students into groups, and give each a few cartoons. Ask them to pick their favorite and explain what it means and why it’s funny. Put the cartoons on a bulletin board, and it may become a class tradition!
On the Web:
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ GREAT site for showing students newspapers of the past.
Wonderful site for newspaper pictorials.
It’s worth talking with your librarians about a possible subscription to NBCLearn.
http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn, which has marvelous archives of NBC news, pertaining to all aspects of US Government and history.