The Octopus That Almost Ate Seattle--Resources for Teaching News Literacy

In a guest post for the New York Times' The Learning Network, Dean Miller, Director of the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University, writes that:
"The most profound communications revolution since the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press seems to make it harder, not easier, to determine the truth. The digital revolution is characterized by a flood of information and misinformation that news consumers can access from anywhere at any time.News aggregators, bloggers, pundits, provocateurs, commentators and “citizen journalists” are competing with traditional journalists for public attention. Uninformed opinion masquerades as news. Lines are blurring between legitimate journalism and the propaganda, entertainment, self-promotion and unmediated information on the Internet.This superabundance of information has made it imperative that citizens learn to judge the reliability of news reports and other sources of information that is passed along their social networks."

The Center for News Literacy offers a number of resources (ranging from sample lectures, to lesson plans and assessments) designed to teach students to:

  • evaluate the evidence provided by journalists; 
  • analyze the authority and independence of people quoted as experts and witnesses in news stories;
  • recognize how their own biases can stand in the way of their search for reliable information;
  • become informed citizens "skilled at constructing their own arguments to make the world a better place."

The lesson plans focus on recent issues in the news, such as the protests in Egypt, the Trayvon Martin murder trial, the Sochi Olympics, the war in Syria, or contentious local issues, and make use of videos and popular press articles.  Questions are provided to guide class discussions.

Read more:
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/guest-post-news-literacy-is-not-optional-if-you-need-to-be-well-informed/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1#more-142419
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/digital-resource-center/
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/resources/cognitive-dissonance-amidst-egypts-turmoil/
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/resources/the-shooting-of-trayvon-martin/
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/resources/examining-the-importance-of-news-literacy-through-the-syrian-conflict/
http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/resources/the-octopus-that-almost-ate-seattle-balance-fairness-and-bias-exploring-news-literacy-concepts-through-a-new-york-times-magazine-feature-article/
Foundation for Critical Thinking (http://www.criticalthinking.org//)

TeachingwithData.org resources:
How to Read a Journal Article (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3833)

Frederique Laubepin

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