This Week’s Anton Lesson Plan
Now, more than ever, journalism is crucial in keeping citizens informed about what’s going on in the world around them. According to the American Press Institute, journalism is “the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities.”
At the heart of news-gathering is answering the questions who, what, where, when, why and how while presenting the facts gathered. In addition, maintaining some degree of balance in reporting both, if not all, sides of a story is crucial in maintaining ethical standards. Failure to do this not only undermines reader trust, but can result in charges of slander and libel. Once the information has been gathered, editing and fact-checking ensues. Ads are sold in whatever format news is delivered to support the ability of news stories to be accessed by the outlet’s readership. Stories are ideally meant to inform and in some instances, provoke a reaction.
The advent of the Internet has meant that the exchange between publishing outlet and reader has become significantly easier and quicker. The following are exercises students can do to get an idea of what goes into writing a news story.
• In small groups, write two different television commercials based on a product advertised in the newspaper. For one of your commercials, be sure to use the same persuasion technique used in the newspaper.
• In a news story, draw arrows from all pronouns to their antecedents.
• Choose an editorial and clip it out of the newspaper. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns, labeling one “fact” and the other “opinion.” List the information from the editorial into the appropriate columns and then compare yours with that of another student. Explain the differences.