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Identify how news matters to civil society

These lesson plans focus on giving students a set of critical skills — comprehension, analysis, evaluation — to be used to help them appreciate how media cover news. The lesson plans teach students how to identify what “news” matters, how to monitor media coverage, and how to understand the media’s role in shaping global issues and events.  Students learn to:

IDENTIFY why information is important to individuals…and to civil society
IDENTIFY what’s newsworthy: what’s covered where?
IDENTIFY how audiences access news
IDENTIFY how audiences interpret information
IDENTIFY the viewpoint of news stories
IDENTIFY how news organizations use words
IDENTIFY how images can influence news messages
IDENTIFY how the news media attract an audience
IDENTIFY core journalistic standards and values
IDENTIFY the foundations of good reporting and ethical journalism



Students who complete some or all of these lesson plans will have worked through the following points:

  • Information is key to our understanding of the world around us, our ability to find a meaningful role in it, and our capacity to take advantage of the resources available to us.

  • Information is power. When information is concentrated within the hands of a few or only in the hands of elites, the public’s ability both to make decisions and to assess the decisions of others is greatly reduced.

  • An ethical and pluralistic media can ensure transparency, accountability and the rule of law.

  • Words and pictures have different abilities to attract attention to issues and events, yet fundamentally, both work to promote participation in public and political discourse

  • All information is subject to interpretation. The fullest airing of an issue occurs in a responsible and pluralistic media environment. That free and open airing of an issue leads in turn to participatory governance where special interests are less able to singularly spin public debate and shape public policy.