CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Exploring Media: Understanding and Identifying Editorial Perspective in Television and Radio News

Type:
Projects
Subjects:
History, Social Studies, Media Studies, Political Science, English Language Arts
Duration:
2 weeks
Purpose:
To conduct web-based research using audio and visual sources, to organize group findings, ideas, and positions, and articulate these effectively in a presentation, to identify the characteristics of good journalism
Summary:
Students will research the topics Boat People: A Refugee Crisis, Dr. Henry Morgentaler: Fighting Canada’s Abortion Laws, and CANDU: The Canadian Nuclear Reactor on the CBC Digital Archives website, and expand their research to include selected other resources. Students will keep a research folder and a research log, and use their information to prepare group presentations, which will include: A clear set of principles, created by their group, for reporters to follow in order to ensure journalistic integrity. One example from each of the three topics of a news story that illustrates the group’s principles for journalistic integrity. For each example, an explanation of the ways in which the news report adheres to the group’s principles. By the end of this project students should be able to identify the characteristics of good journalism and discuss how news reports, in general, shape popular opinion and contribute to the construction of reality.

Lesson Plan

Before Project Launch

 

Prepare by reading the CBC's "Journalistic Standards and Practices" at http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/htmen/policies/journalistic (and look under POLICIES AND GUIDELINES, Corporate Policies). Brainstorm student-generated definitions for journalistic standards and compare these with the CBC's standards.

Consider launching this project in one of the following ways:

Construct a word web around the word "bias" and discuss this concept as a class. Lead a class discussion on the concept of factual versus editorial news reporting. Choose a story from a newspaper that is also the topic of an editorial in the same paper. As a class, read both and create a chart on the board outlining the characteristics of each type of article. Ask: How are they similar? How are they different? Discuss which type of article would be more likely to change public opinion on an issue or event.

 

View some clips of television news as a class and have the students note such elements as music, reporter's tone of voice, and other factors that can help create opinions in viewers as they watch a news story.

 

Outline the Project Parameters

 

Prepare by reading the CBC's "Journalistic Standards and Practices" at http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/htmen/policies/journalistic/. Brainstorm student-generated definitions for journalistic standards and compare these with the CBC's standards.

Consider launching this project in one of the following ways:

Construct a word web around the word "bias" and discuss this concept as a class.

Lead a class discussion on the concept of factual versus editorial news reporting.

Choose a story from a newspaper that is also the topic of an editorial in the same paper. As a class, read both and create a chart on the board outlining the characteristics of each type of article. Ask: How are they similar? How are they different? Discuss which type of article would be more likely to change public opinion on an issue or event.

 

View some clips of television news as a class and have the students note such elements as music, reporter's tone of voice, and other factors that can help create opinions in viewers as they watch a news story.

 

Revisit and Reflect

 

When students have completed their individual research, they should work in groups to discuss the information they have gathered and prepare their presentations. Students can use the download sheet Talking About Journalistic Integrity in these groups. Students should use these discussions to refine the arguments and opinions they will use to present their ideas and findings to the rest of the class. This discussion must result in each group creating a set of principles for reporters to ensure journalistic integrity.

 

Extension

Students can use their reports as the basis of a formal or informal debate about the issues explored: immigration policy, abortion, and nuclear power.

Students can create two different news reports about an issue in their school. One report will show journalistic integrity and the other will not.

Discuss as a class the nature of truth in the media. Can we ever really know the whole truth? Is bias-free reporting ever really possible? Discuss or debate these ideas as a class.

The class can research media ownership and the role of profit and advertising in the creation of media. Does the publicly-funded CBC have an advantage over news agencies that depend on advertisers and profit to stay on the air? Hold a debate about the importance (or lack of) maintaining a government-funded media outlet.

Material

 

Current editorials and news stories on the same topic

Television news clips

Print
Alan, Jeff and Hugh Downs. Responsible Journalism: A Practical Guide For Working and Aspiring Journalists. Chicago: Bonus Books, 2001.

Download PDF

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