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Lighting the way: leadership for the future

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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The New York Times reported on a crisis mapping operation involving what it called everyone-as-informant March 12.  The Times article reported the operation suggested a new paradigm for humanitarian work.

This project, shaped to fit the needs of scholastic journalism, suggests a viable paradigm for scholastic new media to lead, not only through content but also opinion.

Such an approach would blend the mirror and candle theories into one  tool rooted in a journalistic sense of leadership.

And that, said Jan Leach, assistant professor of journalism at Kent State University, former Ethics Fellow at The Poynter Institute and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, is a perfect role for effective news media.

“The news media lead by providing information that can help audiences with the urgent and the mundane aspects of their lives,” Leach said. “This includes helping audiences make decisions on everything from candidates and issues to decisions on real estate, schools, movies and purchases.”

What Leach talks about would include:
• A strong publication voice calling for action or explaining issues and events. In a case like the Times noted, explaining why action was needed and how to accomplish it.
• Thorough reporting that explained the significance of the issues, events or problems and how to become involved and resources placing the events into perspective.
• Opportunities for involvement and interaction so members of the various affected communities could help each other or answer a call to action.

That fulfills the candle theory.

The mirror theory is also fulfilled through more mundane coverage of events, people and issues that affect people’s lives daily.

Leach sees a strong and active editorial presence as essential in this blended process.

“Newspapers and online operations that have regular, forceful editorial pages are providing steady, if controversial, leadership,” she said. “Those that are inconsistent or wishy-washy in their opinions are less reliable in terms of leadership. People look for the studied opinion, the additional information, the weighing of all sides.”

Let’s say during Scholastic Journalism Week JEA or another journalistic group (including a student one) uses the mapping model to track one day of prior restraint or review  across the nation. Students, facing review or  restraint, could publish to one core location details, topics, reasons given, and who is reviewing. Reported information could then be assembled and reported to give a national snapshot of issues scholastic journalists face. Individual student media could develop coverage to show the depth of the problem and take a strong position with national data to support their position.

The process could be replicated for any common issues or topics schools face. And, it could be reported and editorialized by scholastic media working individually or in collaboration.

In short, scholastic journalism’s obligation to lead is a function of strong content and editorial presence, no matter what media.

Leadership does not need to be seen as a piece of the past but as an integral aspect of journalism’s future, lighting the way.

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Bringing light to relevant issues, past and present, defines journalistic leadership

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Lessons, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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by John Bowen, MJE
“I’d rather be a hammer than a nail
“Blowing in the Wind
“Find the Cost of Freedom
Ohio
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone

How do these lyrics and titles relate to scholastic journalism?

  • They all came at a time when people questioned the media, its role and its leadership.
  • They all came at a time when citizens and journalists complained of government mis-, dis and censored information.
  • They all came at a time when activism and protest – from multiple viewpoints – clouded not only the truth on timely issues but also many people’s minds.

Sound familiar?

Fifty years ago, The U. S. Supreme Court upheld students wearing of black armbands as protected speech during the Vietnam war. That war also spawned events and issues that continued to bring activists, protestors and media together.

The war brought new levels of violence against expression some called unAmerican. “America, love it or leave it” was a forerunner of today’s “Enemy of the State.”

Such verbiage frustrated citizens who sought the truth about issues: The Pentagon Papers. MyLai 4. Lt. William Calley. May 4, 1970. The impact of drugs.

2018 and 2019 highlight a tumultuous new era with key similarities to the past.

Distrust of government and news media. Who tells the truth? Whom can citizens believe? Who lies?

And the current issues: Availability of guns, health, drugs, the environment, misinformation and lying. Growing amounts of stress in student lives.

Sound familiar?

We began to learn from Mary Beth and John Tinker and others who opened the schoolhouse gates to free expression, social awareness and creation of change. Free speech and press are important.

If we truly believe the social responsibility role of the news media is an essential partner with freedom – at all levels – we will empower student journalists to seek the truth, to dig for the whole story and to always question authority. They then question what authority tells society as the Tinkers and others modeled 50 years ago.

Reporting will add new meaning to journalistic leadership, advocacy and solutions.

Consider, as a New Year’s resolution, expanding your journalistic studies to include current issues as well as their historical perspectives. Content choices include:

And, as we move into 2019, the hammers, not the nails, will bring clearer insight and exert stronger leadership in today’s societal issues.

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Noteworthy information 9: Who makes the decisions?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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With scholastic journalism’s expansion into social media and use the latest bells and whistles involving multimedia, it is equally, if not more important, to be solid first in journalism basics. Four such basics are:

Leadership. The Center for Scholastic Journalism blog highlights a series of decisions students must make about the roles they perform with their media. Today’s focus is on leadership and raises several points about its importance and how student publications seem to have lost their interest in this crucial role. The JEA Press Rights Commission also addressed the leadership issue in a three part series in March.

Content. Leadership comes not only through student opinion on significant issues but also by providing audiences with substantive content that has long and short term impact on student lives. Offering interpretation and perspective adds depth to the content and can show that today’s events have roots in past decisions, and that others face similar issues. Answering the “why” and “how” questions often get overlooked in scholastic media.

Professional standards. From establishing a professional and consistent style to knowing law and ethics, following and practicing standards is crucial. Knowing and practicing legal and ethical guidelines serves not only student media but all those affected by it.

The Talk. Student Press Law Center consultant Mike Hiestand  writes that final decisions of the questions raised above – and all others –really rest with the students. “It is important to have a frank conversation with your students about the position in which you, as adviser, operate,” Hiestand writes. “You support them; you believe in them; you will always strive to do your best by them.”

Student media is just that: student. It is their publication. Their work and their decision-making.

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Building on Student Press Freedom Day

Posted by on Jan 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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A time for reflection on and commitment to journalistically responsible student media

Jan. 29, Student Press Freedom Day, is a good time to reflect on the importance of a unfettered student media, especially given the country’s claimed mistrust of and attacks on the media.

Commit to informing your various communities now, and throughout the next several months, about why they should support student journalists and learn ways to evaluate information from any source.

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Evaluating political ads

Posted by on Aug 14, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

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Title

Evaluating Political Ads

Description

In this lesson, students are introduced to how political advertisements use free speech and persuasive techniques to motivate voters. Students will evaluate advertisements, consider the ethical dilemmas of using persuasive tactics in political advertising and create their own political advertisements.

Objectives

  • Students will explore trends in political advertising.
  • Students will identify persuasive techniques in political advertising.
  • Students will evaluate ethical dilemmas and free speech issues in political advertising. 
  • Students will create their own political advertisements.

Common Core State Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.9-10.8Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.4Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

Length

90 minutes (depending on class size

Materials / resource

Slideshow: Political Advertising

Storyboard Assignment Sheet (Copy front to back, and have extras)

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Review political ads and strategies (30 minutes)

Use the slideshow linked above to review political ads and teach strategies commonly found in advertising. There are teacher notes and prompts in the slideshow, and showing the linked ads along with pausing for discussion prompts will likely take around 30 minutes.

Step 2 — Introduce the lesson (5 minutes)

Explain to students that they need to use their knowledge of political advertising to create an idea for their own political ad. You, their teacher, and thinking of running for state senate, and your students should create an ad idea to persuade voters (if you’re really feeling brave, you can let them decide whether they are persuading FOR you or AGAINST you!). 

Step 3— Storyboarding (20 minutes)

Pass out the storyboard assignment sheet to the groups you formed during the discussion and slideshow review. 

Give groups 20 minutes to determine the storyboard for their ad, sketching the scenes and describing the music, mood, lighting, and techniques on the lines below each scene.

Step 4 — Present and assess (5-8 minutes per group)

Groups should present their storyboards. As groups present, instruct them NOT to give away the strategies being used in the ad, just the description of how the ad will flow. 

Students in the audience should take notes of which strategies they identified in each ad as a way to check for understanding.  

Finally, decide as a class which ad will be more persuasive and why.

For past Constitution Day materials, go here.

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