News Goggles: Emily Hoerner, Chicago Tribune

Grades: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12+

News Goggles annotations and activities provide news literacy takeaways on timely topics. These resources feature examples of actual news coverage, including full news reports, headlines, breaking news alerts or excerpts.

This video originally appeared in the Nov. 1, 2021, issue of The Sift® newsletter for educators, which explores timely examples of misinformation, addresses journalism and press freedom topics and examines social media trends and issues. Read archives of the newsletter and subscribe here. Stock music in this video was provided by SoundKit from Pond5.

Watchdog journalism holds the powerful to account and plays an important role in democracy. This week, we talk to Emily Hoerner of the Chicago Tribune about her recent story on public restroom access and how “Chicago’s government has failed to provide the public with easy, consistent access to free toilets.” So, why is the watchdog role of the press important, and what can that role look like?

Sometimes, Hoerner said, watchdog journalism calls attention to issues that people are already aware of, but that “nothing has happened around” — such as the public restroom story.

It can also reveal and expose problems “that are happening behind the scenes,” she said, adding that watchdog reporting means taking “a look at how systems are working, whether systems are broken and who those systems may be harming.”

We also consider the role of public records in investigations as we discuss how this story came together. Grab your news goggles!

Note: News Goggles appears in the first issue of this newsletter each month. You can find previous News Goggles annotations and activities in this guide, or in NLP’s Resource Library under “Classroom Activities.”

Resource: “Democracy’s Watchdog” (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom).

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video and article as students consider how watchdog journalism can shine a light on issues of public importance.

Have feedback about this resource? Or an idea for a future News Goggles? Please share it with us at [email protected].

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