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News Goggles: Front-page editorial promotion in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
News Goggles annotations and activities offer 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 News Goggles resource originally appeared in a previous 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.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Nov. 11, 2020, promoted an editorial across the top of its front page about two Republican senators who criticized “Georgia’s election system” but “offered no specifics.” The placement choice above the news organization’s name is atypical — and attracted attention. The placement also raises questions about how prominently opinion pieces should be featured. Let’s take a closer look as we consider the differences between news and opinion as well as the role of an editorial board at a standards-based news organization. Time to grab your news goggles!
★ Featured News Goggles resources: These classroom-ready slides offer annotations, discussion questions and a teaching idea related to this topic.
- “Journalists know news and opinion are separate, but readers often can’t tell the difference” (Kevin Lerner, Nieman Lab).
- “About the Times Editorial Board” (Los Angeles Times).
Note: An editorial board is traditionally a team that includes veteran journalists in the opinion department of a news organization. This department is separate and independent from the news department. The board is seen as the voice of the publication’s opinions, but its purpose is not to represent the views of newsroom staffers. Through articles known as editorials, this team shares opinions on major issues of public importance.
Discuss: What do you think of the front-page promotion of the editorial? Is the fact that it’s on the front page confusing? Are the opinions of editorial boards particularly valuable? Do they play an important role in shaping public discussion and debate in democracy? Why or why not?
Idea: Direct students to find a piece written by the editorial board of a local news organization. Then ask them: Where did you find it? How was it labeled? Could it have been labeled more clearly? Did the editorial support its argument with evidence?
Have feedback about this resource? Or an idea for a future News Goggles? Please share it with us at [email protected]. You can also use this guide for a full list of News Goggles from the 2020-21 school year for easy reference.
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