News Goggles: The New York Times editor’s note

Grades: 7-9, 10-12+

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.  

News reports sometimes convey additional information to readers in the form of editor’s notes. Such notes may briefly explain how a news report has been updated or corrected. Some describe how a particular aspect of a story was handled and why. Others are longer and typically published alongside major articles or investigations to provide further context, clarity and background on a news organization’s coverage. In this edition of News Goggles, we’re going to examine an editor’s note published online on Sept. 27, 2020, that accompanied a New York Times investigation into President Donald Trump’s taxes and finances.

The note — written by Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times — offers a chance to see various news literacy concepts in action, including watchdog reporting, protecting sources and the First Amendment. Grab your news goggles and let’s consider the purpose of this note.  

 Featured News Goggles resources: Download our full annotations in Microsoft Word or as a PDF. Also, these classroom-ready slides run through important takeaways for a discussion. 

Discuss: Do you agree with the Times’ decision to publish the “president’s personal tax information”? Was it ethical for the Times to do so? Why does Baquet refer to the First Amendment in his editor’s note? What other rights are protected under the First Amendment? 

Resources: “Democracy’s Watchdog” and  “The First Amendment” (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom). 

Have feedback about this resource? Or an idea for a future News Goggles? Please share it with us at thesift@newslit.org. 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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