News Goggles: Candace Buckner, The Washington Post

Sports are an important part of many people’s lives. For journalists covering the world of sports, reporting involves more than just publishing highlights, player statistics and scores. So, what’s it like being a sports reporter?

This week, we talk to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post about her role as a sports columnist. Buckner sheds light on the differences between straight news beat reporting and opinion writing — and underscores how certain journalism practices and standards remain the same. Using her recent piece on Kyrie Irving as an example, Buckner explains her approach to column writing. We also discuss how sports intersect with culture and society and what sports reporting can teach us about the wider world. Grab your news goggles!

Note: Look for this newsletter feature the first Monday of the month. You can explore previous News Goggles videos, annotations and activities in NLP’s Resource Library under “Classroom Activities.”

Resources: “Practicing Quality Journalism” and “InfoZones” (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom).

Idea: Have students hone their ability to separate news from opinion using NLP’s mobile app, Informable, which includes dozens of real-world examples in its “News or opinion?” mode.

Dig Deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video to help students consider what it’s like being a sports reporter.

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 Dec. 5, 2022, 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.

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

News Goggles: Emilie Munson, Times Union

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by news coverage during an election season. With so many sources competing for attention, how can we know what to trust? Professional journalism standards are one important sign of credibility. Reputable news organizations aspire to ethical guidelines and standards, including fairness, accuracy and independence.

This week, we talk to data reporter Emilie Munson of the Times Union, a local news organization based in Albany, New York, with a coverage area that includes the state’s Capital Region and Hudson Valley. Munson sheds light on the Times Union’s decision to publish a guide explaining how the news organization covers elections and politics — and the role of journalism standards in its news decisions. We also discuss the Times Union’s strict policies on the use of anonymous or unnamed sources. Grab your news goggles!

Note: Look for this newsletter feature the first Monday of the month. You can explore previous News Goggles videos, annotations and activities in NLP’s Resource Library under “Classroom Activities.”

Resources: 

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video as students consider the role of journalism standards in covering elections and politics.

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. 7, 2022, 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.

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

PitchIt! Student essay contests happening in Colorado, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania 

Pitchit essay content: New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

About

Student voices are catalysts for positive change in schools and communities. You can empower them to be well-informed and civically engaged when you participate in the News Literacy Project’s PitchIt! contest.  

This is an authentic way to get middle and high school students to learn about and express their thoughts about current events from a news literacy perspective. In addition to exploring an issue important to them, they can help combat misinformation or work to protect freedom of the press.   

Created by NLP news literacy ambassador Monica Valdes in 2020 for Miami-area teachers, the contest has expanded to all of Florida, Colorado, New York and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

To have your students participate in PitchIt! and get the most out of it, use NLP’s free resources and curriculum guides. You choose the top essays from your class to submit for judging and prizes. 
 

The submission deadline is April 17, 2023! 

For contest rules and details, follow the links below: 

Not in one of these regions? NLP encourages you to contact your local news literacy ambassador or our staff (network@newslit.org) and adapt our contest rules to create a contest for your learning community.

 Curious to what participating teachers had to say? 

“PitchIt! utilizes news literacy curriculum to broaden the understanding of how media influences all of us every day. Students then analyze and learn for themselves the power of using information with and without bias. I highly recommend facilitating part or all of the curriculum in classrooms across the board in Social Studies, English, Science, and more. It shows students that language, facts, and biases impact us comprehensively.” 

— Renee A. Cantave, iWrite magnet educator, Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts, Miami, Florida 

“PitchIt! was a great experience for my students. Not only did it raise awareness among them regarding the importance of good writing and of an important current issue in our community, the culminating event gave contest winners a chance to verbally express their positions, while receiving important feedback.”

— Rolando Alvarez, Coral Way K-8 Center, Miami, Florida  

 Tired of feeling like you’re working in a vacuum? Sign up for NewsLitNation and our private NewsLitNation Facebook Group to connect and share with other educators across the country passionate about news and media literacy. As a member of NewsLitNation® you’ll receive special perks and the NewsLitNation Insider, our monthly newsletter that keeps you up to date about all things news literacy! 

News Goggles: María Luisa Paúl, The Washington Post

News Goggles is back with fresh insights for the new school year. This regular newsletter feature offers a behind-the-scenes look at journalism and shines a light on key news literacy concepts. How do journalists see news? Put on a pair of “news goggles” to find out!

This week, we talk to Washington Post reporter María Luisa Paúl about her recent story on 7-year-old Tariq, whose love of corn made him a viral sensation. Paúl explains what makes a topic newsworthy in her role as a reporter for the Post’s Morning Mix team, which “covers stories from all over the nation and world.” She also highlights what a story like Tariq’s — who was dubbed “Corn Kid” by the internet — reveals about social media, internet culture and our world. Grab your news goggles!

Note: Look for this newsletter feature the first Monday of the month. You can explore previous News Goggles videos, annotations and activities in NLP’s Resource Library under “Classroom Activities.”

Resources: 

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video as students consider what makes a topic newsworthy and how journalists organize their reporting.

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 Oct. 3, 2022, 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.

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

“Storm Lake” discussion guide on the importance of local journalism

This guide serves as a companion for adult learners and community members viewing the PBS documentary Storm Lake, a film about the struggles of sustaining local journalism and shows what these newsrooms mean to communities and American democracy overall. The guide has three main components: pre-viewing, during viewing and post-viewing activities.

The pre-viewing activities use one or more essential questions to focus on viewers’ engagement with news and their opinions about its relationship to their community and to American democracy. The essential questions are:

  • What is news?
  • What role does news play in your family members’ lives? In your community?
  • Is news important in a democracy? Why or why not?

The during viewing portion includes discussion questions that can be completed whole or in-part, individually, or in small groups. These questions include:

  • Is profit a motivation for the [Cullen] family? Why or why not?
  • Art Cullen: “A pretty good rule is that an Iowa town will be about as strong as its newspaper and its banks. And without strong local journalism to tell a community’s story, the fabric of the place becomes frayed.”
    • a. In your own words, what point is being made in this quote?
    • b. Do you agree? Why or why not?
    • c. How does this quote fit into your definition of news and its role in the community?

The post-viewing activities return to the essential questions raised prior to viewing and seek to extend engagement with local journalism. These options include keeping a news log for a week and evaluating a source (log included in the guide), interviewing family or friends about their news habits, engaging directly with local news organizations on social media or writing a letter or email to an editor with a suggestion for a story.

News Goggles: Seana Davis, Reuters

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 March 7, 2022, 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.

Misinformation thrives during major news events and can spread rapidly on social media by tapping into people’s beliefs and values to provoke an emotional reaction. Pushing back against falsehoods in today’s information environment is no small task, but a few simple tools can go a long way in the fight for facts. This week, we talk to Seana Davis, a journalist with the Reuters Fact Check team, about her work monitoring, detecting and debunking false claims online.

Misinformation often stems from “a grain of truth,” Davis said. “So it’s all about trying to weed out what is true and what is not.”

Davis sheds light on some common ways that viral falsehoods spread — including through miscaptioned videos and digitally altered headlines — and demonstrates how to fact-check false claims like a pro, using digital verification techniques such as reverse image search and advanced searches on social media. Grab your news goggles!

Resources:

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video to help students examine how to recognize and debunk some common types of misinformation online.

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

News Goggles: Candice Norwood, The 19th*

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 Feb. 7, 2022, 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.

Breaking news involves coverage of an event that has just happened or is still happening. Details can change quickly as more information emerges. This week, we talk to journalist Candice Norwood about her role as a breaking news reporter at The 19th*, a nonprofit newsroom that reports on gender, politics and policy.

Norwood sheds light on her recent coverage of President Joe Biden reaffirming his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement. We discuss how The 19th* approaches breaking news with its mission in mind and examine how news organizations demonstrate credibility and transparency in their newsgathering for developing stories.

Norwood also offers tips on navigating breaking news, including approaching coverage with a critical eye, evaluating the sources cited in a news report and remembering to slow down.

“There’s no rush to post something,” she said.

Grab your news goggles!

Resources: “Practicing Quality Journalism” (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom) and “Tracking developing stories” (NLP’s News Goggles activity with classroom-ready slides).

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video as students consider how a news organization such as The 19th* approaches breaking news coverage.

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

News Goggles: Miguel Otárola, Colorado Public Radio

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 Dec. 6, 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.

Newsworthiness is a key concept in news literacy. With so many stories competing for attention, journalists must determine which events and issues to cover, and how prominently. This week, we talk to Miguel Otárola of Colorado Public Radio about how he decides which story ideas to pursue in his role covering climate and the environment.

“When you talk about newsworthiness, I feel like you can’t get any more newsworthy right now than climate change,” Otárola said.

Climate change, he added, “impacts everything,” from where and how people live to the jobs they have and how they get their food.

Otárola offers insights for his story on restoring forests after wildfires, which recently aired on the NPR and WBUR show Here & Now.

“We are in a place where a lot of different states in the West are going to have to deal with this,” he said. “What will a healthy forest look like after a wildfire tears it down?”

Otárola also sheds light on how journalists select quotes for news reports and the importance of presenting information in context. Grab your news goggles!

Note: News Goggles will be back Feb. 7. You can find previous News Goggles annotations and activities in this guide, or in NLP’s Resource Library under “Classroom Activities.”

Resources: “Practicing Quality Journalism” (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom) and “Quotes in news reports” (NLP’s News Goggles activity with classroom-ready slides).

Dig deeper: Use this viewing guide for the featured News Goggles video as students consider what makes a topic newsworthy and why information should be presented in context.

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

Is it legit? Five steps for vetting a news source

Many sources compete for attention online, including partisan blogs and bogus sites posing as legitimate news organizations. It can be tough to know what information to trust. So what does “credibility” look like, and how can you recognize it?

We partnered with SmartNews, a news app for mobile devices, to bring you five steps for vetting news sources. The steps outlined in this infographic can help you cut through the noise and learn how to evaluate sources for signs of credibility – as well as for red flags that signal a source should be avoided:

  1. Do a quick search: Conducting a simple search for information about a news source is a key first step in evaluating its credibility.
  2. Look for standards: Reputable news organizations aspire to ethical guidelines and standards, including fairness, accuracy and independence.
  3. Check for transparency: Quality news sources should be transparent, not only about their reporting practices (see above), but also about their ownership and funding.
  4. Examine how errors are handled: Credible news sources are accountable for mistakes and correct them. Do you see evidence that this source corrects or clarifies errors?
  5. Assess news coverage: An important step in vetting sources is taking time to read and assess several news articles.

In addition to these five steps, this infographic includes a list of “trust busters” that indicate you should immediately look elsewhere for credible news. They include:

  • False or untrue content
  • Clickbait tactics
  • Lack of balance
  • Manipulated images or videos
  • State-run or state-sponsored propaganda
  • Dangerous, offensive and malicious content

Remember: Credible sources aren’t perfect, but information from them is much more likely to be accurate.

With so much information circulating online, it may feel overwhelming to sort credible sources from bogus sites. But being able to recognize some general signs of credibility — and steering clear of sources with red flags — can go a long way toward helping you find more accurate information.

Be sure also to check out this quiz to put your source-vetting skills to the test!

News Goggles: Emily Hoerner, Chicago Tribune

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 thesift@newslit.org.

News Goggles: Lionel Ramos, Oklahoma Watch

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 video originally appeared in the Oct. 4, 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.

News Goggles is back — in a new video format for the classroom! This regular newsletter feature is designed to help your students learn to think like journalists while reading news coverage. How do journalists see news? Put on a pair of “news goggles” and check out these conversations with professional journalists to find out!

This week, we talk to Lionel Ramos, a Report for America corps member who covers race and equity for the investigative nonprofit Oklahoma Watch. Ramos offers news literacy insights for his recent story on Afghan refugees arriving in Oklahoma and also sheds light on a key standard of quality journalism — sourcing.

“In a time where race and equity is a very hot topic and people are trying to figure out what exactly it means — and a time in which misinformation is extremely voluminous — it’s important that people know where you’re getting your information so that they can determine whether or not the information you’re providing is reliable,” Ramos said.

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

Dig deeper: Use this think sheet to guide students through the featured News Goggles video and article as they consider how journalists use credible sources in news reports.

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

How to teach news literacy in polarizing times

The historic upheaval that dominated previous headlines — including a global pandemic, a national reckoning over racial injustice, a contentious presidential election and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — underscored the deep divides separating much of the country and the world. In such a polarized era, partisanship and vitriol can easily seep into the classroom when current events come up.

But the challenges of teaching news literacy in today’s polarized climate — including charged reactions from students and parents over controversial news events — also present opportunities for learning and growth.

These eight strategies can help you teach the most important stories and issues of the day while navigating social and political differences to make classroom conversations worthwhile:

  1. Challenge students to reflect on personal biases and consider how these biases impact how they see the world, and how they perceive news.
  2. Establish ground rules for discussion to keep the conversation respectful.
  3. Approach news reports as texts and encourage students to read closely and critically.
  4. Focus on journalism standards to help build common ground.
  5. Emphasize facts and make sure students understand the difference between matters of fact and matters of opinion.
  6. Encourage students to consult diverse news sources to avoid falling into partisan news bubbles.
  7. Embrace ambiguity to make room for tough questions and meaningful discussions without the need for definitive answers.
  8. Focus on specifics and particular parts of news coverage to avoid fights over the news organization or topic itself.

In addition to these eight tips, this infographic includes classroom ideas and hyperlinked resources to help put these strategies into action.

Teaching news literacy amid so many controversial news events and political polarization can feel overwhelming, but approaching classroom discussions with these strategies in mind can help defuse partisanship while empowering students to identify credible news and information.