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: 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.

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.

Illustration of the title "What Is News?"Newsworthiness is a key news literacy concept. It helps students understand that what appears as “the news” on any given day is the result of a series of judgments and conversations in newsrooms across the country and around the world. Helping students understand the major factors that drive news judgment — how important, interesting, unique and timely an event or issue is — is vital to helping them understand and think critically about the news they encounter in their daily lives. Requiring them to make news judgments of their own can help them appreciate how difficult such decisions can be and learn how to evaluate and respond to the judgment of professional journalists.

News judgment frequently plays a role in criticism of news media. Politicians, activists and the public often complain about how much — or how little — news coverage is given to a particular issue or event. But sometimes these complaints do not accurately reflect actual reporting. (You should make a point of noting to students that while many people make assertions about what news media do or do not cover, it’s always important to verify whether those assertions are true by surveying and reviewing actual coverage.)

Giving students an understanding of newsworthiness as a concept, and helping them develop the skill of news judgment, allows students to do more than just criticize; it enables them to enter the conversation about so-called agenda-setting and to engage with such criticisms when and where they encounter them.

In this lesson, students use four key criteria to explore how journalists determine which events to cover, and feature as top stories, in a news cycle. Then they apply these criteria to both hypothetical and actual news events to make their own news judgments.

This lesson makes the following essential questions available:

  • What makes an issue or event “news,” and who decides?
  • What factors should be used to determine which issues and events are newsworthy, and who decides?
  • How should news outlets decide which stories to feature? In other words, which stories should lead a television newscast, or be placed on the front page of a newspaper?
  • How might the level of diversity in a newsroom influence news judgments?

This news literacy classroom activity is suggested for grades 7-9 and 10-12+.

Key terms:

  • News judgment
  • Newsworthiness
  • News value
  • Lead story

Connections with other NLP resources:

  • What Is News?” lesson on NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom

About classroom lessons:

  • NLP’s lesson plans cover core news literacy subjects that help provide educators with the resources to design their own units. Many of these lessons have a corresponding version on NLP’s e-learning platform, Checkology. You can find activities, quizzes, infographics and posters that complement many lessons in NLP’s resource library.