Classroom connection: COVID-19 news coverage

Updates


As news organizations have continued to lay off, furlough or cut the pay of their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic (28,000 and counting, The New York Times reported last week), fundraisers and other supportive efforts are emerging to assist affected journalists and newsrooms. For example, Microloans for Journalists, a program created by journalists, connects journalists in the United States who need financial assistance with other U.S. journalists who are willing to lend them $500, interest-free. The Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund is providing more than $2.5 million in grants to several local news organizations to support their coverage of the pandemic.

On April 7, the News Media Alliance, a trade association for news publishers, noted that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency had refined its language about “essential” businesses to include “publishing news.” The next day, 19 Senate Democrats sent a letter (PDF) to the chamber’s Republican and Democratic leaders and the chairman and the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting that any additional COVID-19 stimulus package include financial support for local news outlets, which have been hit particularly hard in this crisis, even as their work becomes more important.

Discuss news outlets’ roles

What role do news outlets play during a public health crisis? What are some of the ways that you can support local journalism in your community? Are you seeking out more local news coverage now than you were before the pandemic? What are some differences between national news coverage of the pandemic and the news provided by your local outlets?

Track COVID-19 news coverage

Ask students to track local news coverage of the pandemic and select what they believe is the most valuable piece of coronavirus-related local news. Then have students share their selections in small groups and agree on one story to share with the entire class. Finally, have the class vote on the best local story about the pandemic, then email or message the journalist to see if they would be willing to join the class for a short video conference about their reporting.

Related reading

More Updates

Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss showcases The Sift

Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss features content from The Sift®,  NLP’s free weekly newsletter for educators, in her blog throughout the school year. Lisa Marie Presley’s death, AI problems and more news literacy lessons (Jan. 25, 2023) News literacy lessons: ‘Shark Week,’ Stephen Curry video, toxic social media  (Dec, 17, 2022) Twitter chaos, LeBron James,…

NLP in the News

National NewsLitCamp®️: Trust and Credibility Agenda and Schedule

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 9 A.M. – 6 P.M. EST NewsLitCamp: Trust and Credibility is a free, virtual event hosted by the News Literacy Project in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group! It is designed to help educators teach students to analyze news and information with a skeptical — not cynical — eye. The professional learning…

Updates

To keep our democracy strong, we need to restore trust in news media

Once trust is gone, it’s tough to regain. But it’s critical that we all work to restore it. That’s because public trust and a news media industry that does its job well go hand in hand in protecting our democracy. That’s why my organization, the News Literacy Project (along with The E.W. Scripps Company), is focusing on trust in newsrooms and news coverage during National News Literacy Week.

Updates