Monday, September 30, 2013

Week #4: Examining bias and perspective. Choose any story to blog about this week. Examine the following: What perspective is the story written from? What perspective(s) are missing in the story? What might these people say about the issue? (Due Oct. 2)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week #3: What does democracy look like in society? Locate and blog about an article that relates to democratic content, principles, or processes. Is democracy something that is reflected in the current events of our society? What people and perspectives are represented?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week #2: How is education portrayed in the news? Locate and blog about an article that addresses an educational policy, event, or happening in schools. What are the implications of this policy for you as a future teacher? (Remember that this weekly assignment has two parts. If you have questions, read the assignment on the yellow paper in the packet.)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week #1: What does social studies look like in society? Locate and blog about an article that relates to any topics, themes, or big ideas regarding social studies.

How to Read a Newspaper

How to Read a Newspaper for
National and International News

This article was adapted from How to Read a Paragraph: The Art of Close Reading by Richard Paul and Linda Elder. http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-the-art-of-close-reading-part-three/511

To become adept at reading the news, you first must understand that every society and culture has a unique worldview. This colors what they see and how they see it. News media in the cultures of the world reflect the worldview of the culture they write for. Suppose you have two persons reporting on the events of your life — your best friend and your worst enemy. Your best friend would highlight the positive things about you; your worst enemy would highlight the negative things about you. Both would think they were simply telling the truth.

As a critical reader of the news, you must make adjustments for biases. So if you are a Frenchman in France reading French newspapers, you must read the fine print to find out the negative things about France that are being suppressed or buried. If you are reading a newspaper from a country that considers France its enemy, you must, in a parallel way, read to correct for its one-sidedness (its predictable negativity about France).

At present, the overwhelming majority of people in the world, untrained in critical reading, are at the mercy of the news media in their own country.   When reading the newspaper critically you must:
  • interpret events from the perspective of multiple views
  • find multiple sources of thought and information, not simply those of the mass media
  • identify the viewpoints embedded in news stories
  • mentally re-write (reconstruct) news stories through awareness of how stories are told from multiple perspectives
  • assess news stories for their clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, and significance
  • identify contradictions and inconsistencies in the news (often in the same story)
  • identify the agenda and interests served by a story
  • identify the facts covered and the facts ignored in a news story
  • identify the points of view systematically presented in a favorable light and those presented in an unfavorable light
These are some of the skills that critical readers of the news develop. To take command of the way the mass media influence your thinking about the world, you must learn how to see through their biases and appreciate dissenting as well as mainstream points of view. Only then can you come to well-reasoned conclusions using a balanced approach. At present, few people have developed the skills to do this.
How to Read an Editorial

To become adept at reading editorials, you must first understand that the goal of the editorial writer is to make a brief case for one side of a controversial issue. His or her goal is not to consider all sides or to do what a writer of a research paper or report is expected to do. Most people read editorials in the following way. If writers are defending what they believe, they praise the editorial. If writers are criticizing what they believe, they criticize the editorial. Therefore, they are unable to gain insights from people with whom they disagree. The fact is that most people are rigid in their thinking and largely closed-minded. There are many points of view into which they cannot enter. There are many ways to look at the world that they never examine or appreciate.

By contrast, critical readers recognize that they have been wrong in the past and may be wrong now. They recognize what they would like to believe while at the same time realizing that they may be prejudiced by that very desire. It is in this spirit of open-mindedness that we should learn to read editorials — especially the ones to which we are least sympathetic. We must learn how to step outside of our own point of view and enter points of view with which we are unfamiliar.

Of course, we should not assume that the editorials in our own culture’s newspapers provide us with a full range of points of view. What we can expect is merely that these newspapers provide us with the range of views held by the mainstream readers within the society. The goal of a newspaper is not to educate readers concerning international and dissenting points of view but rather to make money. And a newspaper makes money only when it caters to the beliefs and preconceptions of its readers. Thus, newspapers rarely present radically dissenting perspectives, and when they do, they emphasize that these are merely opinions.


Critical readers read all editorials with equal sympathy. They read to discover and digest a wide range of points of view, especially points of view that tend to be ignored in the mainstream of the culture. To enhance their breadth of vision while avoiding ethnocentrism and sociocentrism, critical readers search out dissenting media sources.

Newspaper Sections and Terms

Newspaper Sections and Terms
Tips for Reading and Using the Newspaper for Research
By Grace Fleming, About.com Guide

Many people become interested in reading the newspaper as young adults. Other young adults may be required to read the newspaper to search for current events or research sources.  The newspaper can be daunting for beginners. These terms and tips can help readers understand the parts of a newspaper and help them decide what information could be helpful when conducting research.

Front Page
The first page of a newspaper includes the title, all the publication information, the index, and the main stories that will capture the most attention. The major story of the day will be placed in the most prominent position and contain a large, bold-faced headline. The topic could be of a national scope or it could be a local story.

Folio
The folio includes the publication information and is often located under the name of the paper. This information includes the date, volume number, and price.

News Article
A news article is a report on an event that has taken place. Articles may include a byline, body text, photo, and caption. Typically, newspaper articles that appear closest to the front page or within the first section are those that editors consider to be the most important and relevant to their readers.

Feature Articles
Feature articles report about an issue, person, event with added depth and more background details.

Byline
A byline appears at the beginning of an article and gives the writer's name.

Editor
An editor decides what news will be included in each paper and determines where it will appear according to relevance or popularity. The editorial staff determines content policy and creates a collective voice or view.

Editorials
An editorial is an article written by the editorial staff from a specific perspective. The editorial will offer the newspaper's view of an issue. Editorials should not be used as a main source of a research paper, because they are not objective reports.


Editorial cartoons
Editorial cartoons have a long and fascinating history. They offer an opinion and convey a message about an important issue in an amusing, entertaining, or poignant visual depiction.

Letters to the Editor
These are letters sent from readers to a newspaper, usually in response to an article. They often include strong opinions about something the newspaper has published. Letters to the editor should not be used as objective sources for a research paper, but they could prove valuable as quotes to demonstrate a point of view.

International News
This section contains news about other countries. It may address relationships between two or more countries, political news, information about wars, droughts, disasters, or other events that impact the world in some way.

Advertisements
Obviously, an advertisement is a section that is purchased and designed for selling a product or idea. Some advertisements are obvious, but some can be mistaken for articles. All advertisements should be labeled, although that label might appear in small print.

Business Section
This section contains business profiles and news reports about the state of commerce. You can often find reports about new inventions, innovation, and advances in technology. Stock reports appear in the business section. This section could be a good resource for a research assignment. It will include statistics and profiles of people who have made an impact on the economy.

Entertainment or Lifestyle
The section names and traits will differ from paper to paper, but lifestyle sections typically offer interviews of popular people, interesting people, and people who make a difference in their communities. Other information concerns health, beauty, religion, hobbies, books, and authors.