, week of
Oct. 30, 2023
1. REDRAWING RULES
A federal judge in Atlanta ruled that Republicans violated a civil rights law when they redrew the state’s voting maps, as they didn’t have equitable representation for Black residents. The Georgia General Assembly must now redraw the voting districts to be more fairly representative of the state’s population before the 2024 election cycle. Seven Southern states are defending their congressional maps against federal judges who have said they’re discriminatory against minority voters, particularly Black residents. Meanwhile, North Carolina Republicans have approved new congressional voting maps that would heavily favor their party in the key swing state. With the redrawn districts, Republicans in the state would likely win an additional three seats over Democrats in the House of Representatives. In your newspaper or online, read more about the redrawn maps in North Carolina and the recent ruling in Georgia. Then, write an opinion article, drawing inferences from the precedent in Georgia and sharing your ideas about what might happen in North Carolina with the new maps, and what the effects might be in Congress if the new maps are used in the 2024 election cycle.
2. A TRAGIC EVENT
Residents in Maine were locked down for two days as police searched for the perpetrator of a shooting at a bowling alley in Lewiston. Robert Card II, 40, was named as the gunman, who killed 18 people and wounded 13 others before taking his own life. While many were relieved that Card no longer posed a danger to the community, his death meant there were few answers as to his motives in the attack at Just-In-Time Recreation, where dozens of people were bowling and playing cornhole and billiards. Consider the importance of keeping the public informed as a situation like this one develops over multiple days while also minimizing the spread of misinformation that could induce panic and maintaining respect for the victims. Write a paragraph describing how you would handle the situation as a reporter, including who you would talk to and the questions you would ask.
3. FTX ON TRIAL
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried testified in his own defense last week at the criminal trial that will determine whether he’s guilty of fraud. He’s been no stranger to speaking about the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange, having gone on a press tour and inviting reporters to his home while he was on house arrest to discuss the events as they unfolded. This time, under oath, he testified for more than five hours, denying fraud but admitting to “significant oversights” and mistakes that damaged FTX’s customers’ investments. While it’s one’s right to testify in their own defense, it’s a risky move that opens a defendant to cross-examination by the prosecution. If found guilty, Bankman-Fried could receive a life sentence for the seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering he’s charged with. Read about the background of the trial. Then, write an article that summarizes the facts of the case against Bankman-Fried and draws inferences about how his testimony may affect the results of the trial.
4. A FRESH CANDIDATE
Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, has announced his candidacy for president, going up against President Joe Biden in the 2024 election primaries. The third-term congressman has publicly said Biden shouldn’t run again, as polling shows he may lose to former President Donald Trump. He’s also cited the age of the two frontrunners: Biden is 80 years old and Trump is 77, while Phillips is 54. With his late announcement for candidacy, he’s already missed the deadline to appear on the ballot in Nevada, the second state in the new primary calendar. Research Phillips, including how he’s voted on key issues and how he compares to President Biden. Then, write a brief profile on him as a candidate.
5. STIRKE BACK
Last week, US fighter jets bombed facilities in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It was intended to send a message to Iran to deter them from entering the Israel-Hamas war, targeting storage buildings that held arms and ammunition. (Groups in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq are aligned with Hamas.) Hours later, proxies of the corps fired back, sending an attack drone toward US troops at Al Assad Air Base in western Iraq. The US shot down the drone, which caused no injuries, but it was just one of almost daily attacks against US forces in the last two weeks. Research how other countries in the world have aligned themselves—with Israel, Palestinians in Gaza, or Hamas—and write a short paragraph about how those alliances could change the scope of the war.