Activities  Home  K-4  5-8  9-12   Geo Quiz   Vocabulary Quiz   NewsVideo   Cartoons   Talking Points  Science Webcast 



Additional Resources for Your Classroom



Find over 300 resources that include teacher guides, student supplements, teacher training modules and so much more.

Click here to access instructional material


Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 06, 2008

iReport reminds us: Don't believe everything you read online

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
Opinion pieces in the newspaper aren't confined to the Editorial page. Columnists, for example, are paid to opine. Can you find examples of opinion sneaking into news stories. Check sports -- reports about a local team's performance will often include a writer's opinion.
2.gif
Check your newspapers' blogs to see what kinds of stories are covered there. What constraints do you think should be put on bloggers who blog for Mainstream Media outlets?
3.gif
Find a news story that quotes sources for information. How do you know the sources are valid? How would a reporter validate information provided by a source -- even a named source. Are there any stories that quote unnamed sources? Under what circumstances would it be OK to use unnamed sources in a news story?

An anonymous blogger on CNN's iReport.com, a community journalism site, broke a story last Friday under the headline: "Steve Jobs rushed to ER following severe heart attack." As other Internet sites jumped on the unverified story, concern over the health of Apple's CEO sent Apple's stock tumbling about 11 percent in about 10 minutes.

iReport's logo includes the motto: "Unedited. Unfiltered. News." The site even includes the disclaimer: "CNN makes no guarantees about the content or the coverage on iReport.com!" And, of course, this time the heart attack report was completely false.

Apple denied the rumor within minutes after it surfaced. CNN quickly removed the post and concerns that someone was trying to manipulate the price of Apple stock sparked an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Apple suffered minimal damage as its stock price recovered.

But the incident has called into question the validity of Community Journalism. The Wall Street Journal said the post carried more impact because it appeared on a site operated by CNN. The speed at which information and misinformation can be spread over the Internet provides a strong opportunity to manipulate facts, spread falsehoods and wreak havoc.

Mainstream Media (MSM): The argument from traditional journalists is that MSM (Mainstream Media or traditional media such as newspapers) have editors, a copy desk and fact checkers -- a system in place that ensures getting it right -- as well as standards that eschew unnamed sources and require multiple sources in reporting. MSM outlets lay claim to a convention of unbiased, objective reporting that strives to present all sides of an issue. That's what gives MSM an aura of trust and accountability.

Citizen bloggers and community journalism: Proponents of blogs and community journalism insist that bloggers, unfettered by those "outdated" constraints, are more free to publish and can publish more quickly. Since the Blogosphere is actually a group effort, mistakes can be corrected or debunked quickly by the group, more details can be dug up by the group and additional questions can be posed by the group.

Who's right? That depends. In a lot of ways, both are right. The systems can coexist and both can be abused. Few newspapers today have not at least experimented with blogs. And bloggers have broken important stories and have certainly added to the flow of information. However, very few blogs do any original reporting and most just recirculate and comment on coverage done by MSM.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2017
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Rifle fire at U.S. House baseball practice: Gun debate suddenly is more personal for Congress

Not Harvard-worthy after all: Social media missteps are costly for at least 10 high school grads

U.S. pullout undercuts global climate agreement aimed at protecting planet

History and healing: Civil War generals come off their pedestals in the South

Department stores and malls may be an endangered species as more of us shop online

Trump dismissal of FBI director James Comey will have long-lasting political and maybe legal fallout

‘Smart driving’ apps keep new motorists safety-conscious and keep parents more at ease

Symbolic benchmark: President Trump and others look at his first 100 days in office

Bleached-out coral, a climate change sign, alarms scientists for a second straight year

Reusable rockets save money and are likely to open a new era in space

Complete archive