Unit 2 - How is News Constructed?

Unit 2 of this course covers the next 3 lessons of the News Literacy Course, and takes the student through the process of finding, creating, and disseminating the news. 

Lesson 5: News vs. Opinion

What is the difference between news and opinion within the journalism neighborhood and why are the lines blurring so rapidly?  How can you differentiate news from opinion in a newspaper, on television, on the Internet? What is a columnist? A commentator? Are bloggers journalists? Are Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly presenting news or opinion?   How can a news consumer identify the difference? And why does it matter? Does this blurring of opinion and news have effects on the media’s relationship with the government? Does it compromise the idea of creating an informed citizenry and instead generate a polarized one?


Lesson 6: Balance, Fairness, and Bias

This lesson explores one of the most controversial and contentious issues surrounding the press. Are the news media fair and balanced? What do those terms mean? How can a news consumer tell?  What is bias? What’s the difference between media bias and audience bias? Is this a particularly American phenomenon or are other cultures struggling with this?


Lesson 7: Journalistic Truth and the Search for Evidence

What do journalists mean by “truth”?  How does journalistic truth differ from philosophical truth, or scientific truth?  What standards do journalists use to try to verify information? This class explores the pursuit of journalistic “truth” and the verification process. What makes some news sources reliable and others unreliable? What are the differences between direct and indirect evidence, assertion and verification, evidence and inference? How news consumers can assess journalistic evidence and why the verification process breaks down. A look at news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and how it relates to themes in the lecture. 


Unit 2 Contents: