Why should you care which is which?

The 2nd question: 

Why should you care which is which?

can be summed up by the following statements:

  • The goal of news reporting is to give you the information you need for your role in our democratic society.
  • The goal of opinion journalism is to help you make up your mind about that information.

Like reporters, opinion journalists should provide facts, using the discipline of verification to tell the stories that help us with the work of self-governance. But the goal of opinion journalists is to use what they’ve learned to suggest solutions to civic problems and promote and provoke discussion by picking sides and arguing forcefully.In other words, Opinion journalism is, by definition, one-sided.

You may be misled if you only hear one side of the situation. 

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For the 3rd question: 

What is the value of Opinion Journalism?

We say:

  • It gives you new insights
  • Challenges your assumptions
  • Helps you make a decision or judgment
  • Provides a public forum of ideas for the public to consider

If you have a solid hold on the facts, from reading News, a very pointed opinion piece can offer you new ways to analyze those facts. It can either challenge your view or provide you with reinforcements to your view. When a reader educates themself about the federal government’s response to record-high unemployment, they need reliable, comprehensive information to make sure they understand what’s going on. But when the reader moves from research mode into decision making mode…they should strengthen their confidence by listening to or reading someone who has studied the matter, made up their mind, and who marshals the facts in a logical way to support a conclusion. If they disagree, they know what they're up against. If they agree, they're armed for battle. 

Opinion Journalism is Valuable When:

1. You are well-informd
2. You are open-minded
3. You are active, not passive 

The whole point of staying up on the news is so that you can find reliable information…not just to collect bits of factual trivia, but to make the most of your roles in life by being that person who makes wise decisions, and takes action or makes judgments they don’t have to apologize for. You leave college both to lead powerfully and to follow powerfully. As effective leaders and followers, you must learn the facts for yourself before you form an opinion. But the world is full of people who want you to accept their opinion as fact…They want to lead without being questioned.

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bmurley's picture

  • The goal of news reporting is to give you the information you need for your Fourth Estate role.

I'm a bit confused by this statement. Are you talking to *journalists* specifically, or the public? Because traditionally, the Fourth Estate has referred only to the press, not the people. But in the next paragraph, you say this:

Like reporters, opinion journalists should provide facts, using the discipline of verification to tell the stories that help us with the work of self-governance. But the goal of opinion journalists is to use what they’ve learned to suggest solutions to civic problems and promote and provoke discussion by picking sides and arguing forcefully.In other words, Opinion journalism is, by definition, one-sided.

I would think you could maybe specify that a bit more clearly.

mspikes's picture

I have thought about that as this course was being edited. Good point. I've changed the line. 

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