News Literacy 2
Zoom in on Media Matters Part 4 — News Literacy Part 2
Topic: the main elements of quality journalism
Main idea: Our news consumption habits have changed considerably in the past few years. Instead of poring over news articles and checking different sources we tend to click on clickbait headlines, skim through articles or check the headlines without even bothering to read the whole news item. In this media context it is worth considering what makes legitimate journalism and what we are supposed to do to make sure that we consume real news coming from authentic sources.
Exercise 1 — Vocabulary
Time: 12-15 min
Instructions for teachers: The words in this exercise will come up in the video. At this level the students might already be familiar with them. In case they aren’t, they can get familiar with them before watching the video, which gives them the opportunity to focus more on the content. These words might also prove useful when they have to finish the sentences in Exercise 2.
Exercise 2 — Tuning in to the topic
Time: 7-8 min
Instructions for teachers: The topic at hand is quite difficult and requires a wide vocabulary, so it is definitely for more advanced level students. The purpose of this exercise is to give students a clue to the focus of the lesson, however, it should not serve to spark a debate at this point. In Exercise 3 as you watch the video, you will find the answers, but students should make an effort to finish the sentences with their own ideas. Encourage your students to use the vocabulary that they have gotten familiar with in the previous exercise. Words like verified, checked, authentic, accountable, independent should come up.
- Legitimate journalism is news …
- The characteristics of quality journalism are …
- Journalists collect information with the goal of providing …
Exercise 3 — Video
Time: c. 10-12 min
Students should watch the video for the first time to gain a general understanding of the text. When they watch it for the second time, they should focus on the incomplete sentences in Exercise 2. They should take notes and jot down some key words related to the incomplete sentences in the previous exercise. How would they complete the sentences now?
Exercise 4 — Speaking Activity
Time: 15-20 min
Instructions for teachers: Several important ideas and concepts—crucial to the understanding of legitimate journalism—come up in the video. Students are normally not interested in the topic; however, they need to understand the importance of the key concepts of verification, independence and accountability. The first two questions are clear from the video.
As for Question 3, the recent news accounts of the disappearance of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un in April 2020 can be a good example of unverified news. Since he did not show up for the Day of the Sun celebrations —held every year in honour of his grandfather, the country’s founding father, Kim Il Sung—NK Daily, which is a paper run by North Korean defects, published an article suggesting that Kim was in hospital and had undergone heart surgery. Using NK Daily as a source several news portals—Asian and European alike—published the news albeit emphasizing that the fact of the surgery had not been confirmed. News accounts also brought up the cardio-vascular problems of the North Korean dictator due to his being a chain smoker as well as his obesity—further feeding the assumption of the heart surgery. Some even suggested that Kim might have passed away. Reuters released information that China had sent medical experts and government officials to Pyongyang. Then his luxury yacht was spotted at a North Korean seaside resort, which led to other kinds of speculations. The news of Kim’s sudden disappearance and potential reasons behind it went viral in the global media. When a few weeks later he appeared in public again, it turned out that he hadn’t had a surgery at all. He was alive and kicking, and most probably only retreated into isolation to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus.
So, let’s keep in mind some key concepts: verification, authentic sources, being accountable.
Exercise 5 — Vocabulary builder
Time: 12-15 min
Instructions for teachers: The purpose of the exercise is to help students learn or revise words of other parts of speech that are related to the main vocabulary of this lesson.