What is News?

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Identify what “news”  is and how media decide what information matters

These lesson plans teach basic media literacy skills—comprehension, analysis, evaluation—for students to use while engaged with media.  These case studies teach students

  1. to identify what “news”  is and how media, as well as other actors, decide what information matters;
  2. to monitor, analyze and compare media coverage of people and events; and
  3. to understand media's role in shaping global issues.

Click on any of the topics at right to read the WHAT IS NEWS? lesson plans.



Students who complete some or all of these lesson plans will have worked through the following points:

  • Information is key to our understanding of the world around us, our ability to find a meaningful role in it, and our capacity to take advantage of the resources available to us.
  • Information is power. When information is concentrated within the hands of a few or only in the hands of elites, the public’s ability both to make decisions and to assess the decisions of others is greatly reduced.
  • An ethical and pluralistic media can ensure transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
  • Words and pictures have different abilities to attract attention to issues and events, yet fundamentally, both work to promote participation in public and political discourse
  • All information is subject to interpretation. The fullest airing of an issue occurs in a responsible and pluralistic media environment. That free and open airing of an issue leads in turn to participatory governance where special interests are less able to singularly spin public debate and shape public policy.