David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.
High School Journalism Projects
At a high school level, students are ready to really explore journalism more deeply, to analyze its impact on the world, and practice producing pieces that are closer to what a professional might write. Since journalism is primarily about exploring a topic through your own research, conversations, and interviews, it makes sense to study the topic through practical projects. Here are some ideas for journalism projects that you can use in your classroom.
Recreating a Journalistic Piece
One of the best ways to learn anything is through mimicry. By trying to re-create the work of others, we can learn more about how professionals do their jobs. For this project, provide students with a list of factual information and quotations contained within a good-quality journalistic piece from a respected publication. For this project, students must attempt to write a competent piece based on that information. You can tell them the publication and target audience.
Once they've completed it, they can compare the way they wrote the article with the original piece. They can compare and contrast the way the information was arranged, and what effect that had on the way it would come across to readers. They can also write reflections on what they learned from comparing the two articles, and what they would do differently if they were writing the same article again.
Freedom of the Press Project
For this project, have students investigate the importance of the freedom of the press. Different students can approach this from different angles. One student, could talk about the history of the freedom of the press, and how it developed over time. Another student, could study the relationship between the freedom of the press and various regimes over history, from democracies to tyrannical dictatorships. Yet another student, could investigate the current state of the freedom of the press on a worldwide stage, and how the degrees of freedom are different in different countries, even in the Western world. While another, could explore censorship, intimidation, and violence against people in the press.
Bias in the Media Project
As students learn more and more about journalism, they will soon realize that an unbiased piece of journalism is essentially nonexistent. While there are some publications that pride themselves on being close to neutral, the vast majority of media outlets and individual journalists are clearly not.
For this project, students must investigate articles on a particular topic. They can analyze articles from multiple outlets about exactly the same topic, and compare and contrast their points of view. They can look at the way the same information was presented - the location of information within paragraphs, the position of those paragraphs within the text, how the piece opened, how the piece closed, what information was omitted, and the particular word choices. Students should analyze the various subtle ways that a journalist can get across a point of view without making their bias overtly clear to a person who doesn't know what to look for.
Social Media Project
Social media has become a major force in journalism. Not only do journalists and organizations use it as a way of communicating to their audience, but journalists use social media to collect information, and get a sense for the feeling on a topic among the public. Social media has even had a major impact on world events, with uprisings like the Arab Spring being fueled by communication between young people through social media platforms. For this project, have students write a report analyzing the effect of social media on journalism.
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