• Jan. 18 - Read "Facebook Photos Sting Minnesota High School Students" by the Associated Press (literature pakcet) and annotate for different types of bias.  Explain each bias on the article page.  

    Jan. 17 - Examine the 6 types of bias found below. Paraphrase an explanation for your assigned type of bias. Generate guiding questions you can use to discern whether your assigned type of bias is present in a given text. Find examples in an online text and record your findings. 



    • An editor can express a bias by choosing to use or not to use a specific news item. For example, the editor might believe that advertisers want younger readers—they spend more money. Therefore, news of specific interest to old people will be ignored.
    • Within a given story, details can be ignored or included to give readers or viewers a different opinion about the events reported. If, during a speech, a few people boo, the reaction can be described as “remarks greeted by jeers.” Or the people jeering can be dismissed as “a handful of dissidents . . .” or perhaps not even be mentioned.
    • Bias through the omission of stories or details is very difficult to detect. Only by comparing news reports from a wide variety of outlets can this form of bias be observed.
    • Bias in local news coverage can be found by comparing reports of the same event as treated in different papers.


    • Readers of papers judge first page stories to be more significant than those buried in the back. Television and radio newscasts run the most important stories first and leave the less  significant to later. Where a story is placed, therefore, influences what a reader or viewer thinks about its importance and suggests the editor’s evaluation of its importance.

    For example, a local editor might campaign against the owning of hand guns by giving prominent space to every shooting with a hand gun and gun-related accident in his paper.

    • Some murders and robberies receive front-page attention while others receive only a mention on page 20.
    • Similarly, where information appears within an article may also reveal evidence of bias. Because most readers only read the first few paragraphs of any given article, burying information at the end may work to suppress a particular point of view or piece of information, while placing it at the beginning emphasizes it. The opposite might be true, though; the end could reveal the writer’s closing thought (and thus his or her personal bias) on the issue.

           3. BIAS BY HEADLINE

    • Many people read only the headline of a news item. In addition, most people scan nearly all the headlines in a newspaper. As a result, headlines are the most-read part of a paper. They can summarize as well as present carefully hidden biases and prejudices. They can convey excitement where little exists; they can express approval or condemnation; and they can steer public opinion.


    • Some pictures flatter a person; others make the person look unpleasant. A paper can choose photos to influence opinion about, for example, a candidate for election. Television can show film or videotape that praises or condemns. The choice of which visual images to display is extremely important. Newspapers run captions that are also potential sources of bias and opinion.


    • To make a disaster seem more spectacular (and therefore worthy of reading), numbers can be inflated. “One hundred injured in train wreck” is not as powerful as “Passengers injured in train wreck.”
    • Crowd counts are notoriously inaccurate and often reflect the opinion of the person doing the counting. A reporter, event sponsor, or police officer might estimate a crowd at several thousand if he or she agrees with the purpose of the assembly—or a much smaller number if he or she is critical of the crowd’s purposes or beliefs. News magazines use specific numbers to enhance believability.


    • To detect bias, always consider where a news item “comes from.” Is the information supplied by a reporter, by an eyewitness, by police or fire officials, by executives, by elected or appointed government officials? Each might have a particular bias that is presented in the story.
    • Puff pieces are supplied to newspapers (and TV stations) by companies or public relations directors—and even sometimes by the government (directly or through press conferences). The name “puff piece” comes from the word puffery, which means overly flattering words about a topic. For example, the “Avocado Growers Association” might send a press release in the form of a news story telling of a doctor who claims that avocados are healthy and should be eaten by all. A food company might supply recipes for a newspaper’s food section that recommends use of its products in the recipes. A country’s tourist bureau will supply a glowing story, complete with pictures of a pleasant vacation. Recently, even government agencies have sometimes issued such releases.
    • A pseudo-event is some event (demonstration, sit-in, ribbon cutting, speech, ceremony, ground breaking, etc.) that takes place primarily to gain news coverage.
    • Similarly, the question of who is quoted in an article can point to bias. Be sure to consider who is quoted, what the quote seems to reveal or imply (negatively or positively) about the position, who is merely paraphrased, and what perspectives are unrepresented or remain silent in the article.

    Jan. 16 - Read the editorial, "The Newspaper is Dying--Hooray for Democracy" and annoate the texts for concessions and refutations he uses to counter Sunstein’s article and to justify his claim that the diminished role of the newspaper is not a problem for American democracy. Record your findings in the right-hand column of the graphic organizer and answer the following questions:

    1.) In a newspaper, space is at a premium. As a result, every word, and every paragraph counts. Thus said, what is the purpose of the first paragraph? What is the purpose of the second paragraph?

    2.) Why might the author have felt the need to address the other side’s argument? What might this technique do for his argument?

    3.) Potter presents Sunstein’s point of view. Does he do so objectively and accurately? 

    4.)The tone Potter employs in these next paragraphs suggests that Sunstein’s position is ridiculous. What words/images most strongly contribute to this tone?

    5.) The general formula for presenting an argument involves making a claim, then following that claim with evidence, then explaining how the evidence supports the claim. Does Potter follow this model? Are all of Potter’s claims adequately supported? 

    Jan. 15 - Read the editorial, "How the Rise of the 'Daily Me' Threatens Democracy" by Cass Sunstein and annotate the text for reasoning and evidence to justify the claim that the diminished role of the newspaper is a problem for Americna democracy.  List your support (6 examples) on a seperate sheet of paper (left-hand column) and answer the following questions. 

    1.) Sunstein defines his key term in the first paragraph. Why is that definition necessary for his argument?

    2.) Sunstein uses a rhetorical question in paragraph 3—a technique that works in certain situations, but not in others. Does this technique work here? Explain.

    3.) Does Sunstein use convincing reasoning and evidence to support his claim that the diminished role of the newspaper is a problem for American democracy? Explain.

    4.) In a deductive argument, the author presents a thesis, and then attempts to support it. In an inductive argument, the model is reversed. The evidence is examined and then a conclusion is reached. A.) Which model does Sunstein employ here? B.) How do you know? c.) Why might he have structured his argument this way?

    Jan. 14 - News Media Survey and Literary Terms:

    1.) Rank the following media outlets in the order you would turn to them for information on a major news story. (Use 1 to indicate the outlet you would turn to most often. Write N/A to indicate you would not use that outlet.)



    Local TV News

    Radio News

    Cable News Station

    News Magazines

    Word of Mouth

    2.) Rank the following media outlets for accuracy and trustworthiness in how they present information. (Rank the most trustworthy outlet 1.)



    Local TV News

    Radio News

    Cable News Station

    News Magazines

    Word of Mouth

    3.) Think back on the past month. About how much time (in hours) did you spend receiving news (not entertainment) from the following media outlets?



    Local TV News

    Radio News

    Cable News Station

    News Magazines

    Word of Mouth

    4.) Rank each of the following reasons that you might give for not reading the newspaper. (Write 1 next to the reason most appropriate for you. Write N/A if you disagree with the statement.)

    They are boring.

    They take too long to read.

    They don’t have information that applies to me and my life.

    They usually focus on scandals, politics, and gossip.

    They are often filled with mistakes and lies.


    5.) Do you feel that it is important to be knowledgeable about news? Explain.

    Define each literary term and include a synonym, antonym, and example sentence:

    • target audience
    • secondary audience
    • concession
    • Refutation
    • slanters
    • satire
    • Horatian satire
    • Juvenalian satire
    • persona
    • objective tone
    • subjective tone

    Jan. 11 - WRITING PROMPT:   Think about the role of media in society today, including its limitations and its contribution to a democracy. Using details from the text, "The Role of the Media in a Democaracy", write a text that explains the importance of a free press in a democracy. Be sure to:

    • Provide a coherent explanation of the role of free press in a democracy.
    • Provide a concluding statement that follows from and supports the explanation presented.
    • Use specific diction to maintain an objective tone throughout your writing.


    Jan. 10 - Finish reading and annotating "The Role of the Media in a Democaracy" by George A. Krimsky and answer the following questions:

    1. How important is a free press to a democratic democracy (chunk 1) ? Explain.

    2. How effective is the author’s use of rhetorical questions in the text. (chunk 2-4) Give three examples and explain the author’s questions and answers.

    3. Why is it important that the government is not involved with the media (chunk 3) ?

    4. How does the author provide a final support of his claim, conclusion (chunk 4) ?

    Jan. 9 - Each of the following terms is taken verbatim from the First Amendment. Read through the list first, and then underline each word or term as it appears in the text of the First Amendment (annotate on your packet). Next, define each term ON A SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER. Feel free to use a dictionary or other resource as allowed or provided by your teacher.

    Respecting, establishment, prohibiting, free exercise, thereof, abridge, the press, peaceably, assemble, petition, redress, grievances

    Now transform the text by rewriting the First Amendment in the space below, replacing the vocabulary words with their definitions. In some cases, your definition may fit exactly; in others, you may need to rework the phrasing (ON SAME SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER).

    Read "The Role of the Media in a Democaracy" by George A. Krimsky, annotate the text for connections to the ideals reflected in the First Amendment. Use the follwoing symbols as you annotate the text. 

     ? - a question

     * - anything about which you wish to comment or   

           make a connection

      ! - anything you find surprising


    Essential Questions:

    Based on your current knowledge, respond to the essential questions. 

    1. How do news outlets impact public opinion or public perception?
    2. How does a writer use tone to advance an opinion?

    Unpacking Embedded Assessment 1

    Read the assignment below for Embedded Assessment 1: Creating an Op-Ed News Outlet.  

    Working in groups, your assignment is to plan, develop, write, revise, and present an informational article on a timely and debatable issue of significance to your school community, local community, or national audience. After your group completes its article, you will individually develop a variety of editorial products that reflect your point of view (agreement, alternative, or opposing) on the topic. Be creative with your editorial products and include at least two or three different pieces, such as cartoons, editorials, letters, posters, photos, and so on.

    1. Paraphrase the prompt in your own words and list the skills needed to be successful. 

    Academic Vocabulary- define the following terms from the dictionary in the classroom or your cell phone, add one synonym and one antonym for each word, and use the word in a sentence.   

    1. reasoning 
    2. evidence
    3. bias
    4. editorial 
    5. fallacies
    6. parody 
    7. caricature 


    Jan. 7 - Seating Chart, Hi-Lows, New Years' Resolutions 

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