Teachers

Featured School Papers:

Know Your J-Jargon

civil law : Statutes under which an individual or a group can take action against another individual or group. News Reporting & Writing (Eighth Edition) by the Missouri Group. Copyright 2005. Reproduced by permission of Bedford/St. Martins.

Learn more J-Jargon »

Lesson Plans


M. Eugenia Doncov
History teacher
Full-bio »

Lesson Plans

Bias vs. Perspective: An Inevitable Aspect of Journalism?




Bias vs. Perspective: An Inevitable Aspect of Journalism?

M. Eugenia Doncov of Framingham High School in Framingham, Mass.

M. EugeniaDoncov
Framingham High School
Framingham, Mass.

Title: Bias vs. Perspective: An Inevitable Aspect of Journalism?

Description of School and Students

Framingham High School is considered an urban-suburban secondary school. While it is located in the suburbs of Boston (30 miles west) the student population of almost 2,000 is quite diverse in terms of socio economics, race, religion and ethnicity. Given its size and student body, one feels as if it is an urban school. FHS has students from Framingham, inner city Boston, surrounding towns and from every continent (except Antarctica). Its largest immigrant group is Brazilian.

Massachusetts State Standards

  • 3. Research, Evidence, and Point of View. Students will acquire the ability to frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research; to collect, evaluate, and employ information from primary and secondary sources, and to apply it in oral and written presentations. They will understand the many kinds and uses of evidence; and by comparing competing historical narratives, they will differentiate historical fact from historical interpretation and from fiction.
  • 18. Principles and Practices of American Government. Students will describe how the United States government functions at the local, state, national, and international levels, with attention to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, its Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants, and the basic elements of its Frame of Government; analyze the background and evolution of constitutional and democratic government in the United States to the present day; and explain the place of institutions of government in securing the rights of citizens.

Generative Topics

  • Media and bias
  • Impact of different journalist perspectives on democracy
  • Power of media

Generative Objects

  • Video clips / Audio tapes of leading news story of the day as told by CNN, Fox News and BBC (or any other international news station) as well as a video clip of possible political parody done by "Saturday Night Live."

Understanding Goals

  • Essential Questions
    • What media do US teens prefer? Why?
    • How do viewers identify and account for journalistic bias?
    • How does media shape one’s opinion on any given issue or individual?
  • Critical Engagement Questions
    • Can any journalist / news provider be bias-free and do viewers want that?
    • How can individuals become more critical of their news information?
    • What does it mean to be conservative or liberal?
    • How do other countries report US news and how do they represent the US?

Performance of Understanding, Rationale and Timeline

With so many media options varying from television, the internet, print and radio, individuals must discern which provides the most accurate information. This lesson is aimed at identifying perspective and/or bias and its implications.

Activities

Activity 1

  • The instructor will ask students to identify BIAS and then PERSPECTIVE.
  • The class will generate a Venn Diagram that compares and contrasts the two words.
  • The instructor can ground this comparison by asking two different students to describe a recent school event such as a dance, football game or cafeteria incident. Ask students how bias and perspective play a role in the two accounts. Is it impossible to divorce bias/perspective from reporting an account?

Activity 2

  • Students will be asked about a recent news event and how they learned about it. They can write their responses on a piece of paper.
  • The teacher will ask “What bias/perspective might your source have?”

Activity 3

  • Students will compare and contrast three video clips and respond to the following questions provided on a hand-out sheet:
    • Who is the speaker?
    • Is the speaker conservative or liberal? How do you know?
    • Who is his/her audience?
    • What bias/perspective might the journalist have? What accounts for his/her perspective? (Is it race, gender, education, religion?)
    • How did YOUR understanding of the event change based on the tape you just saw?
  • As a class, review responses and discuss how the media plays a role in either EDUCATING or INFLUENCING its viewers. The teacher will facilitate a discussion on the implications of media and bias/perspective our democratic process.

Activity 4

  • Students will form partners and form a Five Step Action Plan for assessing news and information that will help them as they analyze media information. Students can formulate essential questions that will identify bias in news reporting.

Assessment

  • Students will use their Action Plan in assessing a news item.
    • The news item should come from a media source not used in the lesson (Internet, radio, international press).
    • Students will summarize the news story and record their findings in a one-page, typed, double-spaced essay.

Resources Recommended

 

Archived Lesson Plans »