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Jeff Nardone
Journalism adviser
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Lesson Plans

The Editorial Board Process

Journalistic Scenarios

The Editorial Board Process

Jeff Nardone of Grosse Pointe South High School

Topic: The Editorial Board Process

Performance Objective: By making ethical decisions in a group, students will become better at considering others’ thoughts and ideas, and they will also better understand the procedure that the student newspaper practices.

Anticipatory Set: To prepare for this lesson, students will be given the situations in advance and asked to respond to them as individuals.

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to get students to share thoughts and ideas and to be able to support their own beliefs. They will also need to build consensus in a group.

Instructional Input: I will explain the Editorial Board of "The Tower" newspaper and how it is made up of students just like the ones in this class. In this group, the members have discussions about the overall content of the newspaper, and when questionable material arises, the section editors are to bring the information to the Board. The Board then discusses the topic and comes to a consensus, sometimes in a 5-4 vote. I also show the students how the adviser participates in this discussion by playing devil’s advocate. I explain that the Board makes the final call on publication, and that they all have to stand behind the decision made, even if they disagree. The class is broken into groups of three or four, and each group must have a note-taker (to write down the pros and cons and the vote), a speaker (to give the results of the Board’s decision) and one or two readers (to read each scenario at the start). Each person will also give individual thoughts and ideas.

Modeling: To model this, I will give the students examples of tough decisions the Board has faced in the past. One is the decision on whether or not to put cause of death in a suicide story. After the class discusses this, I then give the Board’s decision (which is in our Editorial Policy-no we do not run the cause of death). Another example is whether or not to run a student’s name when he was arrested for selling drugs off campus. In this case, the Board went against my advice of running the name.

Checking for Understanding: Before the students break into their groups, I will ask for any last minute questions. I will make sure each person in the group has their job and understands the questions.

Independent Practice: Students will give and defend their answers. I will then give devil’s advocate responses as needed and allow the students to revote as necessary.

Closure: After all of the scenarios are discussed, I will ask the students their opinion of the job of the Board. I will call on various students to answer.

Evaluation: Notebook grades will be given to students for their individual answers to the assignment.

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