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Tabloid Tales: Where is the News Taking Us — Or Where are We Taking the News?

Wendy Holm of The College Board’s Boston office.

Wendy Holm
The College Board

This lesson plan was developed by Holm as part of required work while attending The Media and Democracy Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Title: Tabloid Tales: Where Is The News Taking Us — Or Where Are We Taking The News?

Description of School and Students
This unit will be taught to high school seniors as a part of a quarter-long focus on understanding media within a senior English class. The class size is 35 students, and the school is a public high school of 1,400 students in Crescent City, Calif.

Generative Topic
Tabloid Journalism

Generative Objects
The most recent editions of tabloid newspapers, such as National Enquirer, Weekly World News, Star, etc. and the recent editions of elite media, The New York Times, etc.

Understanding Goals

Performances of Understanding, Rationale, and Timeline

In this introductory unit on news, students will come to understand definitions surrounding different types of news coverage, both written and electronic. Further, they will reflect on the predominance of scandal-ridden, tabloid journalism in the 1990s, bringing it into historical perspective with the development of U.S. journalism, and analyze the particular "tabloid" rage of the 1990s. Finally, they will discuss trends and predictions for changes in journalism as the century draws to an end, using the coverage of the year 2000 milepost as both a case study of past trends, and as a mark of possible change for the future.

The unit would take 71/2-10 hours of class time.



Wendy Holm’s lesson plan, "Tabloid Tales: Where is the News Taking Us — or Where are We Taking the News? " was published in The Media and Democracy Curriculum Compendium 1999, Barrett and Greyser editors, published by Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., p. 212.

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