News Media Literacy

  • Assignment Number One

    Stony Brook Model


    I. Purpose of the course:

    This course is designed to teach students how to take skillful possession of their power as citizens by becoming perceptive news consumers. Armed with critical-thinking skills, a firm grasp of relevant history, plus practical knowledge about the news media, students learn how to find the reliable information they need to make decisions, take action, or make judgments. At a time when the digital revolution is spawning an unprecedented flood of information and disinformation each day, the course will seek to help students recognize the differences between news and propaganda, news and opinion, bias and fairness, assertion and verification, and evidence and inference.

    II. Intended Outcomes:

    ?     Analyze the key elements of a news account, including weight of evidence, credibility of sources and of context, to judge its reliability.

    ?     Distinguish between news and opinion and analyze the logic/rhetoric employed in opinion journalism.

    ?     Identify and distinguish between news media bias and audience bias.

    ?     Blend personal scholarship and course materials to write forcefully about news media standards and practices, as well as First Amendment issues and issues of fairness and bias.

    ?     Connect current news accounts to universal concepts of community and citizenship.

    ?     Assess the impact of digital information technologies and place them in their historical context.


    III. Texts and materials:

    1. “The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect,” Kovach and Rosenstiel.

    2. Selected Readings & Clips

    3. “Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload,” Kovach and Rosenstiel.

    IV. Other requirements and recommendations:

    Students are required to follow the news every day.  You must watch, listen to and/or read news online, via broadcast, and in various print newspapers and magazines.

    V. Participation and Assessment: You will be graded on how well you prepare for class, follow the news, and engage in class discussions and debates. Additionally, there will be various projects to be completed and presented during class time. 

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