Reading

Where and when do you read? Do you only use digital platforms and read news, social media feeds and fiction online? Or do you sometimes pick up an actual newspaper or book to read? And how long does it last until you get distracted? By your thoughts, by something popping up on you cell phone screen, or by actual people, or real-life events?

Did you know that research shows that onscreen reading makes us more impatient? And that this Guardian article draws upon the same research, and adds a number of other studies from across the world to prove its point? The first task for you in today’s lesson is to read these two articles, the second longer than the first, and track your own reactions. As the first challenges you overtly to react a certain way, the second challenges you more covertly. How do you respond? Monitor your reactions and take notes along the way.

The second task this lesson is to read two more articles, one from BBC and one from UC Berkeley. They both encourage you to read, but for different purposes and within different genres, thus also presenting different strategies. Take notes, depending on your previous experience with study techniques. Did you learn anything new from reading these articles? Or do you already employ these strategies on a daily basis?

But the main question for today is: how did you do when asked to read almost an hour in one sitting?

Hilde

The silent treatment, pillory or the middle ground?

Did you know that Ebola is still not eradicated? Nor HIV, despite existing medicines? Nor measles? Nor a number of other diseases? Why, in today’s day and age? Two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article about the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been five years since the world was scared almost into hysteria during the “last outbreak”, but was it really the last outbreak?

A week ago NRK published a series of pictures released by Doctors Without Borders, listing several forgotten humanitarian crises. I have not been able to find that topic mentioned in other media the last month.

And on a considerably different note, the Saudi Crown Prince was interviewed last night by the CBS show 60 Minutes. He was asked about wide-ranging topics, from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a year ago, to women’s rights, to the war in Yemen. Did you know there is a war in Yemen?

Tomorrow in class you are going to write for 90 minutes. The tasks will invite you to discuss media in terms of global crises. You might not use any of these topics in your discussion, and media’s focus on Greta Thunberg, or on the Notre Dame fire rather than the fires in Brazil’s rainforest, could be equally interesting starting points. But you do need a starting point, a point of reference, when discussing how media works, or for whom media works, or in which situations we rely on media, or however I plan on phrasing one or two tasks for you. Good luck, and do not hesitate contacting me if you have any questions for tomorrow!

Hilde

 

Sources:

Polarizing a debate

The name and actions of Edward Snowden has been a presence in debates about both media and democracy during the last six years, and a recurrence has been posing the question “hero or traitor?”. Why the need to use such polarizing labels? Does that mean that people see the world in either – ors? Black and white? Right and wrong? Good and bad?

Write a blog post in which you reflect on reasons behind and / or effects of polarizing a debate. You may exemplify through the debate around Snowden, but you are welcome to use other examples as illustrations of a polarized debate as well.

Hilde

How to spot fake news

can be challenging! One of the negative aspects of social media is that it is so easy to spread misinformation online.  Take this quiz from the NYT to check if you are able to spot the fake news.

Fortunately, there are numerous online tools to check whether the news is fake or not.

  1. Read this article by  The Guardian  about  NewsGuard that makes it easier to detect false news.  Is this something you would use and recommend to others?
  2. Find at least two news stories and use this flow chart by the BBC to check if the information and the source are reliable.
  3. Share your findings with your group members.
  4. Discuss: Why is it so important to be critical to what we read online?fake news II-M

Positive and Negative Aspects of Social Media

Today we have heard about the media’s role in our global world. Who could imagine a world without it? As media consumers, we use a wide variety of media, and social media is perhaps the most used one. In your first blog assignment, I want you to write a brief text (max. 1 page) about the positive and negative aspects of social media.

-Målfrid
social media

In the news: Human Rights?

Fighting for human rights can be very dangerous. If you are a woman fighting for human rights in a country with no respect for them, it is even more dangerous… Read these stories and reflect on the courage needed to be an activist in any form and to stand up for your right to protest…

Burundi girls jailed

 

Iranian human rights laywer sentenced to 38 years in prison

 

Female activists released in Saudi Arabia

Media coverage

The media has immense power, and often it is easy to forget that the cases written about, and its angle, is chosen by someone for some reason. Some media are more conservative, some more liberal, some write from one cultural background and some from another. This causes the both what is reported and how it is reported to vary from different media and different countries.

Look at the front pages of these different media: The LA Times, The Guardian, Al-Jazeera, CNN, The Australian and BBC .

Do all these media report on the same issues? Which are the recurring ones?

What are the various media focusing on? Do any of them focus on similar topics, or do they all vary?

Look up The Guardian, CNN and Al-Jazeera on social media (FB, instagram, twitter) – what are they sharing on social media? Is this different from the headlines on the actual newspaper? If so, why do you think they choose to share other cases on social media?

Choose two articles about the same topic to read, make sure they are from different media sources. Compare the two in terms of what it reports and focus on, the language – for who is this written, and possible opinions or views shining through. Write a short text where you discuss your findings.

Hanna

How different countries use newsproviding media

In the groups you have been working with all week, make a Prezi presentation of media usage in a country you of your choice You can look at Reporters Without Borders’ 2018 World Press Freedom Index for inspiration. Some things might be easy to find out, others a bit harder, and others yet again might be impossible… but let’s try! 🙂

Find out:

  • do they have a free press or any kind of censorship? Why/why not?
  • do they have state media or not? What could be the importance of this?
  • What are the biggest newsproviding media in this country?
  • Who owns these media?
  • How many use these?
  • Are they politically minded – liberal, conservative etc? If so, how is this seen?
  • Find the three biggest newsproviding media in this country and look at their frontpages: compare headlines, choice of causes, focus, read a story from each and comment on the journalism. Also, find them on social media; check out their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram account. How are they on social media? Many followers? What kind of profile do they have here? What kind of cases are their fronting on their social media?

The presentations should be ready at 11 today.

Here are some previous student answers to look at for inspiration as well.

Media in South Africa

Media in China

Media in Brazil

Media in India

Hanna

 

In the news: The Terror Attack in New Zealand and how their PM is standing up for the nation

Great article from The Guardian on the role the prime minister of New Zealand has taken on after the attacks:

Real leaders do exist

Read these articles to find out more about and debate the role of the media in terror attacks:

Terror attacks by Muslims receive 357% more press attention, study finds (The Guardian)

Christchurch shootings: Social media races to stop attack footage (BBC)