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Introduction to Learning Resources


With the flood of information and imagery that inundates us all in today’s news-saturated and tightly-connected world, the intellectual tools needed to distinguish fact from opinion and propaganda are essential for everyone – but especially for media professionals. Television news is perhaps the most influential news medium in the world, yet it is has not often been studied in media literacy terms, due to past limitations on access to news video paired with carefully designed learning tools. Know the News was created to address this, by providing TV news and the tools to understand it, in a free online format.  Know the News offers these news literacy tools:
    * A video Remixer that lets users edit any one of three sets of news clips from around the world, add their own commentary and research, and publish and share their work.
    * A ratings tool that lets users rate the remixes, and other news stories, for their journalistic qualities.
    * The News Challenge quiz, which tests user’s understanding of what they see and hear in TV news reports, using worldwide coverage of the most intriguing stories of the last year.
    * A wiki where students can post their research and reports; and can add to our growing database of international TV facts.

While anyone can use these tools, they are designed to support media literacy studies for college-level communications and journalism students. Professors can sign their classes up using a special “class code” registration process that allows easy access to student’s published remixes; and upon request, we will add professor-selected TV news clips to the remixer for class use. Please request a class code by emailing us at: knowthenews@linktv.org.  The two sets of suggested learning activities presented here are for the Remixer tool, and for the News Challenge quiz.

 

Know the News Remixer Learning Guide Outline

Also See Know the News Challenge Learning Guide

 

By Paul Mihailidis, PhD

For educational questions about Know the News or this guide, or to receive a class code, please contact: knowthenews@linktv.org

 

OVERVIEW

LinkTV’s Know the News Remixer is a new learning tool for global media education. This initiative is conceived to help students think comparatively and critically about how television news frames global issues.

 

The Remixer hosts a range of television news clips from around the world. These clips are available for students to edit, narrate, title, navigate and remix, to build their own global news stories. Students can create comparative newscasts that reveal different points of view; remix clips to show how different news coverage can set different agendas; enlist varying viewpoints; and experience how media messages influence civil societies worldwide. 

 

Context for Using Know the News In the Classroom

The frameworks for using Know the News in the classroom are, above all, conceived with the idea of the student at the center of the learning process. Media literacy education stresses the engagement of the student with content, and the reflection on that engagement after the experience has concluded. The role of the educator using this tool is to help the student become: aware of the implications of news production; cognizant of how perspectives are altered by news outlets worldwide; appreciative of the necessity of news media in a civil society; and reflective of the complexities involved in TV news reporting. 

The classroom is a learning laboratory. The Know the News Remixer can enliven the discussion and learning process by bringing global content and active discovery into the classroom. The exercises conceived using the Remixer can help make the exploration and analyses of media more enjoyable, while allowing for intimate reflection of the processes at work in television news worldwide.

 

Know the News Remixer Learning Goals

The following learning goals suggest different ways educators can us the Remixer in their classrooms. 

 

 

  • Students will learn about the news decision-making process through active editing of professional news clips.
  • Students will face real limitations of time, voice, and perspective in producing news. 
  • Students will grasp a better understanding of the editorial process behind television news.
  • Students will become more understanding of the value of news to citizenship and democratic society.
  • Students will learn to understand the challenges of presenting information in a “representative” context. They will also learn the value of what is “left out” of the message.
  • Students will be better prepared for a future involving news production, distribution, and reception.
  • Students will better appreciate the value of media technologies for diversity in story telling.
  • Students will understand the ethical implications behind news production and the choices involved in editing content.
  • Students will identify with production techniques needed for effective 21st media literacy education.

 

 

USING THE REMIXER

The following section outlines ways to use the Remixer in the classroom. The following frameworks do not deal with specific content, but rather discusses the numerous applications for the Remixer and the general themes this tool can address through it’s use.

 

Learning Frameworks for Know the News:

 

  • Global Media Coverage:  Teachers of all education levels can visit Know the News to use comparative global news coverage in their classroom. The Remixer offers a series of clips, logos, and visuals from broadcasts around the world.  At a basic level, teachers and students can explore, together, what some countries are saying about certain topics compared to others, and what changes when some of that coverage is altered. Does the message change? Does the audience change? 
  • Comparative Media Inquiry: In the classroom, teachers can assign students to find two news clips about the same topic and compare their reporting. Was the coverage accurate? Was the same story being told? What did each outlet not say about the event? (Teachers will soon be able to upload their own clips for students to compare in detail). After an initial comparison, teachers can tell students to change the order of information, or using the text narration tool, to alter the tone of the story, and see how the message can change through restructuring the same content in different order. Then, teachers can ask students to create one story that includes the different news clips by editing the stories they compared. 
  • Global Dialog: In the classroom it is rare to have the resources in one place to show news clips from around the world. Know the News offers teachers the resources to generate global dialog in their classrooms.  Students can be assigned a specific region of the world and asked to remix news clips from that region to create a coherent story about the pressing issues/events of that area. Students can then compare their remixes to elicit dialog about television news coverage in a global sense. Teachers can use the edited works to start discussions about the forces at play in national news production. What are the interests of the country - political, social, economic, cultural - that have led to such coverage? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this coverage? How can better global dialog lead to a better understanding of how differences in reporting lead to different understandings of issues and events?
  • Frames (Point of View):  Another effective way to teach about global news is through understanding of point of view. Many factors go into the creation of news. Some are technical, some financial, while others deal with frames. All news construction is born from a point of view, a story to be told in a limited framework. The Know the News Remixer can be used to help students understand the frames often used in news reporting. Teachers can ask students to remix news clips to focus on solely political or economic aspects of a story. Students can also remix many different clips, pulling out only one frame to highlight. Remixing stories in light of frames will allow teachers to show how point of view is always a major part of any newscast.
  • Global Audiences: The Remixer can also be used in the classroom to address the issue of “the viewer”. Thus, students can be asked to create a news story for a global audience. How is “global audience” defined? What choices go into such a creation? What information is left out? What are the biggest challenges to producing this story? Teachers can then assign students to address specific audiences—the elderly, women, men, region, country, continent, etc.—and ask them to remix a news story to address that specific group. Students and teachers can then discuss the differences in news production when the audience changes, highlighting the very complex challenges of addressing global audiences.
  • Media & Representation: Often the media must represent gender, race, class, ethnicity, and so on, in any story they are telling. This also goes for the representative personality who is telling a story. How are minorities being represented in news? What techniques do TV newscasters use to represent all sides of an issue? Teachers can ask students to compare clips, and remix them into one story that represents only one race, culture, gender, etc.  Alternatively, teachers can ask students to remix a story told only by women, then one told only by men. What changed about the story? Why? How can we ensure balance and representation in news? Ask the students to find out by creating “representative” news clips themselves. (Teachers will soon be able to load their own news clips).
  • Media Restrictions: One very real problem that often eludes classroom discussions are the restriction of time & space in television newscasts. With Know the News, teachers can assign students to construct stories on certain topics that must be told told in a certain amount of time. Additionally, teachers can provide students with a fixed amount of time to complete a remix. Such classroom activities can help students better understand the time constraints on television news production.  Students should be asked how confident they are in their story based on the limits imposed on them while creating their final product.
  • What is missing? - Media analysis often focuses primarily on the content of the news story. Rarely is the question asked, what isn’t being told in this story?  The Know the News Remixer can be used in the classroom to address this question. Students can be asked to watch clips and to list what they think is missing from the story they viewed. They can then be asked to remix a story that includes the missing information: in a way, making the story more complete. Students should then be asked to consider if they could ever tell all sides of a story. If so, how? And if not, how much is enough for in-depth and clear coverage? 
  • Angle, Slant, and Style: Know the News can also be used to discuss the technicalities of assessing news coverage. Students can be asked to build remixes, or to compare coverage from news clips, based on the style of the newscasts. For example, to compare media coverage from the Middle East with that of the United States. What similarities did they notice in how the reporters tell the story? What camera angles were used? How many cutaways were there? Students should then find differences in the slant of the story. How many interviews were conducted? With whom? By whom? How does this change the message? After reviewing clips, teachers and students can create remixes that combine styles, angles, and slants to find a healthy mix of technical news aspects.
  • Accuracy in Reporting: One useful way to think of accuracy in television news is to think about sourcing. Teachers can use the Remixer in their classrooms to show students how different news outlets use different sources to tell the same story. Were the sources officials? Locals? Foreigners? How much authority did those sources have on the issue? How many sources were used and for how long? Students can view numerous examples of clips from different parts of the world using various sources for the same story. Then, they can create remixes focusing on accuracy, using a diverse array of sources. Students can also create clips that only contain one type of source–officials, “regular” people, experts. They can then compare their two remixes to say which they think is more accurate and why. They should also ponder how different sources are used in different parts of the world, and what this means to the news story at hand.

 

 

Final classroom exercises after remixes have been completed

 

  • Ethics & Editing: Once the Know the News Remixer has been used in the classroom, some reflective discussions can take place around the act of remixing news. One of the most important conversations is about the ethics behind the editorial process. Part of the key learning outcomes of this educational tool is for students to understand the implications of their choices, and the complexity involved in editorial choices.  Students should be asked to ponder the following questions when reflecting on their remixing experience:
    • Did you leave out facts, and if so, why?
    • Do you think it is ethical to remix news content?
    • What are the advantages to comparing news from around the world? 
    • What are the disadvantages of this act?
    • What are the potential harms done when news is altered?
    • How is your remixing experience different from the editorial process in a television station? How is it the same?
    • What do you think are the greatest ethical implications associated with news editing?
  • Inquiry (applicable to all possible classroom uses): Using a feature of the Know the News Remixer tool, students can insert text captions into their remixes. These captions are spaces for the students to type in content about the news they have created. Students should go back to their remixes after some discussion and insert text where they think key questions about news can be asked. The questions can deal with point of view, perspectives, ethics, angles, slants, accuracy, balance, etc. The questioning process is a key to media education, and to editing information. Students can also be asked to conduct online research and include the facts they find as text elements in their remixes. Students should be encouraged to review their remixes, or to peer-review a classmates, inserting text where relevant and necessary.