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- Current Events
- Discuss the difference between positive, negative and neutral coverage as a class.
- Positive coverage highlights the positive things — the reasons why people should like the president and/or agree with the president’s message.
- Negative coverage is critical or highlights the negative things — the reasons why people shouldn’t like the president and/or agree with the president’s message.
- Neutral coverage neither supports nor detracts — simply presents information.
- Have students individually or in groups choose a current event/topic involving the president, such as a trip or speech, new policy/program/law, etc. Instruct them to find five stories from different sources on the selected topic. Think about using both traditional media outlets (such as a newspaper, magazines or a national nightly TV news show) and more cutting edge outlets (such as a blog or a satire news show).
- Tip: The Newseum's Today's Front Pages gallery features front pages from hundreds of U.S. and international newspapers.
- They should complete the tracking chart on the worksheet to compare how different media outlets reported the same story.
- Have students share their findings.
- Friend or Foe? worksheet (download), one per student
- Newspapers, magazines or Internet access
- Describe the overall tone of news coverage of the president. Was it generally positive, negative or neutral?
- How did tone vary by news outlet? Did it vary by topic or was it across-the-board regardless of topic?
- What elements of the news story did you use to determine its tone (headline, loaded words, photos, editorial cartoon, negative quotes, sarcasm, humor, etc.)?
- What impact could positive, negative and neutral coverage have on a president or his/her administration?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.US History.Era 10Standard 1: Recent developments in foreign policy and domestic politics Standard 2: Economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States