News Media Bias Essay

Holding up an actual print newspaper, I showed my class how simple it is to tell the difference in the intention of articles in print as opposed to online.

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Today, we should all be more critical of our information sources, but it doesn’t seem we are, especially when we agree with them.

I wondered if my students would be able to identify the different types of articles in my own social media feeds, so I made a Google form survey as a pretest.

The author argues that in order to create a more cohesive, compassionate, and educated society, students must be taught to use objective, reliable sources in studying multiple perspectives on an issue.

Students are often asked to argue their opinion in school, but far too seldom are they asked to find consensus with their peers.

While there’s nothing innately wrong with a persuasive assignment, if persuasion is all we teach, we neglect the art of reading informational texts with an open, yet evaluative mind.

Instead, we encourage selective, biased reading to support personal opinion — which for teenagers is not yet fully formed.Looking for an answer to these problems, I changed the assignment to include instruction on media literacy and the objective of the essay to present two main sides of an issue.In addition to requiring that varying perspectives be represented, I asked my students to search for consensus among viewpoints and to draw their own conclusions based on their research.Their results were incredibly poor before they received any instruction. Media literacy is often glanced over in schools, where You Tube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter (the main social media outlets that teens visit) are blocked by many school servers.It’s difficult to teach media literacy when its primary texts are banned in the classroom.If it all looks the same to adults, how do these articles appear to my freshman English students, many of whom have never held an actual newspaper, let alone read one?Teens are not only getting their news from social media, they are forming opinions for classwork there, too.After annually assigning a five-page persuasive research paper to my freshman English students for the past 15 years, I recently noticed a change in their approaches to writing and research.Increasingly, their arguments became filled with fallacies, their viewpoints were more extreme, and their sources included highly-biased articles, as well as websites that were not credible.As my students pictured me with ‘80s hair and acid-washed jeans, I told them bias was not as much of an issue 30 years ago because newspaper reporters and television journalists were held accountable to be objective by a mainstream audience and advertisers.We had three major news networks that people trusted, where newscasters tried to be seen as impartial.

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