ERIC Number: ED349588
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Aug-9
Reference Count: N/A
Handling News Media: Johnson and Dorman's Bag of Tricks.
Johnson, Ralph H.; Dorman, William A.
What passes for considered judgment in public discourse today is often little more than "unearned opinion"--the received opinion offered by others who have the power to shape the news. So students must develop consistent intellectual standards for routinely evaluating the news media which so frequently provide the empirical stuff about which they reason. A general education course on Critical Thinking and the Mass Media is based on a theoretical framework which enables teachers and students to make coherent sense of the news. First, the course demonstrates the media's power of representation and makes the point that media "manufacture" meaning, rather than simply serving as a neutral conveyor belt for information. Frame analysis, or the way in which a news event is represented, is emphasized in the course via ongoing activities. A semester-long project, carried out in groups, and involving a focus on a single contemporary issue, makes frame analysis a daily concern and demands that students find information on social issues about which they may already have formed strong opinions, but not on the basis of independent inquiry. The structure of the media industry deserves attention early in the semester, so students can understand how news has increasingly become a commodity produced for profit. Simple content analyses of major news industry publications, or of alternative mass media (sometimes in periodicals of opposed viewpoints), also can prove valuable. By developing a theoretical model, teachers can teach a characteristic mode of inquiry to students, the aim of which is not simply critical awareness and understanding, but critical autonomy. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A