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With social media, we are continually inundated with news, pictures, graphs, memes, editorials, and blogs. In fact, the word “news” has become so generic, that it’s more important than ever that you carefully discern FACT from opinion before making judgments that impact your life, your vote, and your future. We will spend the rest of the semester discussing areas where facts and biases merge together, and how we, an educated public, can begin to identify the difference between reliable journalism and biased editorializing.

Each of you has been assigned a day this semester when you will present a current event. Simply find a current event that is interesting to you, and also one that will be relevant to your peers. It’s fine, for example, to choose a current event that focuses on sports but, again, make sure that this information will be both relevant and interesting to the class. Don’t start looking for a news item too quickly: your CURRENT event should be relevant within one week of your presentation date.

The purposes of this assignment is to (1) increase your awareness of current events, (2) (hopefully) provoke some new ideas that you can use for your final positon paper; and (3) help you critically evaluate news articles and sources of unbiased journalism.

You can earn up to 30 points on this assignment:

Presentation (10 pts): choose a news story that falls under the category of “HARD” news. You can find this online or in print, but the articles must be printed out and turned in with your write-up (see below). During your presentation, discuss the news item and provide any historical information that is relevant to a full understanding of this event. Tell us why you chose this news item, where you got the information, making sure that your resources are reliable and current. Speak loudly enough to be heard from all areas of the classroom; provide enough information to show that you have considered a variety of questions; and be prepared to answer questions from the class.

Sources (10 pts): find 2 RELIABLE sources ON THE SAME TOPIC and print both of them to be turned in with your write up. The purpose of this is to require you to search reliable sources, discerning between “junk news” and true journalism. Remember, your news sources should not be blogs or editorials, but rather unbiased information that sticks entirely to facts.

Write-up (10 pts): include a print-out of the current event, along with a 1-2 page write-up. Begin with your summary of this information. After your summary, include a paragraph explaining why this news was interesting and important to you, and why you feel it’s important for us to know, as well as what questions you have on this information. This write-up will be approximately one page minimum and formatted in MLA style.

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