Activity 2: Coastal Journalism Projects
Materials & Setup
In Advance Research Preparations
At Least One Class Period in Advance
- At the end of Activity #1 “Coastal Issues in the News,” have the class identify a few issues from their research they want to investigate further. Divide the class into teams of four to six students, with each team selecting a different issue to research.
- As part of their investigations, team members are responsible for tracking newspapers, television, and radio for news related to the issue from this class period throughout the remainder of the time devoted to this activity. Have team members divide responsibility for collecting newspaper articles or taking notes on radio or television spots from different newspapers, television stations, and radio stations. Students will share their notes and articles with others on their team, eventually including these in the “Coastal Issues in the News” portfolios begun in Activity #1.
- Photocopy all of the relevant newspaper articles collected by team members for Activity #1 for each member of the appropriate Activity #2 team. Assign the task of making and distributing photocopies to team members, or make copies yourself.
Class Period One
For each student
- Student Page “Investigating Coastal Issues” (pp. 14-21)
Class Period Two (after the one- to three-week investigation period is completed)
- Student Page “What Journalists Learn” (pp. 22-25)
Class Period One:
1) Allow student teams to meet for the entire class period to devise a plan for investigating their issue further. Teams should use the Student Page “Investigating Coastal Issues” to guide their work.
2) Help students come up with schedules for their investigations. They will need to know when their investigations need to be completed, when their articles and portfolios are due, and when any interim products are due. (You may want to collect an interim progress report from each team, outlining what team members have already done and plan to do.)
3) Remind students that all of the information they collect and generate should be shared with everyone on their team and go into their portfolios. This includes interview notes and copies of correspondence. (If photocopies need to be made, again assign that task to particular students or make copies yourself.)
- Instead of having individual students keep their own portfolios and write their own articles, have each team keep a portfolio of its issue investigation.
- Have team members collaborate on writing a series of newspaper articles, with different members writing each article. In addition, some team members could serve as illustrators, photographers, or cartographers.
Interim Meetings Investigation Phase:
Student teams will need to meet periodically to share information and update their research plans. You can allocate class time for these meetings or have students meet outside of class. Depending upon the length of time you have allotted for team investigations, one to three of these interim meetings should be sufficient.
Class Period Two:
1) Student teams meet to integrate all of the information they collected about their issue. Each student will be responsible for writing a newspaper article on the issue, and this team meeting is a good opportunity for them to make sure they have the information they need from each other.
If a team is done meeting before the class is finished, individual team members can use the remaining time to begin work on their articles.
2) Ask students what they think makes a good newspaper article. Make a list on the board or overhead, and help the class narrow down this list into a brief set of criteria. (Suggested topics for the criteria include accuracy; presenting various perspectives; answering the Five Ws—who, what, where, when, and why; objectivity; and clear writing.)
3) As homework, assign students to write a 1000-1500-word article on the issue they have been investigating. Each student may use information gathered by any of the team members in writing the article. The article is to be included and handed in with the portfolio.
4) Also assign the Student Page “What Journalists Learn” as homework. (You may want to add some in-class follow-up discussion time using the questions in this student page once students have completed their articles.)
- What are some options for resolving this issue? Do you think any of them could work?
- Do you think the journalists who wrote the original articles you collected about this issue truly understood the issue when they wrote about it? Explain your answer.
- What are some of the challenges of reporting on coastal issues?
- Student Page “Investigating Coastal Issues” (team plan portion, pp. 19-21)
- Participation in group work
- Student Page “What Journalists Learn”
- “Coastal Issues in the News” portfolio, including a student-written article (Use student-generated criteria for a good newspaper article as one means of assessing articles.)
- Journal entries