Current Event September 13, 2019
Congress recently held a hearing to consider how technology companies might be endangering the news industry and threatening democracy. Some newspaper publishers argue that online platforms like Google and Facebook unfairly threaten their existence and are controlling public access to information. Some technology executives say this is not the case, suggesting that the news media are not keeping up with innovative competition. In order to resolve this issue, lawmakers have proposed a bill with bipartisan support. Listen to learn more and then debate: Are online platforms threatening democracy?
Current Event March 5, 2019
A journalist in the Philippines who has been critical of the government was recently arrested for the sixth time, raising concerns among champions of press freedom around the world. The arrest was based on false charges, and the journalist may be in danger in a country where the press has been regularly targeted by an authoritarian government. Listen to this interview with a representative of Reporters without Borders, an organization that reports on press freedom, about the risks facing journalists worldwide.
Current Event December 11, 2018
China’s presence has grown on the world stage in recent years in both business and politics. President Xi Jingping and other Chinese leaders are making efforts to influence the way that the world views their country. They have invested heavily in state-run media, which has also increased its international presence. Experts believe that this outreach is working well in spreading China’s message to the developing world, but that they are having a harder time influencing the West. Listen to hear how China is trying to shape its world image.
Current Event September 12, 2018
Shooting the cover of the September issue of Vogue magazine is often considered the grand prize of fashion photography. Twenty-three-year-old Tyler Mitchell is the first African American photographer, and one of the youngest ever, to win that prize. Listen to this interview with Mitchell, who discusses what led to this important moment in his career, how he feels about it, and his thoughts about being the first black photographer to receive this honor.
Current Event August 29, 2018
President Trump recently called the news media “the enemy of the American people.” Now, one news publication has started a movement to respond to this claim. Over 300 news publications have decided to support the effort and run editorials about the importance of a free press. Listen to learn more about one journalist’s project to defend the free press.
Current Event August 9, 2018
Newspapers and magazines around the world have reported on a stunning statistic about how many plastic straws Americans throw away every day. Unfortunately, that number isn’t quite right. As it turns out, a teenager calculated that statistic years ago. Since then, it’s spread far and wide, affecting the way we use plastic straws throughout the country.. Listen to hear the story of how a teenager changed the plastic straw debate forever.
Current Event March 8, 2018
Nellie Bly was a female reporter from Pittsburgh, PA in the late 1800s. Bly became famous for her daring reporting methods, such as pretending to be mentally ill in order to be committed to an insane asylum so she could write about the treatment of patients. Tired of writing “women’s stories” early in her career, Bly learned that she could get more attention and opportunities when she inserted herself into her stories. Listen to learn more about female pioneer Nellie Bly and her highly modern approach to journalism.
ELA High School
The story of “Romeo and Juliet” is a fictional Shakespearean tragedy about star-crossed lovers. In Afghanistan, falling in love with someone from a different background can get you killed, especially if you are a woman. A true story of love between a man and woman from different ethnic sects of Islam was reported in The New York Times. Journalists have a code that requires them to remain impartial in their work, but one reporter got involved and helped these people during their crisis. Listen to how he helped this couple avoid danger, similar to the friar and nurse who helped Romeo and Juliet.
Current Event April 27, 2017
Student reporters for a Kansas high school paper uncovered that their new principal put misleading credentials on her resume. As a result of this investigation, the principal has been forced to resign. Now, journalists around the country are praising these student reporters for their detailed and conscientious investigation. Listen to learn more about the controversy and the investigative work of these high school students.
Current Event April 18, 2017
Often, after a tragedy, rumors and false news stories about the event spread on the Internet. Many of these fake news stories promote the idea that the government is making up these events in order to advance its own secret goals. The motivation for spreading fake news ranges from real beliefs in conspiracy theories to drawing in more website traffic to undermining mainstream media for political gains. Listen to learn more about how fake news spreads and why.
Current Event February 10, 2017
If you look up “lie” in the dictionary, it says a “false statement with the intent to deceive.” At President Trump’s first speech at the CIA headquarters, he made a number of untrue claims including falsely inflated numbers of attendees at his inauguration. Journalists have struggled with how to characterize the President’s wrong facts. NPR reporters used terms like “untrue claims” and “false denials” to describe the inaccuracies in Trump’s speech rather than labeling them as lies. The reporters were criticized for not referring to these falsehoods as lies. Listen to learn how reporters are debating when to use the word lie and then debate in your classroom: What is the difference between a lie and a false statement?
Current Event January 27, 2017
A recent study tested over 7,800 teenagers on their ability to differentiate fake from real news and sponsored ads from news articles. The results showed that 80-90 percent of high school students had a difficult time judging the credibility of news. This skill is necessary to make choices about what to believe and what to share. Listen to this story to hear more about this study and what can be done to educate people about fake news and then debate with your students, how can students become prepared to spot fake news?
Current Event January 5, 2017
Fake news stories with clickable headlines that millions of people read and share have become a focus during the U.S. Presidential Election. People who run fake news sites make a lot of money from advertising. The identities of these fake news creators can be hard to track. In this story a reporter pursued one story to its creator to learn about why he started writing fake news. Listen to hear more about how untrue news goes viral, and who creates these stories.
Current Event November 23, 2016
Since Donald Trump's election victory, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out twice to address the issue of fake news. A spokesperson said Facebook is not doing business with fake news apps. These are sites that promote false and inaccurate information which then goes viral. Facebook sells ad space inside its news feed and says these outside parties are not allowed to use the ad network. However, stories make money for Facebook when they are clicked, if they happen to get posted. Google, another tech giant, said it's working on a policy to keep its ads off fake news sites. Listen to hear more about this social media controversy.
Current Event November 4, 2016
On election night in the United States, most news organizations won’t report results until the polls close. But this year, voting information may be released in real time while many people are still voting. It is commonly thought that publishing information on voting projections would change voters’ actions and possibly change the election results. Others think that voters should have the same access to information as news organizations. Listen to this story and then debate whether you think we should have real-time voting projections on election day.
Current Event May 17, 2015
An investigation in New York City has found that hundreds of nail salons are ignoring workers’ rights. Middle and upper class customers have come to expect cheap manicures and until now, no one has questioned how the price can be so low. In a year long investigation for the New York Times journalist Sarah Maslin Nir found widespread wage theft and indentured servitude in an industry that puts its workers' health on the line. The two part series, “Unvarnished”, has prompted action from consumers and the state government. Listen to hear more from the reporter about her investigation and the reaction to the story.
ELA High School
The book "Into the Wild" chronicled the journey of twenty-four year old Christopher McCandless who died in April of 1992 after attempting to survive alone and virtually unaided on a remote Alaskan hiking trail. While McCandless’ official cause of death has been recorded as starvation, author Jon Krakauer has evidence suggesting otherwise. Krakauer, who wrote "Into the Wild," has conducted extensive research on McCandless’ death even after he first published the book chronicling McCandless’ experiences. His findings have led him to believe that McCandless’ death may have been caused by the ingestion of a poisonous potato seed that is only deadly if you are malnourished. Listen to hear what evidence led Krakauer to this conclusion.
Current Event June 16, 2014
It has been 40 years since the publication of "All the President's Men" by Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The popular book was made into a movie at the same time. The authors of the book recently reflected on their reporting that revealed President Richard Nixon was trying to rig his re-election campaign. Listen to this radio story to teach your students about Watergate and its place in history.