Links Dealing With Word Choice
This page discusses media bias and points out various types of bias. One portion of this page is particularly useful when thinking about word choice. The section describes how language is inherently not neutral. It identifies and attempts to refute common conceptions of language use in journalism.
Key "Violations of Media Objectivity" are listed within this page. The site seems to try and promote a particular viewpoint; however, it is useful in that the examples and the reasoning behind these examples are well written and explained. The site also gives a definition of media bias.
Links Dealing With Omission
Although this site is obviously liberal, it provides some very useful and informative examples on omission in the media. The page linked to above takes several news stories and describes "what gets covered" and "what gets neglected."
This page displays an article written about the "sins of omission." The article states that much of what is omitted in the news today is the result of self-censorship on the part of the journalist and/or it's respective news source. The article argues that this censorship stems from either a desire not to speak out against the media entities that support the publication or broadcasting of the specific news source or is the result of "the media's love affair with sensationalism."
Links Dealing With Limiting Debate
This page comes from the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting site. The site is a good resource in general for information regarding media bias. The section linked to above is particularly helpful in providing clear and insightful descriptions of the influence of the government, business entities, and political groups on the news.
The web address above links to a comprehensive report on the complex relationship between the interests of the audience, businesses, and journalistic standards when reporting the news. The report gives statistical information on such things as the public and private pressures of reporting the news. The report also provides key findings, including how most journalists feel that they are "overly focused on internal dynamics, too often competing with each other and writing more for colleagues than consumers."
Links Dealing With Story Framing
This site is dedicated to providing resources for and educating journalists. It is an extremely useful site to learning about journalism from the journalist’s perspective. The article linked to talks specifically about the various ways to frame a news story. It identifies “thirteen possible frames” and mentions how the focus of each frame differs.
This is a very interesting site that allows you to “create your own newspaper.” Essentially, the site allows you to frame news stories to your preference. You can choose the page layout and headline font and style for your personal newspaper. It makes it possible to see just how much the framing of news stories effects the way we read it.
Links Dealing With Sources
This page supplies links to databases in which Expert sources can be found. It is a resource for journalists but could also be useful in finding individuals to verify facts that appear in new sources. This site is affiliated with the Columbia Journalism Review and is quite comprehensive.
The Society of Professional Journalists formed a database of potential expert sources on a variety of topics. The database, called the "Rainbow Sourcebook," allows individuals to search through a wide-range of sources by topic, location, and personal information. The database also provides brief summaries of the experts that include their views on specific issues.
The page of the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting linked to above gives information on one organization’s study results concerning the television program Nightline’s guest list. Upon examining the background and political stances of Nightline guests over a forty- month period the study concludes that Nightline is a largely conservative program. It is an interesting study that shows how the sources information comes from helps to shape the news we receive.
Links Dealing With Geography
This page provides a comprehensive list of all the major newspaper, magazine, and television sources in the United States divided by State. A select group of major International news sources are listed as well.
The article linked to above discusses the lack of commentary by West Coast experts in prominent media sources. The writer of the article argues that this is due to the geographical locations of many of the main television news sources. As a result, the author argues that their is a geographical bias inherent in mainstream televison news programs.
Links Dealing With Objectivity
The article linked to above discuses a claim made that Tom Brokaw favored Al Gore vs. George Bush in the 2000 Presidential Campaign. One particularly interesting aspect of this article is a section on a Gallop Poll that concludes that Democrats are less likely to see bias in the new. The Poll also states that Republicans in general have a more negative view of the media.
This page displays a report titled "Does TV Have a Liberal Bias?" The report seems to conclude that TV does not in fact have a liberal bias and instead leans more toward conservative viewpoints. The site provides statistical and literary evidence for its assertions.
This site explores the field of journalism through research. It also provides tools and resources for journalists and those interested in the news. The article linked to above talks about the supposed "lost meaning of objectivity" in journalism. It gives a brief history and examination of the word and concept of "objectivity" in journalism.
Links Dealing With Institutional Affiliations
The purpose of the Columbia Journalism Review is to monitor all forms of media and provide important information dealing with the political, economic, legal, etc. aspects of the news. This site is updated regularly and lists all the affiliates of the major media companies.
This page includes an illustrative chart that depicts possible connections between corporate affiliations among various companies (Note: This site does not prove that the connections they make are true beyond a doubt, but it simply helps to show possible relationships between companies and individuals).
This page provides a long list of articles about media ownership. The site is slanted toward favoring more restrictions on media entities. The site believes media diversity is at risk due to the FCC’s media policies. It serves as a good resource to explore one side of the debate over how much U.S. media ownership should be regulated.
The Federal Communications Commission site has a large portion dedicated to the explanation of its media goals. The site provides information on current FCC proceedings involving media entities and is a good source for learning more about the FCC’s decisions to implement various media policies with the United States.
This portion of the AdAge site includes important statistical information dealing with United States media companies and marketers/advertisers. The site provides circulation, linage, and ad revenue rankings for prominent media companies throughout the United States. Also, the site gives Ad spending estimates that may prove useful when examining the influence of advertisers on the news reported.
A somewhat comprehensive list of liberal media sources is displayed on this page. The sources are limited to the print medium and they are divided into three major categories: Really Liberal, Leaning to the Left, and Mushily Moderate but Still Barely Liberal.
This site specifically targets conservatives. On the links page linked to above is a list of conservative news sites, conservative news magazines, and conservative organizations in general. The site also lists conservative Internet radio shows and Christian news sources and organizations.
Links Dealing With the Medium
The page linked to above displays the results of a survey taken on “Public Perceptions of the Media.” The survey results include information on how believable various sources of media are. It also rates the quality of the reporting and reports on how many people obtain information from the various sources.
This is a study done at the University of Miami with empirical data delving into the question of reliability of various mediums of information, specifically television, newspapers, and websites. Its findings are based on a telephone survey of approximately 500 people, and from these findings come some interesting conclusions.
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Links Dealing With Lesson Plans
The New York Times learning network provides a wealth of information for teaches, students, and parents looking for new approaches to learning linked to some rich resources. One of the many features of the learning network is a thoughtfully approached lesson plan archive. The lesson plans are searchable by topic as well as by standards, a feature not common to many plan archives. A majority of the lesson plans incorporate actual news and opinion texts from the pages of the New York Times and other major news sources, and the archive is updated daily offering a fresh lesson plan each morning.
The archive lists several lesson plans that could easily be incorporated into a unit focused on better understanding the news media, and a few focus directly on news bias. One such plan that would certainly help learners grapple with the issue of news bias is the “Supplementary Angles” lesson plan designed by Kama Einhorn, a frequent contributor to the learning network. The framework for this lesson plan has learners exploring journalistic angles in response to highly publicized news stories. The framework can be utilized to work with virtually any widely-covered news event, but this particular framework is set up to analyze the reporting of the crash of a Concorde jet in Paris. All in all this is an overwhelmingly useful resource that is both well designed and well maintained.
The Media Awareness Network website is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of media education and Internet literacy resources, "MNet’s work is based on the belief that to be functionally literate in the world today – to be able to "read" the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us daily – young people need critical thinking skills" (MNet 2003).
MNet focuses its efforts on equipping adults with information and tools to help young people to understand how the media work, how the media may affect their lifestyle choices and the extent to which they, as consumers and citizens, are being well informed. MNet also provides reference materials for use by adults and youth alike in examining media issues from a variety of perspectives. There is an extensive catalog of lesson plans and other resources for educators to utilize. I like this site because it provides a very broad range of resources under the umbrella of a common goal; to make people aware of the how important it is to be critically literate.
National Geographic Xpeditions offers a wide variety of educational resources including an archive of lesson plans that focus on standards related to geography and international affairs. Among the many lesson plans one in particular offers an interesting approach to the issue of news bias. The lesson, “Reading Between the Lines” brings a global perspective to evaluating news stories and sources.
One of the main objectives of the activity is to develop a clear sense of what words like “bias” and “objectivity” imply in light of the proliferation of news media. This activity hopes to highlight how different sources often report on the same general topic in vastly different ways. A feature unique to this framework is a continual stress upon an understanding of the geographical issues that might influence how news is reported. Learners are encouraged to recognize multiple perspectives and entertain ideas from a variety of sources.
Links Dealing With Additional Educational Resources
The Pew Research Center is an independent opinion research group focused on studying public attitudes toward the media, political issues, and public policy issues. The Pew Center administers several regular national surveys that measure public attentiveness to major news stories, and perform extensive polling that examines trends in values as well as fundamental political and social attitudes.
The Center's proposed aim is to serve as a forum for ideas on the media and public policy through public opinion research serving as an important information resource for political leaders, journalists, scholars, and public interest organizations. Some areas of focus include:
- The People & The Press - explores public attitudes about the credibility, social value and salience
of the news media.
- The People, The Press & Politics - features a typology which divides the American electorate into
distinct voting groups and identifies the basic values and attitudes that animate political behavior.
- The News Interest Index - measures on a regular basis how closely the public follows the major news stories and links this to views about politics and policy issues.
- America's Place in the World - a series of in-depth surveys and analyses of the public and opinion leaders on international policy in the post-Cold War era.
- Media Use - major surveys that measure the public's use of, and attitudes toward, the Internet and traditional news outlets (Pew Research Center 2003)
Slate Magazine is an on-line publication affiliated with MSNBC. It provides a look into how a variety of news sources are tackling coverage of particular events and offers a forum for public submission of articles. The website has a variety of features including opportunities to select the content you want to appear as well as options to view Slate on a palm device.
An aspect of this publication I found particularly interesting was its’ broad-ranging archive of political cartoons. The cartoons were archived by date of appearance as well as by topic, and were full of examples of commentary on news bias. The greatest thing about the archive is that it is full of cartoons from international publications. Also, there is a separate section for teachers, which offers lesson frameworks incorporating political cartoons.