The Current Event Blogs
The Assignment: When scheduled, you will post 1 blog post consisting of at least 250 words (75 assessment of news source, 50 summary, 75 analysis, 50 opinion) plus a comment response on one peer’s blog of at least 150 words. There is a lot going on in our world, and it is important to be informed; however, we often only read news from a certain kind of source, which often skews our perspectives. Each blog will be due by the start of class on Tuesday of that week, and we will discuss them in class and digitally that week while you response (using comments on the blog) will be due by the start of class on Thursday. Each article must be current, and you must be able to account for its validity as a new source. You must be able to identify the leanings of the news source, who funds it, and why that bias matters. True story: NO NEWS IS COMPLETELY OBJECTIVE. Fact check if you are not sure. Fake news (remember the definition of Fake News is false information…not information we disagree with) is a huge societal problem, and identifying it is the first step to ending its circulation. Think about what is important about an article and assess it. Approach your analysis of the news source and the article through the engagement of ethos, pathos, and logos as well as interrogating logical fallacies. Over the course of the semester you will compose five current event blogs at 20 points per blog. Blogs are graded on completeness (word count; blog; comment),
The Purpose: The current atmosphere of our society politically, and otherwise, has called into question the validity of news and the problematic circulation of false information, logical fallacies, and scare tactics that force journalists into situations that make us, as readers, question their choices. What is news? What is ignored? Why is it ignored? Who says? What do we fixate on? What matters locally, nationally, globally? How has social media affected these things? Who is the authority? Why are we so quick to believe what we read on the internet? The circulation of false information is a huge problem; therefore, cultivating a critical eye for reading news and understanding the effects of positionality is incredibly important. Developing these awarenesses enable you to be a better contributor to society while also reinforcing the value of some of our constitutional rights and freedoms (particularly freedom of speech and the press). In addition to becoming an informed citizen that is aware of how your positions are framed and created, you are honing your analytical skills and your summarization skills within the context of an everyday writing space like a blog as well as exploring the genre conventions of that space.
*A note about positionality: All news is subjective (even when it tries to be objective). All news has a particular angle. I suggest exploring multiple news sources throughout the semester so that you have a well-rounded understanding of current events (it is kind of a big year). Part of your job as a reader and blogger is to explore these positions and assess value and validity of information (or, why everything we read on the internet is not true…facts and fact checking are important). Part of my job as your teacher is to challenge you to experience things both inside and outside of your comfort zone while helping you validate your existing positions in new ways with different kinds of information, and potentially re-position yourself (although this is never the goal). None of us in this room know everything; all of us can benefit from perspectives that are not our own.
**A note about opinions: I fully support your right to embrace your own opinions and positions. At no time will I inflict my own perspectives upon you; however, I will ask that you critically assess and consider the information that you are reading so that you are becoming critical of the information that you take in and do not simply accept information as “true” at face value. We will cover a huge range of topics—politics, race, religion, gender, athletics, etc., and we cannot expect one another to always agree, but we can expect one another to be respectful. Being asked why you think/feel/believe something is not a judgement of your intellect or your person, but a chance to understand how and why you have arrived at that position.
“It is the mark of an educated person to be able to entertain and idea without accepting it” ~Aristotle