Out-of-class assignment: What is news?


1. “What is news?” Video lesson and worksheet

This video features major events of our time and shows how news affects nearly every aspect of our lives.

You will learn how the Newseum categorizes news stories. You will also explore your own ideas of ways to sort and process information. The Newseum is a museum in Washington, D.C. all about the history of news and media.

As you watch the video, you will learn about all the different ways to report and access news today and about the news stories that have shaped our history, or nation and our world. (Some of this you may remember from some from your personal experiences or history and science classes in college and high school.)

Before watching the video, read the viewing guide worksheet. You should also take notes during the video. Play it as many times as you’d like.

Watch the video by following this link.

Complete this viewing guide while watching.

2. Discussion questions

After watching the video and completing the viewing guide, answer the following questions.

a. Why is news sometimes called “the first rough draft of history?”

b. Are there events in this video that you recognize? Are there events in this video that you lived through? How does the fact that they occurred during your lifetime change the way you remember or feel about these stories?

c. Many of the major events in this video were represented by images. Discuss how photographs and other images used in reporting the news. How do they make a different impression than written word?


1. Create a PROFESSIONAL Twitter account

Having a professional social media account is so important for students who want to land jobs or internships in media or journalism fields. To help jumpstart your social media footprint, you are going to create a PROFESSIONAL Twitter account.

I put PROFESSIONAL in all capital letters because this account is something that you will not be afraid for future employers, internship coordinators or professors to see.

Here you will showcase your work and join online conversations. My hope is that you will continue to sue this account after this class. We will discuss how to use Twitter professionally in-depth next week.

For now, let’s get you signed up! Go to twitter.com (on desktop or mobile phone) to start your account.

A PROFESSIONAL Twitter account has…

– A headshot (If I took your photo on Monday, you have to retake it on your own or use a photo you already have. I had issues with the camera. Sorry!)

– A twesume (or Twitter Bio) — Follow these guidelines from a Poynter article!

– Make sure your Twitter handle (or Twitter name) is YOUR REAL NAME. Example: If @TaylorShaw is not available, add your middle initial or a number at the end.)

If you want to see what a professional Twitter looks like, here’s my account www.twitter.com/taylorcshaw @TaylorCShaw

2. Send two tweets each using the hashtag #ShawClass. Tell me what you’ve learned in class so far.