Highlights for the national News Literacy conference

Here are a few highlights from today’s News Literacy:  Setting a National Agenda conference at SUNY Stony Brook:

  • News Literacy:  An overview of the News Literacy class at Stony Brook demonstrated ways teachers can show students how to analyze news coverage and judge reliable, verifiable information.
  • Ted Koppel and the News Media Panel:  This was the highlight of the day. Alexandra Wallace, senior vice president of NBC News, said journalists need to be entertaining and engaging, noting the news doesn’t have to be boring. Koppel, former host of Nightline and longtime journalist, responded that entertainment was not the job of the journalist. “We have to inform,” he said. Some things are dull, he said, but we need to know them. Surprisingly, this drew only a few claps from the audience. Koppel also talked about his concerns about journalism. “I don’t think the democraticization of news gathering is in and of itself a good thing,” he said, noting that readers can’t judge biases and where people are coming from with blogs. With the legacy media (print, broadcast), “There are people who made sure standards are met,” he said. If these standards are not met, people will dump that media outlet, he said.
  • Money, Money, Money:  Journalism job cuts and their impact on news content came up several times. Case in point:  One of the audience members asked about the lack of international coverage in broadcast news. “It’s not that we don’t want to,” Wallace said. “We can’t afford to.”
  • Arthur Sulzberger Jr., New York Times publisher:  He spoke at day’s end about the current state of The Times. He said The Times is exploring paid content options, has seen print subscriptions grow the past two years (despite the perception of the death of print) and sees no end to print publication of The Times.
  • Quote of the day:
  •                   “Cable news seems to be in a desperate rush with the obvious.”–Ted Koppel  



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