MODULE 1 - THE MEDIA UNIVERSE
SESSION 2 : NEW MEDIAPractical activities
ACTIVITY 1 – ‘Classroom investigation’: reporting the news as a group
One or more smartphones, a room, previously prepared witness statements (text or audio), internet connection.
‘Classroom investigation’ is a game that helps students understand how news is made.
In other words, it is an immersive journalistic investigation in which students act as journalists.
- Understand the basics of professional journalism and journalists’ need for thoroughness in order ensure the information they report is correct.
- Realise the importance of critical thinking when you come across information.
- Be able to check sources more easily after experiencing some aspects of the work journalists do in this area.
Eventually, students will become used to the process and will soon do it automatically. This will help them avoid disinformation traps.
In addition to fostering teamwork, note taking, deductive reasoning, and public speaking, this activity also focusses on the work journalists do to sift through information before sharing it.
The immersive journalistic investigation comprises multiple steps:
- Students spend two hours collecting documents and witness statements.
- The instructor and other ‘accomplices’ (teachers, school or club staff, etc.) have written and/or recorded statements and documents beforehand.
- The statements and documents all cover the same event, such as a mysterious disappearance of two lion cubs from a zoo, but come from different sources, such as the zookeeper or the owner of the café across the street.
- Students compare the documents to try and understand what happened and then interview the witnesses, either in person or via chat.
- They then create a spontaneous news report in which each student acts as the journalist while another films them on a smartphone or camera.
- The videos can then be posted to the platform of your choice to highlight these issues to other students (and let students assess their performances!)
The Balkan context
For this activity, refer to the ‘Independent media’ topic sheet, which explains the global context in which Balkan countries are subjected to the spread of fake news with increasing regularity.