University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
LAS 101: Global Awareness
After you have completed this assignment, you will know how to use the library and the Web to find news articles on particular issues that were published in different countries. You will also learn a critical-thinking skill: comparing and contrasting different news articles on the same general issue, to locate similarities and differences in the perspectives from which the articles were written. You will also learn to examine the types of sources journalists use for their information, and to consider how the choice of sources can help shape an article’s perspective.
Resources to help you
Completing the three Global News VILLAGE online learning modules will help you successfully complete this assignment.
1. Find 5 news articles (or transcripts) on an issue.
In teams of about five, choose an issue from the list provided for your Global Studies course. Each member of the team will find a news article (or broadcast transcript) on that issue. Make sure the five (or so) articles gathered by your team were published in at least three different countries. Do not use articles published in the U.S. Articles cannot be more than a year old – they must have been published within the twelve months prior to completing the assignment.
Each of you will print out the article you found, write your name at the top, and bring it to class to hand in.
The articles should be news articles, written by journalists for publication in newspapers or on news websites (not other types of websites like blogs). They may also be transcripts of news stories that were broadcast on television or radio.
Tip: Use the electronic library databases and Web resources introduced in the GlobalNewsVILLAGE, module 2, to find these articles. Do not do a regular Google search, but you are free to use Google News, which is covered in the module.
Make sure the articles were each originally published or broadcast in at least three different countries. It will be easier to do the assignment if you do not choose the countries ahead of time, but instead do a search on the issue and then see which countries are represented in your search results. (Not every issue is regularly covered in newspapers in every country.)
Note about locating the country of origin: The place of publication (the country of origin) of an article is generally where the news company that reported the story has its main headquarters. Do not rely on an article’s dateline (the city indicated right at the beginning of a news article, often immediately before a date) to determine its country of origin: this is where the story was reported from, not where it was published. Most news agencies (i.e. wire services) are based on a particular country – consider the country of origin to be where the service is headquartered. (The main exception to this is Inter-Press service (IPS), which is an international news agency. You can use an IPS article as one of your sources and list the country of origin as “international.”)
Many articles from other countries are supplied to library databases from the BBC Monitoring Service, which does no reporting of its own but collects articles from around the world and translates them into English (if they are originally in another language.) For these articles, there will be an indication of which newspaper, website, radio station, etc., was the original source of the article, and in which country it is located. This would be the country of origin.
Tip: In the three Global News VILLAGE modules there is further explanation of how to find an article’s country of origin.
2. Write up a report that has three main parts: I. Overview of the issue; II. Citations and summaries of the articles; and III. Analysis/Questions.
I. Overview of the Issue: State the issue you’re researching, providing a definition or a brief explanation of it (and please indicate where you got this information). Then write a sentence or two about how it relates to what you’re learning in your Global Studies course.
II.Citations and Summaries: Please do the following for each article:
A. Compare and contrast the perspectives on the issue that are reflected in the five articles. In other words: How are the articles different or similar in terms of how they present the issue? Which aspects of the issue are considered important, unimportant, or not addressed at all in the different articles? (200-300 words).
B. Following up on your answer to A above, discuss some of the factors that may have shaped these perspectives: How do you think the sources cited in the various articles may have influenced the perspectives from which they represent the issue? Do the sections of the newspapers in which they were published, or anything else, provide clues about the audience(s) that might be targeted by the different articles? Can you think of any relevant perspectives that may be left out of all of these articles? (200-300 words).
C. Write at least two questions that were prompted by reading these articles. They can be questions to which you have found the answers, or things you’re still wondering about. Was there anything that was confusing because you didn’t have the background to understand it? If any of the articles were translated from their original language, do you think anything was “lost in translation”? Also indicate where you might be able to find out more information to answer your questions (besides doing a general Web search). (200-300 words).
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