High school journalism lessons improve writing skills, understanding of history
- Boston high school history, government and journalism teacher David Cutler writes for Edutopia that teaching history through the lens of journalism can help expand students' understanding of the material.
- Cutler incorporates the teaching of journalism into his history classes as a way to reinforce the importance of solid information gathering, clarity and purpose in writing, and audience engagement.
- The teaching of journalism also incorporates the development of analytical skills and objectivity, and it can lead to a passion for a potential future career.
History tells the story of what happened to people in the past in the hopes that people in the present can benefit from that experience, whether it was positive or negative. Historians often use journalistic resources as source materials to learn about the past, so the connection between journalism and history is clear.
Journalism is sometimes maligned in the present day, especially as many people who bill themselves as journalists have strayed far from the true principles of journalism. The rise in citizen journalists also offers vast new frontiers for students to become engaged in the world, but also bears the danger of unleashing commentators on the world who are not adequately prepared to analyze it objectively.
However, journalists play a noble role in the world by informing the public of what they need to know and why, sometimes shaping public opinion. Whether students follow journalism as a passion or not, the need for discernment when it comes to media and the need to learn how to spot fake news has never been greater. And in the wake of fake news concerns following the 2016 election cycle, the critical thinking necessary to critically consume media in the digital age made that need Education Dive's K-12 “Obsession of the Year" for 2017.