Teach Students to Be Part of the Solution with Student Reporting Labs

The Student Reporting Labs of PBS Newshour has been going strong for years. Now is educators’ chance to usher in a new era of reporting.

Journalism needs us now more that ever. With the blistering attack that the media is getting from the left and the right, whether it’s the non-stop sputtering of Hillary’s emails, or Sean Spicer unloading “alternative facts” in a White House press briefing, the role of the journalist has never been more in question. At the same time, good journalists have also never been more necessary. We need people who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions, learn how read between the lines, and get to the heart of a story.

We need good journalists.

Image via NBCnews.com

On my wish list would be scientifically literate journalists, ones that can look at facts, data, can make inferences, then report on those facts. Ones who don’t just take people at their word, but do their research, look at pictures, data, interviews, and look for evidence to back up their facts. Diligence.

In order to get there, though, we need teachers who can dedicate their classrooms to making journalism a priority. Lucky for us, PBS Newshour has an entire curriculum that is available online. It’s a program called Student Reporting Labs, and their entire curriculum is available right here.

As an educator, our only real basic tool are facts and knowledge. The best thing we can do is prepare our students to scrutinize and question everything they read, hear, and see. Albert Einstein said, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Being skeptical, is a gift that we should bestow on all of our students. Let’s teach them to question and find the truth through research and by asking tough questions.

With the Reporting Labs program, students all over the country are being introduced to hard-hitting audio/visual journalism skills. As part of the program, SRL will connect a school with a local PBS affiliate, so that the school and students might have the opportunity for mentorship and for their work to be part of the larger journalistic community. Students in this program make stuff that they can use in their portfolio for future college acceptance.

Even if you’re not part of the SRL program, educators can just use their curriculum right now. It’s available for any teacher for free. Will you inspire the next Walter Cronkite or Gwen Ifill? Our journalism problem isn’t going to go away by hoping that another teacher will cover this stuff.

We just might have to do this ourselves.

See what SRL is all about right here:

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