Developing Media-Savvy Watan News Students

Author : Clay Jensen | Published On : 12 May 2022

Many academics likely grew up with a newspaperor at the very least, watching their parents or grandparents that read it the habit of reading newspapers every day is not something many people in our class are acquainted with. A recent study of students in the National and International Policy course at Indiana University showed that the majority of them read their news on social media, with information derived from "whatever family members and friends publish."

This isn't shocking, considering that an recent studyby the Pew Research Center found that over half of Americans receive their news on social media. Of course the feeds of social media contain content that reinforces our prejudices. Sometimes, those posts are "fake information" or exaggerations.

Faculty members across all disciplines are worried about the national political debate that seems to be moving towards personal attacks and speculation, and away genuine and civil discussion about the policy. To combat this trend, all of us who teach courses on current events should ask the students to study a daily national newspaper, spend just a few minutes each week to discussing the contents, and then test them on the major headlines in the news. This small step can make a an enormous impact on students' reading habits.

About Watan News                      has been published in the United States since 1991 by Watan News LLC, and its slogan is out of tune. Breaking news, politics, culture, art.

Centuries ago, there were many wars and conflicts. Some of these have been kept secret and some have threatened the news reporters.

After the 1990 war in Iraq, and the repercussions thereof, Nezam Mahdawi, a Palestinian journalist, decided to start his own newspaper to tell the truth to all people, without fearing any pressure from international and local governments.

After he immigrated to the USA, Nezam Mahdawi published Watan News. The USA's laws guarantee press freedom.

In March 1991, the first issue of the newspaper was published in Washington. It was funded by small advertisements from Arab shop owners.

Watan News moved to California in 1994 and became a weekly publication. It was well received by the Californian Arab immigrants. By 1995 it had been distributed throughout the United States, including New York, Chicago and Detroit.

Watan news LLC launched the first Arab news site in 1996 to encourage access to all Arab readers.

Watan News has been plagued by ads since its inception. This is due to a boycott campaign many Arab embassies took part in. The KSA banned the site in 1998 because it contained news that their press was not allowed to cover.

These factors helped us become stronger and more powerful. Watan News was published in two issues per week, electronic and print.

Watan's website still suffers from an electronic attack that aims to deactivate the site and block it.

Despite all bans, Watan's website still receives about half a million visits daily from visitors all over the globe.

A casual conversation with students indicates their awe at the amount of information available. They are also wondering what they can do to separate the fact from the fiction. With this dilemma most people have given up on being educated citizens. In a poll on the stories they remembered, many mentioned stories about scandals and natural catastrophes. These dramatic stories attract attention but are often of no lasting importance for policy.

A literature search about using news stories in the classroom of a college turns up years of research on innovative ways to get students to keep up with the latest news. These range from the old "clipping files" to requiring students keep a blog about news. A lot concepts are enthralling but may not be feasible for us who have huge class sizes, in addition to other subjects that students need to be able to master in their course.

And the ever-changing characteristics of media technology makes the job difficult to faculty. How do we comprehend and master such a complicated and constantly changing subject? What can we do to make an informed decision about what to read in an environment that shifts not only per day but also every minute?

If teachers don't define the need to read news headlines in a clear manner most students will quit before even beginning. What headlines should they read? The mere act of identifying a news source can leave students asking how they can monitor a continuously changing websites.

This issue can be simple to fix; many national newspapers provide a free every day headline service. Faculty members can choose one of them , and build tests and quizzes on a basic understanding of the headlines. If the goal is simple and achievable and achievable, more students will try the test. Students who prefer to read their news on their smartphones can download apps to keep track of the latest news headlines.

A New Approach to Teaching

The reading of a national newspaper has been a requirement for classes in my political science introductory classes. I've always included questions on the news of the day on exams and tests. However, current events-related questions were more frequently left off exams and tests, and I began to think that my method of teachingwhich required reading wasn't delivering the desired outcome for learning which was a habit of reading the news. In the summer of 2016 I decided to discover the reason.

I went through some soul-searching and looked at the requirements of the course. Utilizing the backward-looking principles of the course's design I examined my goal of learning -an ongoing habit of reading and following high-quality news channels and then I asked myself what the students should be able do in order to attain that learning goal. I identified three fundamental steps:

  • Students should learn about reliable sources of information. Students should learn the characteristics of a quality news report like. Surveys of students indicate that with time, they'll be able to appreciate the value of this information. This is because the journalists who work for well-known national newspapers maintain an extremely high standard of quality. Their articles are accompanied by an understanding of the situation and are meticulously scrutinized for accuracy. The act of reading this type of content often can be addictive.

After a year of reading a newspaper from the national press several students have decided that reading this newspaper, and not their Facebook feed is the most effective method of keeping up with the latest news. One student said, "I now get my news mostly through The New York Times daily news briefing rather than social media. I've been able to develop this habit due to the fact that it seems that the NYT is really an excellent news source."

  • Students should discover which stories to learn to. My students reported that "lack of time" is the most important reason why they don't keep up with current events. The ability to read selectively is one that they must improve. It's not just the case that The New York Times has a number of articles that aren't hard news. The majority of front-page stories provide analysis , and sometimes even speculation on what could occur, and a large portion of them are human-interest stories covering the lives of people living in the midst of dramatic natural or political disasters or exploring the personalities who are involved in political debates. While these stories are informative in background, those seeking more basic information about issues in the policy arena will be more interested in those stories that cover hard news.
  • Students should learn to read news articles daily. Students are strategic learners as well as rational actors that look for the path with the least resistance. In the case of many students in my class, this means delaying any study of news stories until the evening prior to the test. The result of my class was that the test questions about current events were frequently missed. Additionally, I wasn't attaining my learning objectives as students weren't not getting into the habit of keeping up with the latest national news on an ongoing on a regular basis.

Being aware that active learning can engage students at higher levels of cognition , and transforms their attitudes towards the learning environment I realized that the most crucial option I could take is to get students involved in small-group discussions about the news stories they had to read. Furthermore, I could utilize several of those activities in groups to provide students with knowledge of how to learn to read news stories in a selective manner.

In the fall of 2017 the students in my class were given short teams of assignments on recent events. The assignments were all completed in no longer than 10 minutes and I graded them using an easy scale as part of the class assignments during the day. The first day of class I set up students in pairs with finding out how they could access The New York Times on our library's website and also to determine significant stories from the day based on predetermined guidelines that I set out. I also advised students to sign up to an account with the New York Timesemail service. This was the first step in making students aware that they do not have to read every article that appeared in The New York Timesand to encourage them to begin to read more selectively.

The assignments also included the comparison of coverage across different news outlets, answering specific questions regarding major news headlines or even writing up a news event test on their own. Students were required to spend an hour of class time pondering the news has led to significant improvements in their performance.

My students' surveys show significant changes in information consumption habits throughout the course of one semester. Although nearly half were getting their news on social media in the beginning of the term, this percentage was down 17 percent at the end of the semester. Students also claimed that they observed a significant change in their personal routines. 70% of those polled said they read news more often at the conclusion of the semester. 80 percent reported that they'd continue to do so until the end of the semester. Students reported that they felt their own value in staying up-to-date on current events.

One student explained the importance in a routine news-reading habit in this manner: "The difference in how I read news today is that prior to this, I checked news sources every now and then and since I'm always keeping up, I notice patterns and changes that I had never anticipated." Another said, "I now focus more on the news and what's happening within my own area. I've started to actually go through sources of news to enjoy myself. The class has made me want to do so, and now I find it essential as well as enjoyable."

In a time where many academics are asking questions over the political climate in our country it is time to return to the basics in the classroom. By dedicating just a few minutes each weekly to the current news, and testing students on their understanding can be a major impact.