Headshot of U.S. President Donald J. Trump

How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again

This is an important time to teach people what journalists do and why it matters. “The media” is much larger than “journalists devoted to the objective coverage of the news.”  If you don’t like the slant, or the shallowness, or the opportunism of the media you run across, then check out several different sources, including reputable ones with slants that differ from yours. (If nowhere on the planet can you…

C.S. Lewis: “On the Reading of Old Books”

Gearing up for teaching a new “American Lit 1776-Present” course. I’ll be at the office, sitting at my desk all day, wearing long pants instead of shorts. Not a screw gun or a stage platform or a digital camera within reach. This essay offers some well-phrased arguments for reading classic literature. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were…

Image of a trunk decorated with Virginia Tech designs and labeled the text "Just Visiting"

The Problems of Real-Time Feedback in Teaching Writing

Sometimes my students get nervous because I ask them to learn writing by, you know, writing. For some other subjects, it makes sense to ease students into the work, having them memorize facts to recall for points on multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank quizzes. But writers gotta write. That means taking risks, and occasionally stumbling. In a journalism course, of course we go over how to attribute quotes with a neutral word…

Alice E. Marwick (headsnot)

Why Do People Share Fake News? A Sociotechnical Model of Media Effects

Verrit, like Snopes, Politifact, and a host of other fact-checking sites, reflect fundamental misunderstandings about how information circulates online, what function political information plays in social contexts, and how and why people change their political opinions. Fact-checking is in many ways a response to the rapidly changing norms and practices of journalism, news gathering, and public debate. In other words, fact-checking best resembles a movement for reform within journalism, particularly in a moment…

Closeup of a person's hand pulling a book off of a shelf.

How Common Core Testing Damaged High School English Classes

Helping my students understand how my role as a college literature teacher differs from the role of a high school English teacher is a sometimes daunting task. Preparing students for a standardized reading test is completely unlike teaching them about a work of classic literature. In an English class addressing The Great Gatsby, depending on student ability and prior knowledge, the teacher might take several weeks to help the students find their…