Quebec Competencies Chart - You Be the Editor

Author: Adapted, with permission, from an article written by Gordon Sanderson, Reader’s Advocate for The London Free Press.
Level: Secondary Cycle One and Two
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Lesson Link: You Be the Editor

Description: This lesson is based on an article, which ran in the January 21, 1995 issue of the London Free Press. In the article, readers were asked to “play editor,” by responding to cases based on real news events. The Free Press had an overwhelming response to their call for participants, which resulted in a follow-up article called “You were the Editor.” In this lesson, students will become aware of the editorial decisions that have to be made by assuming the role of a newspaper editor who must decide what information to report, and what information to withhold in a series of prospective news stories. Once students have made their decisions, they shall see what the real editors decided in each case.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To solve problems
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy

This lesson satisfies the following English Language Arts Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

COMPETENCY 2 Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts

Constructing a Reading of a Text

  • Focuses on the relationship between self as reader and the text to construct an interpretive reading
  • Activates relevant prior personal knowledge and experience to make sense of a text which is frequently expressed in text-to-self connections, text-to-world connections, text-to-text connections
  • Asks questions of self, writers(s) and text(s) as s/he reads to clarify and focus reading
  • Determines the most important ideas/messages/themes in a text
  • Draws inferences from a text
  • Retells or synthesizes what s/he has read, e.g. attends to the most important information and the quality of the synthesis itself to better understand the text

Reader, Text, Context

Draws inferences about the view of the world presented in a text

  • Identifies the characteristics of the writer/producer and evaluates how these influence meaning, i.e. how stance, socio-cultural context, values and/or beliefs shape the world of the text
  • Explores how power relationships are constructed in the text
  • Examines how language (word, sound and image) is shaped to present ideas and information
  • Makes connections between the depiction of different groups in texts and the context or setting of a text

Justifies her/his interpretation(s) of texts on the basis of own fluency as a reader

  • Evaluates the way specific codes and conventions of a spoken/written/media text are employed to have an impact upon the assumptions, actions, values and beliefs of readers:
    • codes and conventions of a specific genre that are employed to have an impact on readers in general or on a target audience in particular
    • mode(s) of representation (sound, word and image) that influence the message(s)/meaning(s) of a text and how these reveal the intention(s) of the writer/producer(s)
    • linguistic and textual features that situate or position the reader, e.g. connotations and denotations, stereotypes and bias, aspects of characterization and setting that evoke a specific emotion or response, appeals to mainstream values and beliefs
    • issues and topics that present alternative values, beliefs, lifestyles in order to evaluate meanings for self as part of a process of interpreting a text
  • Interrelates characteristics of the writer/producer(s) of a text and self as a reader:
    • evaluates a perspective or point of view and its impact on self as reader
    • analyzes the representation of different groups, including interest groups, in the press in relation to controlling ideas, opinions, main ideas

COMPETENCY 3 Produces texts for personal and social purposes

Researching as a Writer/Producer

  • Researches aspects of the media and publishing industries to best produce, market and distribute their products:
    • investigates how texts are produced and under what conditions
    • examines how a text is vetted, marketed and distributed by a producer to its target audience, e.g. how a book gets published, how a trend is created
    • analyzes the impact of media ownership and convergence

Assuming Roles as a Writer/Producer

  • Adopts a stance to a topic and audience appropriate to the genre
  • Considers who s/he represents, e.g. the beliefs and values of a company and/or an organization
  • Explores different dimensions of a character, issue

Characterizing an Audience

Investigates how different target audiences use and respond to particular texts:

  • compares and contrasts own responses, reactions and use of texts with those of peers, family, other households and more distant audiences

Analyzes characteristics of audience for own productions:

  • chooses an audience depending on context for production
  • draws on previous experience with audience
  • generalizes factors such as age, gender, cultural background, race, location, level of education
  • identifies potential barriers to communication, e.g. audiences’ level of knowledge of topic
  • analyzes the expectations of audience, e.g. the uses the audience will make of the text (for entertainment, for information, for escape), generic conventions

Public and Private Space

Examines the difference between producing texts for private and public audiences:

  • considers the uses of particular texts and whether they stay private or are published
  • questions issues of ownership, intellectual property, creative freedom, boundaries of genres
  • considers effect the medium has on a genre, e.g. reality TV’s pretence of intimacy, journalism as the arbiter of truth
  • Exploits the boundaries of public and private spaces for effect, e.g. writes a fictionalized memoir, includes gossip in news report
  • Reflects on the differences between producing texts for a private versus public audience, e.g. weighs “the public’s right to know” in journalism against a person’s right to privacy

Conducts a genre analysis:

  • compares and contrasts texts within a social function, i.e. Why do people produce them? Who has access to these texts? Do they serve the same purpose? How do they communicate the values of a community?
  • evaluates the structures, features, codes and conventions used
  • examines how language (sound, word and image) is shaped:
    • to represent and/or exclude people, events, ideas and information
    • to organize and develop ideas
    • for special effect

Applying Codes and Conventions

  • Explores the representation of gender, race, appearance, culture, social class
  • Adopts ethical standards in own productions

Media Practices

  • Examines impact of production roles on final text, e.g. editor’s decisions