October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.”
News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our Current Issues Series deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world today, encouraging students to consider the decisions made by policy makers and citizens in facing a changing future. We also produce Teaching With The News lessons to address situations as we see them come into the focus of the media.
For the week of National News Engagement Day, some of the Choices staff are sharing the news-related resources they use to inform and inspire their work.
Andy Blackadar, Director of Curriculum Development
My recommendation for a news-related resource:
What it is:
Johnson’s Russia List or JRL is a daily email of English language news sources on Russia. The website provides a table of contents of the daily email and selected articles, but the email provides the full text of between 10 and 50 articles daily on all aspects of Russia: including foreign and domestic policy, daily life, politics, public opinion, and culture. (Information about obtaining an email subscription is available from David Johnson <David Johnson through davidjohnson[AT]starpower.net>.)
Johnson has been putting the list together since 1996 and is based at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. During the recent crisis in Ukraine, the list has attracted criticism for including Russian news sources as well as others sympathetic to the Russian point of view. Johnson includes those sources (as he has since starting this service) to provide a voice to opinions often not found in the U.S. news media. I think that the scope of the list would be very daunting for the great majority of high school students and requires the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. On the other hand, teachers could find great content there and choose a small selection to present to students.
Why I like it and think you might find it interesting:
- If you follow Russia, it would take hours to discover all of the resources the David Johnson puts in his emails. The daily email comes with a table of contents or forty or so articles. It’s easy to scan and decide what you are interested in reading.
- In addition to many different takes on the hottest political issues of the day, there are frequently interesting articles on Russian culture, history, and society. There’s a handy dropdown menu that allows you to search the massive archives by category.
- Russian sources often have a very different take on events in Ukraine or Syria, for example. These disparate viewpoints are extremely interesting and important to consider when thinking about some these pressing foreign policy problems.
Choices Program Resource