News Survey Assignment

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News Survey Assignment

Reporting Students Get All Mathy
Assignment causes stress, excitement
by Sheeza Righting

Your group’s job is to find 10 people in your neighborhood or your UO area (preferably five men and five women, of different ages, definitely not all of the same racial or ethnic background) and to interview them about their attitudes towards journalism (“news survey”). As usual, they may not be involved with the SOJC, and they may not be your friends.

Feel free to introduce yourself with, “My insane Reporting professors are making me do this for class! Help!” Be sure to get their names (LAST NAMES included, because you’re going to need them if you quote or paraphrase the person). If they’re UO students, get their majors.

Use the forms to keep track of people’s answers (they will be easier to collate). Be sure to be polite and to thank the person for her time at the end of the interview. After all, he’s taking free time to help you! In addition, make absolutely sure that people know you are going to post this to the class site eventually.

After you do this, get together as a group and collate your responses (How many of the 10 read newspapers at all? What percentage gets most information from TV news? Etc.). Then each of you needs to write a lede graf of 25-30 words and a nut graf that establishes the background of the story (about 50-80 words).

Email those ledes/nut grafs to Alice Tallmadge (University group) or Suzi Steffen (Springfield group) by 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 14. We will get ledes/nut grafs back to you by Sunday early afternoon. You will then write a story (total 400-600 words) that explains to readers what your survey says about attitudes toward journalism.

The final story is due on J361NeighborhoodNews by class time on Monday, April 16. Allow time to help look at and copy-edit the work of others in your group.

#J361NN News Survey Sheet (10 total for your group)

Interviewee first AND last names:

1. Do you think news stories usually get the facts right?

2. Do you read newspapers in print? Which one or ones?

3. Do you watch TV news? Which shows/stations?

4. What print magazines do you read or look at?

5. What news sites do you look at online?

6. Which of these people do you consider to be a journalist: Jon Stewart? Matt Lauer? Rachel Maddow? Ann Curry? (Why or why not?)

7. How many hours a day do you spend online? What about reading print — newspapers, magazines, books?

8. Do you use social media like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.? Do you get any of your news from social media sites?

9. If you read conflicting articles about the police and UO students, would you be more likely to believe an article in the Oregon Daily Emerald or in the Eugene Register-Guard? Why?

10. In general, the media are biased in favor of
a. Conservatives
b. Liberals
c. Neither
d. Other (specific answer welcome here)

About Suzi Steffen

Suzi Steffen teaches, writes, edits, reviews and rides (an adult tricycle named Momo) in Eugene, Oregon. For many years, she taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication. As of fall 2015, she's teaching in Oregon State's New Media and Communications program. Suzi also edits Lane Monthly and works as an arts journalist across the state and country. Email her at suzisteffen at gmail dot com; find her on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for more info; and check out Lane Monthly in print around Lane County and online at lanemonthly.com.
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