So many terrible wonderful stories

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As we explore political commentary in my media class, I ask my students to have a daily diet of news. NPR, BBC, HuffPo, conservative talk radio, NYT, Esquire politics blog. As long as it is news. I want them to read, absorb, challenge, gain passion.  I hope this becomes a lifelong habit, exploring the world.

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We will explore “the fictional current that flows beneath the stream of reality.”
-Gay Talese
In order to discover that fictional current, we need to seek out competing opinions…but first, we need to find a story, just one, that will create enough passion to want to seek out more.
As I went around the classroom, asking what news the students had discovered, I was met with a few tidbits.  Certainly, the meteor and the Pope were discussed. And, a few students found some off-the-beaten-path-news.  We had a small impassioned discussion about recent comments made by an Alabama representative.  The class was engaged… but not on fire.
Cut to a peer review.  As students broke into pairs to review their recent community narratives, one student came over to my desk, laptop open, clearly excited.  She showed me a story, and we scrolled to the comments.  There was an air of can-you-believe-this in her tone, and then she said something that every professor of media longs to hear.
“There are so many wonderful, terrible statements in the news today.  I had a hard time picking just one.”
There. Engaged. Passionate.  Ready to write.
So, my assignment for Thursday was for all of my students to arrive
having found “wonderful, terrible” stories.
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