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Deputy Editor - Digital/Audience Engagement

Summer is Digital and Audience Engagement Editor at The Times. Her blog documents The Times’ and Gary Chamber of Commerce’s Community Civility Counts campaign. The idea is simple: Treat everyone with respect and dignity, even those you disagree with.

As I mentioned last week, we are so excited that Civility in the Classroom has become a full class for credit at Lighthouse College Prep Academy, the school where we piloted the program last year. 

The teacher of this class is Michael Carson. I've met with him twice and had the opportunity to watch him work this week. 

Carson is a young teacher. He's passionate about the kids and learning. The students are drawn to him and clearly see him as someone they can talk to.

I'm so excited he's leading this charge. He's the perfect leader.

The class is juniors and seniors, so a little older than we've focused on in the past.

The class started with the new semester, so they are two weeks in. So far they have been focusing on what this class is and why they are taking it (same as we did at Steel City last week).

They also are well into the news literacy part of the class. Like I mentioned, we are using the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital AgeIt was created in partnership with the News Literacy Project.

When I visited Tuesday, they were working on a lesson about images. 

The lesson plan is about the Police Officer in Ferguson photo (attached) that ran on the St. Luis Dispatch's front page during the Michael Brown protests. 

The students are asked about the photo. How does it make them feel? What do they think is going on in this photo? Who would like this photo? Who wouldn't?

It produced a fantastic discussion in the class about the responsibility newspapers have to represent the whole truth, and not just focus on the most chaos. 

One thing I did find interesting: When the students were asked to pick a front page image of either a violent looting scene or a peaceful protest, they were split. The students who wanted the looting scene said they knew it would sell more papers and papers have to make money.

True. 

Yet, our industry has spent decades furiously protecting the editorial decisions from that way of thinking. We aren't supposed to bring that into our decisions. We are responsible to our readers only. What we print needs to be accurate and produce the least amount of harm. 

So, we are going to spend a little time next week on journalism ethics. I want to make sure this generation of leaders understands where we are coming from. We need to get the trust back, and this is a way to do that. 

I'm excited for the discussion next week. 

Thanks for reading. 

  

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