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Habits of Mind
Unit 3







Watch or read a story in the news at, and answer the following questions:


a.  What gatekeepers can you think of that would have been involved in the process of creating this story and getting it to audiences?  At what points might they have introduced filters?  (For example, a source might play the role of gatekeeper when she decides whether to speak to a reporter, but also when she decides what and how much to tell the reporter; a producer or editor might be gatekeeping when assigning the story in the first place, but also when deciding whether to run the story, etc.)


b.  In what ways is the story more relevant and useful because of any of these gatekeeping decisions?


c.  What can you think of that might have been left out because of gatekeeping decisions, that you would have liked to know?




Read the following piece about gatekeeping that was done by both news agencies and media such as YouTube and Twitter when Islamic State group terrorists posted videos of beheadings:  "The ethics of banning a brutal beheading video" (from Lauren C. Williams at ThinkProgress).


Write a 250- to 400-word discussion that considers both the advantages and risks of the media’s gatekeeping role in this situation.




Read Vanity Fair’s “How the Web was won:  An oral history of the Internet.”  Write a 250- to 400-word discussion about the ideas and context of the birth of the Internet, and how that influenced what it became.


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