top of page
Habits of Mind
Unit 4






a.  Four candidates are running for your city council, and you interview each of them.  After you conduct the interviews, you realize the following:


The Republican has done her homework on the issues and has thoughtful replies about each, clearly stated and well explained.  Her ideas for dealing with issues in your community sound very good, and several are ideas you haven’t heard before.  She says she’s done some research about what's being done in cities your size elsewhere in the country in similar situations, and that’s where these solutions come from—revealing an impressive level of preparation for her candidacy.


The Democrat gives pat replies to your questions or evades them by returning to a point he really wants to make.  When you try again to get him to answer your questions about some of the city’s most pressing issues, you realize his understanding of several of them is very superficial. For instance, he argues that the community needs more jobs, and keeps saying that, unlike his opponents, he’ll bring more jobs to the area.  But he doesn’t actually have any specific ideas about how to make this happen, and he doesn't even realize that a local industry is about to leave, or why it might have been struggling.


The Independent candidate doesn’t have a chance of capturing more than 5 percent of the vote.  His positions are extreme, especially for your community.  After the interview, you realize there’s almost nothing you can quote because his wording is circular and repetitive, and his vocabulary is filled with bureaucratic jargon.


The Libertarian also doesn’t have a chance of capturing more than 5 percent of the vote.  He understands the issues and has especially innovative ideas for solutions, although there’s not a chance your community would agree to implement most of these.  You enjoy talking with him the most because he’s very personable.


b.  Answer the following questions:


  • Do you write a separate story about each candidate?  Why or why not?  If you do a story on each candidate, are each of these the same length?


  • How do you communicate to your audience the Democrat’s lack of knowledge—or do you? 


  • How do you communicate to your audience the Republican’s thoughtfulness, diligence and knowledge—or do you?


  • How do you deal with the Independent’s unquotable interview?


  • How do you communicate to your audience that they will probably be “wasting” their votes if they vote for the Libertarian or the Independent—or do you?


  • Is it important to communicate the Libertarian’s likeability—the sense you had that he’s especially personable?  Why or why not?




a.  List some of the lenses through which you see the world.  Try to think of at least 10.


b.  As a journalist, what are some ways you might compensate for those lenses, to make your reporting as fair as possible?  Write a 250- to 400-word discussion.




Read Chapter 2 of the original report by the Hutchins Commission, “A Free and Responsible Press.”  Write a 250- to 400-word discussion that addresses these questions:  What are the problems the commission sees with the American press at the time of the report?  In what ways do some of the same problems persist?  Have any of these problems decreased because of technological changes?  If so, what are those changes, and in what ways might the same problems continue to a lesser extent or reappear in the future?


bottom of page