Course Syllabus

Teacher: Erica Ayisi 


Professional work:

Phone: 781-446-6290

Class: Orange Block Mon/Tues 8-9:15  Wed 7:50-8:10

*Times and Days are subject to change with holidays


Media Matters 2020 is a newly designed introduction to journalism course created for students to learn the history of journalism in the United States and explore how the foundations of American journalism are challenged in a youth-driven, digital consumer era.  

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Media Matters, also a prerequisite for The Bradford, the school’s newspaper.  Students will collaborate early with the editorial team of The Bradford as well as the newspapers’ advisor, Mrs. Brown. Students will provide a hands on approach for students to publish a reported form of media. 


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Media Matters will be specific in using writers/journalists of color in course readings, videos, podcasts, and other media as teaching tools and resources while examining the structure of journalism in the United States. 


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*all dates and assignments are subject to change  

Week 1&2 

Community building activities. Getting to Class. Welcome Back! 

  • Using Zoom. Using Email. Checking In. Attendance. 
  • Introductions & Icebreaker. Getting to know each other activities
  • Say it with Picture! Two truths and a Lie. 
  • Daily activity & discourse activity/What's trending in media? 

Week 2&3

Introduction to Media Matters

Finish Introductions/Canvas Check-In 

What is Media to you? 

  • InstaNews Paper-Group Activity 
  • Syllabus Review 
  • Group Activity - Woodward and Bernstein Who? Read, Research and Present! Who are these journalists are and why they are important NOW? 

Week 3&4 

Where do we get our news from and the role of a newspaper in a democracy. 

  • Learning the role of newspaper in a democracy 
  • Learning about the power of the press historically and in contemporary issues (All Presidents Men, Ida B. Wells, AP & “B” in Black Jose Ramos. Hispanic Heritage Month. NAHJ. )

Contemporary Issues ‘1619 Project under Attack’ 

Week 4&5 

The Power of the Press

  • Understanding and analyzing the influence of the press 
  • Learning the ethics of journalism 
  • Learning about the laws governing freedom of the press 
  • The Black Press and diversity in news organizations in the digital age
  • Journalism in practice: How does the youth consume journalism in Covid’s 2020 compared to news consumption a few years?  (readings/videos via Canvas/breakout sessions/discussions) 

Week 5&6

Gathering information:

    • Interview effectively
    • Note taking logging, time codes, record on Zoom and record on phone for podcast) 
    • credibility of the interviewee
  • Worthiness of secondary sources

Week 6&7

Planning your interview and story 

    • how to craft a balanced articles 
    • Prepare and pack. What to take with you on an interview and prepare questions
  • Journalism in practice: (mock interviews, audio only, with The Bradford students Interviews. To be saved for podcasts) 

Week 7, 8, 9

Students will set up, interview, and write profile reports on new teachers for the new school year. The Bradford students will take on leadership roles with this assignment. It will be published online. We will collaboratively teach how to:

  • Synthesizing information
  • how to organize large amounts of seemingly unrelated data
  • Choosing best quotes
  • how to distinguish what is important
  • Fact Checking
  • how to place what is important first
  • Peer editing
  • Bradford Guidelines/Ethics Checklist
  • Journalism in practice: Write teacher profiles during class

Week 9, 10 , 11

  • Why do we love fake news? 
  • Why is fake news so effective? 
  • how to distinguish fact from opinion
  • how to organize large amounts of seemingly unrelated data
  • Fact checking

Week 10 , 11

Analyze information by learning the following skills:

  • Why do we love fake news? 
  • Why is fake news so effective? 
  • How to distinguish fact from opinion?
    • how to distinguish what is important 
  • Fact checking

Week 11, 12

What’s your beat? Students will examine stories written by journalists of color to identify, pitch, and write niche journalism. Exploring various mediums and stories in the digital era:

  • News, breaking news, 
  • features: people, ideas, fads
  • sports stories 
  • reviews: restaurants, movies, concerts, books, shows
  • editorials and opinions
  • Underreported news
  • International news
  • Journalism in Practice: Sell it to the editor! Work with a partner to craft a pitch on a TIMELY niche story of your choice. Identify which media you would like to share this story within your pitch and explain why.

Week 11&12

  • Ethics in emerging media
  • Learning new software
  • Journalism in practice: Edit/Update/Publish Bradford student podcasts 

Week 12 & 13

  • Who’s on your team? Meet the Staff of The Bradford. 
  • working in teams 
  • honing communication and presentation skills
  • leading small group work
  • peer-editing
  • reflecting on our work


All students are budding journalists who must show in an interest in news. Students will be graded on effort with class participation within chat discussions, quality of all writing assignments, projects and presentations and other classwork and readiness in conversation.


  • Writing 50% You will do most of your writing during class time.  Occasionally, you will have to schedule an interview outside of class time for podcasts.  You will always receive feedback and have the opportunity to revise before your work is graded/published.  You must meet deadlines for interviews, revisions, and publication.



  • Classwork/Participation 30% You must be a POSITIVE, active participant in our discussions and in-class activities; while humor is appreciated, failure to treat our in-class exercises seriously is not acceptable and will result in a low participation grade.  You elected to take this course and being a serious, respectful contributor is essential. 
  • Attitude and Effort 20% This includes arriving on time, having necessary materials in class, working with integrity, conducting yourself professionally during interviews, and following school/class acceptable use policy for technology).

Course Summary:

Date Details Due