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1 TEACHER NOTES: GEN Z COMPETITION Terms 2-3,

2 2

3 CONTENTS CONTENTS... 3 INTRODUCTION... 4 ORDER THE WEST FOR YOUR CLASS... 5 WA CURRICULUM LINKS... 6 The Arts: Media Arts... 6 English v WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION (WACE) LINKS... 6 OPINION... 7 Introduction... 7 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR... 8 Introduction... 8 Types of letters... 8 Structure... 8 Why write a letter?... 8 Tips and hints... 8 EDITORIAL CARTOONS... 9 Introduction... 9 Facts about editorial cartoons... 9 Cartoon checklist... 9 Tools used by cartoonists... 9 A laugh a day with Dean Alston Resources Appendix 1 - Student Activities OPINION student notes OPINION student notes OPINION student notes OPINION student notes LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes EDITORIAL CARTOONS student notes EDITORIAL CARTOONS student notes Media Education / The West Australian

4 INTRODUCTION GEN Z is a special project celebrating the youth of our State by giving them the opportunity to be part of a special 12-student panel advising and directing the news coverage in The West Australian during Children s Week in October. The GEN Z Project gives all West Australian secondary students the opportunity to have their say and express their thoughts on current issues in the form of: an opinion piece a letter to the editor an editorial cartoon. By participating in the GEN Z project, student will explore, view, analyse and participate in media culture while acquiring the skills to write editorial opinion pieces, letters to the editor on a topic that stirs the emotions or create their own visual artwork in the form of an opinion cartoon for possible publication in The West Australian. All work must be the student s own work, though help can be given just as it would be with regular class work.. 4

5 ORDER THE WEST FOR YOUR CLASS Your students understanding of print journalism and your classroom program will be enhanced by allowing students to use the newspaper to access, cut, collect, sort, compare, interpret and analyse the articles contained within. Furthermore, the newspapers are a great way to enable you and your class to follow current events, and to support teaching and learning related to the WA Curriculum: Media Arts. The Media Education team has a range of extremely affordable offers for schools, enabling you to receive copies of The West Australian for your class. You can place an order to receive a class set* delivered to your school at these low flat-rates! Frequency Duration Cost single day any day/s $10 per day daily (M-F) any week/s $20 per week one day every week any school term/s $40 per term one day every week current school year $80 per year daily (M-F) any school term/s $150 per term daily (M-F) current school year $350 per year Please contact Media Education by at or telephone for further information. *Conditions apply. A class set is up to 35 copies (minimum quantities apply). Newspapers must be delivered to schools within The West Australian s delivery network. Mon-Fri editions only. Offer only valid during school terms. 5

6 WA CURRICULUM LINKS The Arts: Media Arts This competition focuses on Responding in Media and involves students learning to explore, view, analyse and participate in media culture. Making Years F - 6 Years 7-10 Ideas Media language Exploring ideas and improvising ways to represent ideas Skills Representation Developing skills and processes Production Production Sharing the arts through performance, presentation or display for an audience Skills and processes Responding Responding to and interpreting the arts Analysing and reflecting on intentions English v8.1 Strand Language Literature Literacy Sub-strand Language for interaction Text structure and organisation Expressing and developing ideas Literature and context Responding to literature Interacting with others Interpreting, analysing and evaluating Creating texts WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION (WACE) LINKS The GEN Z competition can also support a number of WACE courses for Years 11 and 12. These include: English Media Production and Analysis Politics and Law. 6

7 OPINION Introduction Most newspapers set aside particular sections of the newspaper for columns, illustrations and letters that express opinion, clearly separating factual reporting from these less objective features. The aim of a journalist or contributor who writes an opinion piece for a newspaper is to cause people to think more deeply on an issue. Opinion writers provide context and insight to the news. Nowadays with digital technologies and the use of platforms such as Facebook and Youtube people are inundated with messages and information. Opinion columns convey what 140 characters of a tweet cannot. At their most powerful, they can influence political outcomes for the better, or disrupt the political process. The work of opinion writers has become more influential than ever as people are looking to have someone they trust to make sense of it all - to assess competing claims and come up with hopefully, a synthesis of the truth. In an opinion column the writer is sharpening your viewpoint. There s no grey area in an opinion column and the journalist can t sit on the fence. The writer needs to state an opinion and give the reader food for thought straight away. They need to make an argument as coherently and as logical as possible so readers can make up their own minds. 7

8 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Introduction Letters to the editor are among the most widely read features in newspapers and magazines. They can take a position for or against an issue, or simply inform, or both. They can convince readers by using emotions, or facts, or emotions and facts combined. Types of letters In response to a published news article or comment piece. In response to a previous letter. To comment on another topical issue that hasn t been reported. Structure The format of a letter contains three main parts: Purpose: Opinion or point of view. Argument: Supports opinion and persuades reader. To comment: on a topical issue. If you are referring to a newspaper article, send your letters as soon as possible after the article has been published in the newspaper and include the name of the article and date. Why write a letter? To express anger about something and you want others to know it. You think an issue is so important you have to speak out. To persuade others to take a specific action. To suggest an idea to others. To influence public opinion. To educate the general public on a specific matter. To influence policy-makers or elected officials directly or indirectly. To publicise the work of a group and attract volunteers or participants. Tips and hints In general: Newspapers will publish letters that are well-written and represent a specific point of view on an issue, or thoughtfully analyse complex issues or events. Libel: In general terms this is the publication of a false statement about someone that damages that person s reputation. Stay away from attacks on specific people and anything that might legally be seen as libel. Explain the issue simply: Use plain language that most people will understand. Be quick and concise: Letters should be under 200 words so go over your letter to see if anything can be cut or condensed. Editors have limited page space so have the right to edit to shorten if required. First paragraph: Start with a strong first sentence. State the most important first. Sign and date your letter: Newspapers do not publish anonymous letters, but may withhold names from publication. For this competition include your full name, school, year, teacher name and telephone. Check: Proof read your letter carefully. Make sure it is clear and to the point. A newspaper may not print every letter it receives, but clear, well-written letters are more likely to be considered for publication. 8

9 EDITORIAL CARTOONS Introduction An editorial cartoonist s main aim is to get people to think about a certain subject and form their own opinions. Editorial cartoons provide an important record of the times. They reflect the values, conflicts and important issues in a society. Analysing cartoons allows students to develop both factual knowledge and interpretive skills. As a cartoon must make its point quickly it uses humour and satire to show a position about current issues. It is usually drawn with simplicity. Cartoonists generally exaggerate the features of a person and make them bigger. The best editorial cartoonists do not depict a problem in literal terms. They liken it to something else and invite readers to stretch their imaginations. A cartoonist feels free to exaggerate but not to engage in an outright lie. Facts about editorial cartoons They are an example of the right of Free Speech. They are an integral part of many newspaper editorial pages and are used to highlight a significant aspect of a news item. An effective cartoonist makes use of several specific tools to make his or her points clear. They express the cartoonist s opinion on a topic and provoke readers to think and clarify their own opinions. Drawing should be uncluttered. Heavy, cleaner lines are better for the newspaper than many light lines. A good cartoon never tries to tell everything about a topic. Any words used (captions, dialogue balloons or words that are part of the drawing itself) should be large, clear and easily recognized. Cartoon checklist Be more concerned with the originality and clarity of your cartoon's ideas rather than your artistic talent. Select an issue which is of significance and ongoing interest. Study editorial cartoons closely before creating your own. Remember, study them, but don't copy them. The judges will be looking for creativity and originality. Don't clutter your cartoon with too many ideas. Decide on a single point you want to make. Draw your cartoons in a landscape orientation, not portrait. Remember a cartoonist prime goal is to get people to think about a certain subject and form their own opinions about. Be funny and/or thought provoking. Keep the background to a minimum for economy and legibility. Use black ink on white paper. Draw in bold lines. Keep lettering large and legible. Tools used by cartoonists Symbols: simple pictures that are commonly understood by people to stand for ideas or groups, eg. dove symbolizes peace. Caricatures: drawings of people that exaggerate certain features to make the person quickly and easily recognizable. Caricatures also serve sometimes to poke fun at the person they picture. Stereotypes: styles of picturing a person or a group that call to the reader s mind commonly held ideas about the type of person, eg. Stethoscope a doctor Analogies: are comparisons that tell us this thing is like that other thing, at least in one respect. They often use symbols and compare a current situation to a well- known historic event, fairy tale or story. 9

10 Metaphor: a figure of speech containing an implied comparison identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing, eg. All the world s a stage. Hyperbole: a description that is exaggeration for emphasis, eg. I am so hungry I could eat a horse. Satire: is the use of irony, sarcasm and humor to criticise or show the ignorance of people. It involves the use of ridicule, sarcasm, irony, etc. to expose, attack, or deride. Irony: the use of words where the meaning is the opposite of their usual meaning or what is expected to happen. A laugh a day with Dean Alston The West Australian s editorial cartoonist Dean Alston talks about cartooning. Cartoonists, who create those squiggly lines that adorn daily newspapers, are great humourists. Alston reckons the first cartoons were drawn by cavemen and he too was a great wall artist as a child. He scribbled through school and a 10-year stint as a government cartographer, before running a hotel for a few years, taking a holiday in England and getting married. A chance visit to The West in 1985 with his drawing folio in hand gave him the chance to become the cartoonist we enjoy with our morning newspaper. "A cartoon is designed to exaggerate a feature of a person or animal. The aim of it is to portray an event or incident quickly and with humour," Alston says. The working day for this newspaper cartoonist begins at lunchtime and involves reading current newspapers and magazines and much day-dreaming about possible cartoons. He attends afternoon editorial conference and from this he develops an idea for a cartoon, submitting three or four rough drawings to the editor for approval. Once an idea is accepted Alston takes an hour to produce a finished cartoon. "The trend in modern cartoons is for fewer lines that only hint at the picture and a greater emphasis on the idea. Most of Alston's cartoons are based on federal politics. Some politicians have bodies and faces that lend themselves to humorous cartoons. "Sometimes politicians ring up and criticise and occasionally their supporters write or fax me complaints. Praise is not so frequent but I tend not to worry and enjoy getting a reaction from readers. "Humour is always the focal point and I like to twist the knife a bit." Alston believes a good cartoonist needs an eye for news, an ability to remember trivia and a broad education in history and literature. Resources

11 Appendix 1 - Student Activities 11

12 OPINION student notes Introduction Most newspapers set aside particular sections of the newspaper for columns, illustrations and letters that express opinion, clearly separating factual reporting from these less objective features. What is meant by opinion? The aim of a journalist who writes an opinion piece for the newspaper is to cause people to think more deeply on issues. Editors rely on their opinion writers to provide context and insight to the news of the day. There s so much news that is broken in Australian by the morning newspapers that gets picked up by radio commentators and television news and a strong voice of opinion helps shape that debate in the morning. The work of opinion writers has become more influential than ever. Most people are looking to have someone they trust to make sense of it all - to assess competing claims and come up with hopefully, a synthesis of the truth. Opinion columns convey what 140 characters of a tweet cannot. At their most powerful, they can influence political outcomes for the better, or disrupt the political process. Most columnists are concerned with presenting fairly unvarnished facts and a coherent argument, an articulate position. Good columnists should be independent thinkers without fear or favour. In an opinion column the writer is sharpening your viewpoint. There s no grey area in an opinion column and the journalist can t sit on the fence. The writer needs to state an opinion. The writer needs to give the reader food for thought straight away. They need to make an argument as coherently and as logical as possible so readers can make up their own minds. Weaving together an argument is essential to a successful column. For many columnists, audience is everything. If you are not writing for your readers then the whole thing is a joke. It is always about the readers. Writing for your audience does not mean they have to agree with everything you say. They don t. Whose opinion is being expressed? Is the opinion that of the newspaper editorial staff, a local columnist, a syndicated columnist a specialist in the area, or someone else? Turn to the Opinion pages in The West Australian for several days cut out bylines for the writers of the Opinion columns. What do you know about the person or people whose opinions are expressed? How can you tell if the person is a journalist for the newspaper or a contributor? Why do you think a newspaper includes opinion pieces from people other than journalists? 12

13 OPINION student notes Editorial v opinion The editorial is the newspaper s opinion on an issue and reflects its position on the issue. What is the difference between editorial and opinion column? For several days, cut out editorial and opinion columns from The West Australian. What are the topics of the editorial and opinion columns? How is an editorial different / similar to an opinion column? Compare the language used, structure, style and information. Cut out the news stories related to the editorial and opinion columns. These may be found in the days or weeks preceding the opinion piece you are analysing. How are the facts from the news reports used in the opinion columns by the writer to make his/her point? Different ways of expressing opinions Writers can present their opinions in a variety of ways: using logic. humour. appeal to emotions. use of rhetorical devices. draw parallels between current events and history. using metaphors to make a particular point. use of evidence, quotations, statistics, historical details, etc. Look at a range of editorial and opinion columns in The West Australian and identify examples of the above styles writers have used. Analyse what the writer is trying to say and how he or she said it and why he or she might have chosen to say it in that way. Which style of writing do you like best? Why? Select one current issue and try writing an introductory paragraph using this style. Go online to check out opinion pieces published recently in The West Australian 13

14 OPINION student notes Who would be convinced? Look at a range of editorial and opinion columns in The West Australian and discuss them using these questions as a guide. Think about the purpose and who might be convinced by the opinion piece that you read. Does the column present an argument that would appeal to people with particular ideas but fall flat with people who held other ideas? Is this opinion piece designed to sway people to the author s point of view in an inviting and balanced way? Or is it written primarily for people who already agree with the author? What other opinions might be expressed about the same topic and who might express them? When considering an opinion, it can be very helpful to try to list other opinions one could hold about the same topic. How might someone who completely disagrees frame his or her argument to refute the opinion piece? What evidence might they use to support that opposite point of view? You may be able to find opinion pieces that present alternative viewpoints. It can be interesting to explore different opinions on the same topic to get a sense of the range of journalistic opinion on the issue. The West Australian, March 9, 2015 The West Australian, March 3, 2015 p17 The West Australian, March 10, 2015 p16 The West Australian, February 24, 2015 p17 14

15 OPINION student notes Guidelines for writing opinion pieces If you can express yourself clearly and persuasively in an opinion article, you may reach thousands of people, sway hearts, change minds and perhaps even reshape public policy. Track the news and jump at opportunities When an issue is dominating the news whether it s a war or the latest controversy on a reality TV show that s what readers want to read. Whenever possible, link your issue to something happening in the news. Limit the article to 300 words Shorter is even better. Newspapers have limited space to offer. Make a single point well You cannot solve all of the world s problems in 300 words. Be satisfied with making a single point clearly and persuasively. Put your main point on top In an opinion article you have no more than 10 seconds to hook a busy reader. Get to the point and convince readers it s worth their time to continue. Tell readers why they should care At the end of every few paragraphs, ask: So what? Who cares? You need to answer these questions. Explain why. Showing is better than discussing Humans remember colorful details better than dry facts. When writing an opinion article look for examples that bring your argument to life. Embrace your personal voice The best of these examples come from your own experience. When it comes to opinion articles, embrace your own voice whenever possible. Use short sentences and paragraphs Look at opinion articles and count the number of words per sentence. The sentences tend to be quite short. You should use the same style, relying on simple declarative sentences. Cut long paragraphs into shorter ones. Avoid jargon When in doubt, leave it out. Simple language doesn t mean simple thinking; it means you are being considerate of readers. Use the active voice Don't write: It is hoped that.... Instead: I hope the government will Active voice is easier to read and leaves no doubt about who is doing the hoping, recommending or other action. Avoid tedious rebuttals If you ve written your article in response to an earlier piece avoid the temptation to prepare a point-by-point rebuttal. Mention the earlier article once and argue your own case. If you really need to rebut the article, write a letter to the editor, which is more appropriate for this purpose. Make your ending a winner You need a strong opening paragraph, or lead to hook readers. It is also important to summarize your argument in a strong final paragraph. One trick many columnists use is to conclude with a phrase or thought that appeared in the opening. 15

16 LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes What is a letter to the editor? Letters to the editor are among the most widely read features in any newspaper or magazine. They allow you to reach a large audience. Letters to the editor can take a position for or against an issue, or simply inform, or both. They can convince readers by using emotions, or facts, or emotions and facts combined. Reasons why you might write to the editor Anger about something, and you want others to know it. You think an issue is so important you have to speak out. Want to persuade others to take a specific action. Want to suggest an idea to others. Want to influence public opinion. Want to educate the general public on a specific matter. Want to influence policy-makers or elected officials directly or indirectly. Want to publicize the work of a group and attract volunteers or participants. Open with a strong statement and place the most important information at the beginning. As letters may be edited to fit the space available in that issue of the newspaper, most often they are cut from the bottom up. By placing the important information anywhere but at the top could result in its being omitted. Your turn Turn to the Letters page in The West Australian. Highlight the first sentence in three different letters you think make good opening sentences. Explain why you think these are good opening sentences. Generally, letters have three parts: Purpose: Opinion or point of view. Argument: Supports opinion and persuades reader. To comment: on a topical issue. Letters fall into three types. Those written: In response to a published news article or comment piece. In response to a previous letter. To comment on another topical issue that hasn t been reported. Grab the reader's attention Your opening sentence is very important. It should tell readers what you re writing about and make them want to read more. Think of one topic in the newspaper that interests you. Practise writing an opening sentence for a letter to the editor. Discuss your opening sentence with three other students. Which do they think is best? Why? After your discussion, revise and rewrite your opening sentence on your selected topic. 16

17 LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes Make your point in plain language NEWS REPORT If at all possible, refer your letter to a recent piece of news, editorial, or a prior letter to the editor, and, if you do so, reference the title and date of the article in your letter. If you are referring to a newspaper article, send your letter as soon as possible after an article has been published in the paper. Your turn PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Look through The West Australian and cut out a news article, opinion piece or a letter about an issue which is important to you. Explain to a partner why this issue is important to you and how it makes you feel. List facts, opinions and emotions you have in response to this issue. PRIOR LETTER TO EDITOR For three minutes, write different possible opening sentences you might use in your letter. You can look at the Letters page in The West Australian to help you with ideas on how to start your letter. Next select what you think is the strongest opening sentence. For two minutes, try rewriting this opening sentence so you state your position and grab the readers attention. OPINION PIECE Share your opening sentence with your class. What suggestions do they have to make it stronger? 17

18 LETTER TO THE EDITOR student notes Helpful tips and hints The West Australian receives hundreds of letters a week but only 10 to 15 may make it into print. In general, newspapers will publish letters that are well-written and articulate and either represent specific points of view on an issue, or thoughtfully analyze complex issues and events. Libel Stay away from attacks on particular people (although not from criticism of the actions of politicians and other public figures), and anything that might possibly be seen as libel. Legally, libel is the publication of a false statement about someone that damages that person s reputation. Thus to falsely accuse someone of a crime would be libel; to inaccurately print that someone had won an award for citizenship would not be. Explain the issue and its importance simply Use plain language that most people will understand. Throughout your letter, remember the rule: Be quick and concise. State your opinion about what should be done You can write a letter just to ''vent," or to support or criticize a certain action or policy, but you may also have suggestions about what could be done to improve the situation. If so, be sure to add these as well. Be specific. And the more good reasons you can give to back up your suggestions, the better. Refer to a recent event in your community or to a recent article make a connection and make it relevant. K e e p i t b r i e f Generally, shorter letters have a better chance of being published. So go back over your letter and see if anything can be cut or condensed. Keep your letter under 300 words Editors have limited space for printing letters and some papers have stated policies regarding length. Make sure your most important points are stated in the first paragraph. Editors may need to cut parts of your letter and they usually do so from the bottom up. S i g n y o u r l e t t e r Write your full name and include your address, phone number and address. Newspapers do not print anonymous letters. C h e c k y o u r l e t t e r M a k e s u r e i t ' s c l e a r a n d t o t h e p o i n t. A newspaper may not print every letter it receives, but clear, well-written letters are likely to be given more serious consideration. Use local statistics and personal stories to better illustrate your point. 18

19 EDITORIAL CARTOONS student notes Look through The West Australian and cut out a collection of Dean Alston s editorial cartoons to complete the following activities. Sometimes the subjects of cartoons are not happy because the cartoonist can make them look unflattering through exaggeration and caricature. Discuss how the cartoon pokes fun at a particular idea. Is the humour obvious or subtle? Does the cartoonist present the message in a way some people might find funny while others might find offensive? Think about the techniques the cartoonist uses to get his message across. What does the cartoonist do to make a normal situation silly? Explore the setting for each cartoon. How does the cartoonist bring humour to the situation? What symbols are used in the cartoon? What do they mean? What meaning do you think the cartoonist is trying to convey? Look at one cartoon and list the objects and or people. Which of the objects are symbols? What do you think each symbol means? How does the use of symbols add to the message of the cartoon? Find one cartoon which appeals to your sense of humour. How has the cartoonist made you think this is funny? What tools has he used to help you interpret the meaning of the cartoon? What news topic is the cartoon about? Look through The West Australian and cut out the newspaper and or opinion articles related to the editorial cartoon. How has the cartoonist used the information to develop his cartoon? Try drawing your own cartoon on this issue. 19

20 EDITORIAL CARTOONS student notes A laugh a day with Dean Alston The West Australian s editorial cartoonist Dean Alston talks about cartooning. Cartoonists, who create those squiggly lines that adorn daily newspapers, are great humourists. Alston reckons the first cartoons were drawn by cavemen and he too was a great wall artist as a child. He scribbled through school and a 10-year stint as a government cartographer, before running a hotel for a few years, taking a holiday in England and getting married. Most of Alston's cartoons are based on federal politics. Some politicians have bodies and faces that lend themselves to humorous cartoons. "Sometimes politicians ring up and criticise and occasionally their supporters write or fax me complaints. Praise is not so frequent but I tend not to worry and enjoy getting a reaction from readers. "Humour is always the focal point and I like to twist the knife a bit." Alston believes a good cartoonist needs an eye for news, an ability to remember trivia and a broad education in history and literature. A chance visit to The West in 1985 with his drawing folio in hand gave him the chance to become the cartoonist we enjoy with our morning newspaper. "A cartoon is designed to exaggerate a feature of a person or animal. The aim of it is to portray an event or incident quickly and with humour," Alston says. The working day for this newspaper cartoonist begins at lunchtime and involves reading current newspapers and magazines and much day-dreaming about possible cartoons. He attends afternoon editorial conference and from this he develops an idea for a cartoon, submitting three or four rough drawings to the editor for approval. Once an idea is accepted Alston takes an hour to produce a finished cartoon. "The trend in modern cartoons is for fewer lines that only hint at the picture and a greater emphasis on the idea. 20

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