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August 18, 2023

How the Loss of Local Newspapers Fueled Political Divisions in the U.S.

Ask students: When did the Canadian Record stop printing? How much did classified ad purchases decline for the Canadian Record?


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Over the past few decades, more than 2,000 newspapers across the country have closed, leaving many communities without a reliable source of local information. Researchers say this crisis in journalism, driven by changes in technology, is fueling the country’s political divisions. Judy Woodruff visited a community in Texas that recently lost its newspaper for her series, America at a Crossroads.

For a transcript of this story, click here

News wrap alternative: Check out recent segments from the NewsHour, and choose the story you’re most interested in watching. You can make a Google doc copy of discussion questions that work for any of the stories here.

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Five Facts

  1. Who put a flag by their door to announce a new edition of the Canadian Record?
  2. When did the Canadian Record stop printing?
  3. How much did classified ad purchases decline for the Canadian Record?
  4. Where is the city of Canadian located?
  5. Why did the Canadian Record help during a wildfire crisis?
  6. What is the population of Canadian?

Focus Questions

Do you think it’s important to learn about breaking news from a variety of different news outlets? Why or why not?

News Analysis: How do you most often consume news? How do you think the source of news influences your perspective?

Alternative: See, Think, Wonder: What did you notice? What did the story make you think? What story would you want to find out more about? Where would you go to learn more?

For More

What students can do: As a class, discuss the latest news story you read or watched on your own. Where did the information come from? Do you think the news source was credible? Do you think it was encouraging you to adopt one viewpoint or another?

Student Video of the Day  (January 30, 2020)

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This lesson was written by Benjamin Thernstrom, a high school senior in Arlington, Virginia, and PBS NewsHour Classroom intern, with editing by Luke Gerwe. Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

Teaching the Election Process: Lesson Plans and Resources

It's election season in the United States and a good time to teach students about the election process and why local, state and federal elections matter. Explore topics covering election fundamentals, election law and security, youth engagement, famous U.S. elections and more.

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PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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