The Press and the Presidency: Friend or Foe? How the President Is Portrayed
In this activity, students examine the tone of news coverage about the president by various media outlets.
Get even more great free content!
This content contains copyrighted material that requires a free NewseumED account.
Registration is fast, easy, and comes with 100% free access to our vast collection of videos, artifacts, interactive content, and more.
NewseumED is provided as a free educational resource and contains copyrighted material. Registration is required for full access. Signing up is simple and free.
With a free NewseumED account, you can:
- Watch timely and informative videos
- Access expertly crafted lesson plans
- Download an array of classroom resources
- and much more!
- Current Events
- Discuss the difference between positive, negative and neutral coverage as a class.
- Positive coverage highlights the positive things — the reasons why people should like the president and/or agree with the president’s message.
- Negative coverage is critical or highlights the negative things — the reasons why people shouldn’t like the president and/or agree with the president’s message.
- Neutral coverage neither supports nor detracts — simply presents information.
- Have students individually or in groups choose a current event/topic involving the president, such as a trip or speech, new policy/program/law, etc. Instruct them to find five stories from different sources on the selected topic. Think about using both traditional media outlets (such as a newspaper, magazines or a national nightly TV news show) and more cutting edge outlets (such as a blog or a satire news show).
- Tip: The Newseum's Today's Front Pages gallery features front pages from hundreds of U.S. and international newspapers.
- They should complete the tracking chart on the worksheet to compare how different media outlets reported the same story.
- Have students share their findings.
- Friend or Foe? worksheet (download), one per student
- Newspapers, magazines or Internet access
- Describe the overall tone of news coverage of the president. Was it generally positive, negative or neutral?
- How did tone vary by news outlet? Did it vary by topic or was it across-the-board regardless of topic?
- What elements of the news story did you use to determine its tone (headline, loaded words, photos, editorial cartoon, negative quotes, sarcasm, humor, etc.)?
- What impact could positive, negative and neutral coverage have on a president or his/her administration?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.US History.Era 10Standard 1: Recent developments in foreign policy and domestic politics Standard 2: Economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States