Writing@CSU Activities Bank

New York Times Activities for Portfolio 1

Contributed by Sue Doe


Goals: To use the New York Times in support of the goals of COCC150, and to integrate the Times throughout the course


The emphasis here is on familiarizing students with how to read a major newspaper and find topics and issues of current national interest/relevance. The collection of issues found will expose students to the way topical ideas are wrapped up in the trends and issues of a society, a national newspaper being a reflection of that society.  The collection of ideas will assist students with identification of several potential ideas for their Portfolios 2 and 3.  During this portfolio, aim to:

I. Introduce the Times

1)     Introduce the layout of the Times, its differing features on specified days (for instance, the Science Times on Tuesdays) and reasons for reading a national newspaper

2)     show ways to read it

3)     familiarize students with basic journalistic principles, such as the inverted pyramid for story development and the inverted six for page layout

II. Show students how to identify the trends and issues embedded in articles

1)     show how issues are embedded in the news; often there is more than one issue in a news article of interest

2)     identify of issues and naming of cultural problems/dilemmas/trends associated with the article

3)     narrow and focus on specific debatable questions associated with issues

4)     identify players in the discussion or debate


For Portfolio 1 each student builds his or her own news clip journal on issues of interest. These clips help students decide on an issue to pursue in Portfolios 2 and 3.