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SPECTATOR COLLEGE

Exercise: News websites battle online user vitriol

This exercise is linked to the article: News websites battle online user vitriol

This exercise is linked to the article: News websites battle online user vitriol

Aims:
- To familiarise students with the basic vocabulary related to media and broadcasting, and help them understand the importance of the media to the public. Also, to demonstrate how social media language can have a negative effect on grammar and punctuation, and make sure they are aware of the most common mistakes people make.
- The teacher should explain social media’s negative impact on language. Also, he or she should discuss situations when people use formal language (administration, at school) and when we can simplify language (social networks – to save time and space, when talking with less competent language speakers who might not understand official terms).

Vocabulary:
administering, approval, blog, broadcasting, comments, community staff, consider, contribute, contributor, Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, Culture Ministry, degrade, dissatisfactory, discussion thread, editorial room, elicit, emotionally charged, fashion, flagship, formative effect, hateful, heated, impartial, infringement, likelihood, likely, moderation, news desk, newswire, propose, publishing house, pertaining, speech rate, submitted, supervisory, spokesperson, unleash.

INTRO: (5 – 10min)

Lead in question: 1. Do you use punctuation and full words when chatting with your friends on social networks?

2. Look at the following internet language acronyms; what do they mean?
F2F
FWD
IMHO
4RL
BION
BTW
LOL
GR8
THX

(face to face, forward, in my humble opinion, for real, believe it or not, by the way, laughing out loud, great, thank you)

On one hand, acronyms, abbreviations and leaving out punctuation enable us to exchange information faster; on the other hand it might cause people to forget proper punctuation and grammar.
- Teacher encourages discussion: What are the advantages/disadvantages of acronyms? Do you think that they pose a serious problem?

I READING (10 min)
Often, the quality of the language used in media is dissatisfactory and can have negative effect on the people.
Read the article ‘Culture Ministry criticises language in media’ and answer the comprehension questions.

1. Since the media has a formative effect on people, especially youth, the ministry has recommended several ways to improve the quality of the language in the media and is proposing ways to encourage reporters to use the standardised form of Slovak.
Which of the statements is true?
A. Reporters should teach school children punctuation and grammar.
B. The language used by reporters should serve as a model of language for school children.
C. Children at school are better in grammar than reporters.
D. The media does not have any influence on the way the people write and express themselves.
- B

2. Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission (RVR), a licensing and supervisory body for broadcasting media, received 21 motions pertaining to the language used in the media in 2012 and 2013.
The words 'motions' and 'pertaining' mean:
A. movement, superior to
B. complaints, belonging to
C. motives, relating to
D. motives, superior to
- C

3. Moreover, it advised the public-service Radio and Television of Slovakia to make time for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
We can understand the above statement as:
A. Radio and TV of Slovakia should make time for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
B. Radio and TV of Slovakia must make time for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
C. Radio and TV of Slovakia will make time for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
D. Radio and TV of Slovakia are going to make time for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
- A

4. Moreover, it advised the public service Radio and Television of Slovakia to make room for broadcasting programmes focused on standard Slovak language and language counselling.
The words 'room' and 'counselling' mean:
A. an apartment, advice
B. space in the programme, advice
C. space in the studio, advice
D. place to stay, advice
- B

5. In relation to education about the Slovak language, RTVS:
A. Will monitor the language skills of all reporters.
B. Won’t train new reporters.
C. Will review only the skills of the old reporters.
D. Will train the reporters only in phonetics.
- A

3. Do you take part in user discussions under articles on websites? What kinds of comments do you typically see there?
The news media has been attempting to control discussions under articles in order to avoid derogatory comments on some topics. Foreign and Slovak media have already introduced measures like moderating the comment sections or banning discussions completely under some articles.

Read the article ‘News websites battle online user vitriol’.
After reading, try to explain the content to your friend/classmate. What is the difference in language between the article and your narrative?
Look at the terms taken out of the article. They are appropriate in a news article, but might be difficult to understand for many learners of English. Try to replace them with more common synonyms!
irrelevant, administer, heated response, moderate, submit, unleash,

What are:
1. Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission
2. speech rate
3. newswire
(RTVS, word

HOMEWORK:
Collect and analyse a few messages from your friends on the internet/social networks. How many of them use punctuation? Count and correct all their mistakes! What are the most common mistakes?


This exercise is published as part of Spectator College, a programme created by The Slovak Spectator with the support of Petit Academy Foundation and Orange Foundation.

Topic: Spectator College


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