Latin America in the Media: Noticias

On a (roughly) biweekly basis, students will write a brief (3-4 paragraph) summary and critical response to a significant news story coming out of Latin America reported in a mainstream English-language news source. Sources may be articles in periodicals (i.e., newspapers, news magazines [print or online versions]) or network television or radio (commercial or public) newscasts or features. Students will post individual summaries and links to sources to our  shared course blog.

English-language sources for news about Latin America include the BBC, the New York Times, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Rio Times, Al Jazeera, or The Economist but you’re not limited to these publications. You can also look for relevant articles in Science, ARTFORUM, Foreign Affairs, Discover,  – anywhere you can find well-researched, interesting articles that are worthy of your peers’ time.

Now, the fun part: students will sign up (in pairs) to facilitate the Friday discussion of what they deem to be the most salient stories posted in the preceding two-week period. Note: To prepare for discussion, all students will be responsible for reading the individual summaries posted to our course blog in advance of Friday’s class meeting. The primary goals of this exercise are to become more knowledgeable about current events in Latin America (and, just maybe, more engaged global citizens), and to raise our awareness of how mainstream media coverage of Latin America informs our (North Americans’) attitudes about the region. This also provides an opportunity to practice and improve public speaking and presentation skills.


For your “Latin America in the Media”  post, compose a thoughtful entry which summarizes the news story (1-2 paragraphs), considers how Latin America and its peoples are portrayed in the media coverage (1 paragraph), and analyzes the event in the context of our class themes (another 1-2 paragraphs). The style of these blog posts may be less formal than the style you would use in an academic paper, but you must keep your remarks focused and persuasive.  This means quoting or paraphrasing the text (no long quotes) and citing your source using in-text annotation.   You must take advantage of the digital format by incorporating outside images, links, or video clips that relate to your argument.  Link to the article or video clip you’re discussing.  Tag your article “Noticias”

You must post your complete entry by noon on Tuesday (to give seminar members time to read your post before class).  Do no repeat a story someone else has already analyzed.

Everyone must post a media analysis *except* the two students leading the week’s class discussion.  (You’ll be responsible for writing 6 blog posts, and leading discussion/posing questions one week).  Discussion leader signups are on Moodle: first come, first served!

Typical timeline

Tuesday (by noon): Blog Posts due (from everyone except this week’s discussion leaders).

Thursday (by noon): Team leaders choose 2-3 articles for this week’s discussion, post discussion questions

Friday: Everyone re-reads this week’s selected articles and comes prepared for discussion.  Team leaders facilitate seminar.

This assignment is worth 10% of your course grade.

Schedule of Discussion Leaders:

Week 2: Prof. Holt & Asha (discussion on Friday, September 1)

Week 4: (discussion on Friday, September 15) Martin & Brooks

Week 5: (discussion on Friday, September 22) Maya, Bryce, & Cesar

Week 7: (discussion on Friday, October 6) Jonah & Joseph

Week 8: (discussion on Friday, October 20) Will & Maggie

Week 10: (discussion on Friday, November 3) Tanaka & Keira

Week 12: (discussion on Friday, November 17) Kyrsten & Camryn

Week 14: (discussion on Friday, December 1) Michael & Kanishk

Noticias Discussion Leader Rubric