miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2016

Talking point: The news

This week's talking point is the news. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

When did you last read a newspaper?
Did you pay for it?
How often do you read the news online?
Where do you get most of your news from (TV, PC, smartphone, newspaper)?
Is there a particular time and place for you to read the news?
Do you ever read the news in English?
Do members of your family get the news from the same source as you?
What makes you read stories (interesting headlines, a topic you know about, breaking news)?
Do you think we are surrounded by too much news?
Do you ever get your news through social media?
Have you ever read some news on social media that you later discovered to be false?
What kinds of news are you (not) interested in? Choose from the list below and give your reasons:
Celebrity gossip
Nature and the environment
Politics and current affairs
Science and technology

To illustrate the point, you can watch the Speakout video Media, where some passers-by are going to answer these questions:
How do you usually get your news?
What kinds of news stories interest you the most?
How has modern technology and new media changed our relationship with the news?
In your opinion, does the media use its power responsibly?

V: Hi. I start work quite late, so in the mornings I normally read the papers or go on news web sites: it’s important for me to find out what’s going on in the world. Today, I’m interviewing people about the media and the news. How do you usually get your news?
J: I read my news on the Internet mainly because I don’t have a television at the moment.
A: I usually get my news by watching the TV news when I get home.
M: I don’t actually live in Britain, so I like to read the news in English and I get it all on the Internet.
Jo: Well, I often listen to the radio: I find that, actually, much better than the television.
H: I watch the news every morning and I read the Guardian newspaper maybe two or three times a week I buy the paper.
T: I usually get my news from the Internet, or from newspapers.
V: What kinds of news stories interest you the most?
J: Well, I study conflict and development, so I’m interested in world affairs.
A: A variety, really. I like to read about politics, of course, and what’s happening in the country, but I also like to hear about what’s happening in other countries of the world.
M: I like all sorts of news stories, about what’s going on and I especially like things about new technology, but I also like a bit of trashy news – I like a bit of celebrity gossip, just to break up the day.
T: Well I certainly don’t like celebrity news but I do like sports.
Jo: I work as a doctor and, therefore, it’s very important to know what the health stories are.
H: I don’t enjoy the, sort of, more popular culture news stories. I think there’s a different place for that. I don’t think they should be included in the main news.
V: How has modern technology and new media changed our relationship with the news?
A: On my laptop I can go on the Internet and I can just see what the latest headlines are. I can see news developments as, as they happen, almost in real time.
Jo: There are many different sources and therefore you often compare and contrast what different media are saying.
T: Often you don’t have to pay, so you don’t have to – it doesn’t discriminate against people who don’t have money.
M: We used to rely on the messages from TV, from different outlets and now with things like Twitter people can spread the news, but it does run the risk that it’s not always correct.
V: In your opinion, does the media use its power responsibly?
A: I think, in general, yes, but I think there are occasions when I think it’s irresponsible. I think, for example, when, when they hound celebrities, for example, I don’t think that’s very responsible news. I don’t even think it’s very good news.
J: I think the media has a lot of power and it doesn’t always appreciate the extent to which it can affect things.
M: I think in this country it does: I think it certainly doesn’t in some other countries.
Jo: In my area – I’m especially interested in the area of health – often you get these health stories about immunisation or about some latest scare about cancer and this causes a great deal of anxiety, and yet when you go down to the real truth it’s often based on very flimsy foundations. So, I think the media do have a, a duty to use their power responsibly.