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Submit a 1-2 page (double spaced) analysis of a current political news article from that week. These briefs will help develop a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in the American Government. 

  • the news article you select must be current as of that week (published the week before the Sunday due date). 
  • The brief must be in your own words. Do not quote the article. Just tell us what happened in your own words.
  • The brief will contain a summary, analysis, and implications. First, present the summary. Then present the analysis and implications. Make sure the analysis is in its own paragraphs -ie do not mix it in with the summary.
  • Your Events Briefs will be evaluated on the quality of the news article chosen, clarity of the summary, and depth of the analysis. In addition, the following criteria must be met:

Choosing a Topic

  • The news article must focus on US domestic politics or US foreign policy.
  • The news article must be current as of that week – ie published the week before the Sunday due date.
  • The article must focus on US political news. Political news focuses on the government in some way. Political news may involve public policies, laws, government relationships, and/or actions of government officials (ie federal and state government officials,  agencies, defense forces (military or police), judges, etc).
  • Non-political news means the government is not involved in any significant way. Natural disasters are not political. COVID 19 is not political. Crime is not political.
  • However, if the story is about the government’s response to any of these things, then it may be considered political. So if college students hold parties and spread COVID, that is not political. Government response to the student COVID parties might be…..
  • The articles you chose should be focused on something substantial. Trump or Biden calling each other names is not substantial. Derogatory remarks are not political learning. Neither are catfights, "burns", or "owning"  someone else in a political fight. That is all the circus side-show that distracts people from actual events.
  • In choosing an article, ask yourself, "What does this article teach me about American Government? What do I now know about the state of political affairs?"  Focus on stories that expand your knowledge.

Choosing a Source

  • Be sure to choose a legitimate, quality source – better sources make better briefs.
  • Choose something complex – a complex source will tell you what happened, but also explain the context/background in which it happened.  You will learn more from a complex source.
  • You are encouraged to read broadly but stay away from the extreme left or extreme right sources. They are typically designed to sway your emotions, rather than providing you with rational information.
  • Choose straight news pieces or analyses. Do not choose opinion pieces (op-ed). Some op-ed pieces are great – but the goal of this assignment is for you to have enough information to form your OWN opinion, rather than follow someone else’s.
  •  The chart below ranks different news sources. While this chart is not perfect it can be helpful in trying to choose better news articles.  Marketwatch: How Does Your Favorite News Source Rate?  (Links to an external site.) If you cannot see the chart, the news sources are listed in this document: Marketwatch News Categories-3.docx

Event Brief Summary

  • Your events brief needs to include a concise yet detailed summary of the entire article. This is where you show me what you have learned. I am looking to see that you acquired new knowledge.
  • The summary should include key details that are relevant to expanding our understanding of what happened.
  • I read a lot of news. I have often read a lot of the articles students end up writing about. If I haven’t already read, them, I am always interested in reading/learning something new. It is usually obvious to me if students leave out key details (or just summarize the information in the first paragraph of the article).

Event Brief Analysis and Implications

  • The brief should include an analysis.
  • An analysis is where you combine the new information from your summary with the knowledge that you already have.
  • Analysis can seem challenging, especially if you are new to following the news. Just give it a try. The more you do this, the easier it gets. 
  • The implications section is where you hypothesize about what might happen next. What does all of this mean?

Here is an example:

  • In 2019  Trump suggested that the US buy Greenland.  Your summary would include the full details of this proposal.
  • In the analysis, you might write about things in the article that don’t make sense to you. For example, why would we buy Greenland if we haven’t fixed our own problems with infrastructure, health care, etc? Where would the money come from, given how in debt the US is?
  • As you learn more, try to incorporate the information you have learned in class. For example, in order to annex new territory like Greenland, both the House and the Senate would have to approve.  In 2019, the House was held by the Democrats, and the Senate was held by the Republicans. It was highly unlikely that the House Democrats would  vote in favor of buying Greenland)
  • The last section of the brief is where you talk about the implications of your article (What would happen if we actually did buy Greenland? How might that work out?) You may also include your opinion here.

Three components of a high-quality Events Brief

  1. The article should be timely, complex, and about substantive events in US domestic politics or foreign policy.
  2. Your brief should summarize the main points of the full article, and include analysis and implications. You may also state your opinion at the end if you wish.
  3. The brief should be in your own words, avoid quotations, be properly cited, and include proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.