Study Guide

Field 137: Journalism 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

Try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Apply knowledge of forms, functions, and principles of journalism.

1. Just before the school year starts, a high school newspaper staff meets to plan the transition from a print newspaper to an online one. Staff members begin to investigate the free and low-cost Web hosting sites for online school newspapers that exist. One important consideration that students should keep in mind is that free or low-cost Web hosting services often:

  1. restrict interactive traffic on a school newspaper site to school hours.
  2. have limited Web space for files produced by student journalists.
  3. require school newspapers to accept ads from the Web hosting company.
  4. block users' ability to access other sites through embedded links in newspaper stories.

Correct Response: C. A newspaper staff seeking a Web hosting service for an online school news publication is likely to find many low-cost and free options. Many online publishing sites that offer Web services include advertisements sold by the hosting service. For example, Web publishing sites specializing in scholastic journalism might include advertising networks that run ads on the home page or in the sidebars of a student newspaper. Some of these sites share advertising revenues with the school newspaper in the form of renewal credits or journalism training opportunities.

 start bold Use the information below to answer the three questions that follow. end bold 

Following a serious alcohol-related automobile accident involving several Wheaton High School seniors, the staff of the school's digital newspaper, the  start italics Wheaton Gazette end italics , plans a major feature on underage drinking. Ms. Ramirez is a journalism teacher at Wheaton High and faculty adviser to the  start italics Gazette end italics .

Competency 0010 
Apply knowledge of forms and functions of different types of student media and roles and responsibilities of a journalism adviser.

2. Because the journalism adviser realizes that the planned feature may be controversial, Ms. Ramirez should meet with the  start italics Gazette's end italics  editors to:

  1. advise them that the Supreme Court's  start italics Hazelwood end italics  decision gives school administrators the right to cancel any story they find unacceptable.
  2. suggest that they schedule an appointment to discuss with the school principal their plans for the feature.
  3. remind them of their First Amendment rights to publish responsible journalism without censorship.
  4. suggest that they obtain legal advice about openly discussing an activity that is illegal in the state of Oklahoma.

Correct Response: B. By following the adviser's suggestion to schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss the planned story, student newspaper editors have the opportunity to inform the principal about the story's focus and planned coverage as well as prepare the principal for any controversy that might arise. Often, student-reported stories make the school community aware of situations and concerns, such as those related to underage drinking, that otherwise might never be revealed. Although student journalists' First Amendment rights may not be wholly guaranteed in every situation, school officials do have an interest in preserving a student newspaper staff's autonomy to make editorial and content decisions, because it provides the school with protection from liability.

Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of journalistic writing processes and how to use these processes to prepare effective journalistic products.

3. Just after student reporters for the  start italics Wheaton Gazette end italics  begin interviewing students and parents/guardians for the story, the school news site gets an angry post from the father of a tenth-grade student. The parent states that he represents a group of parents/guardians who want the story canceled because it might encourage underage drinking, and if the  start italics Gazette end italics  refuses, the group will take its case to the superintendent. Ms. Ramirez learns that the student editors plan to go ahead with the story. In this situation, her best suggestion would be that the editors:

  1. run a sidebar story about this attempt at parental/guardian interference with the scholastic press.
  2. avoid contact with members of this group of parents/guardians as reporters pursue the story.
  3. schedule their own meeting with the district superintendent to state their case.
  4. offer to incorporate the views of the parent/guardian group into their overall coverage.

Correct Response: D. In this situation, the adviser's suggestion to the school newspaper's editors to incorporate the views of the parent/guardian group into their overall coverage is appropriate and reflects sound journalism ethics and values. In the spirit of journalistic fairness and balance, the student newspaper editors should include diverse perspectives and voices in their coverage, including the comments and opinions of the parents and guardians angry about the planned story.

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of a wide variety of information sources and skills, criteria, and methods for gathering and evaluating information.

4. A  start italics Wheaton Gazette end italics  staff member develops the following anonymous survey for willing student respondents in the senior class.

  1. Do you know the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers in Oklahoma?
  2. Have you ever drunk alcohol?
  3. Have you ever ridden in a car whose driver has been drinking?
  4. Do you ever drink and drive?

Which question should be dropped from the survey because of its limited relevance to the issue being addressed?

  1. question 1
  2. question 2
  3. question 3
  4. question 4

Correct Response: A. In the survey, question 1 is irrelevant to the feature story intended to explore the topic of underage drinking at Wheaton High School. Gathering data about students' knowledge of the blood alcohol limit for Oklahoma drivers will not yield material relevant to student attitudes and practices in relation to underage drinking, and would not be useful information to include in an infographic or summary of the survey results.

Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of the evolution of U S journalism and the role of a free and independent press in a democratic society.

5. In Oklahoma, one way in which the independence of journalists is supported is through the protection of journalists' confidential sources and original source material. This protection, known as the reporter's privilege, is afforded by:

  1. the federal Freedom of Information Act ( F O I A ).
  2. Oklahoma's sunshine laws.
  3. the Federal Communications Commission ( F C C ).
  4. Oklahoma's shield law.

Correct Response: D. Oklahoma's shield law statute protects journalists from being forced to disclose confidential sources and information in a state government proceeding or investigation. Shield laws afford a "reporter's privilege" to journalists, which allows journalists to refuse to disclose, testify about, or produce confidential newsworthy information at a legal proceeding. Without shield laws, journalists would be unable to provide anonymity to sources whom they rely on for sensitive and critical information.

Competency 0007 
Apply knowledge of the functions, limitations, and influences of mass media in society and skills and criteria for analyzing and evaluating media content.

6. Compared with mass media messages that are designed to inform, messages designed to persuade are more likely to:

  1. communicate a clear stand on an issue.
  2. incorporate graphic elements to support or clarify key points.
  3. focus on a single topic or main idea.
  4. use a cause-and-effect organizational pattern to reinforce meaning.

Correct Response: A. Effective persuasive communication requires a strong, clear message to be sent from one party to another. In mass media, messages designed to persuade typically involve simple, direct appeals that attempt to influence a large audience on a particular issue, topic, or product; they are often used to shape people's behaviors or attitudes. Unlike informative messages, persuasive messages tend to express one viewpoint or one side of an issue, and are tailored to audiences in terms of what will be most persuasive, what information an audience needs, and what action an audience should take. Persuasive mass media messages are often used in public health and safety campaigns, such as in the "Click It or Ticket" and "Don't Drink and Drive" government initiatives.

Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of principles, elements, tools, and techniques of media design and production.

7. When designing a yearbook spread, which of the following practices should generally govern the use of an eyeline, the internal margin that runs across both pages?

  1. "breaking" the eyeline more than twice (e.g., with headlines, captions, and graphics) to create visual interest
  2. ensuring that the eyeline falls horizontally in the center or middle of the spread to visually divide the spread in half
  3. "hanging" design elements other than the dominant photo off the eyeline (e.g., starting and ending photos along the eyeline)
  4. using large dominant photos rather than a variety of different-sized photos to cross both the eyeline and the gutter

Correct Response: C. In yearbook design, an eyeline is a horizontal guideline or internal margin that extends across a two-page spread and unifies the design elements in the spread. The eyeline is used as an anchoring location to start, end, or "hang" visual and design elements. For example, photos of various sizes can be aligned above or below an off-center eyeline to create visual interest. A dominant photo can be used to break the eyeline. However, an eyeline that divides a spread evenly in half or that breaks more than once decreases the visual effectiveness and impact of the spread design.

Competency 0009 
Apply knowledge of learning theories, curriculum approaches, and classroom environments that promote all students' learning and skill development.

8. A journalism teacher regularly assigns students to work together in small groups for classroom projects and activities. The teacher wishes to improve students' communication and collaboration skills during these small-group activities. The teacher is likely to be most effective in achieving this goal by emphasizing which of the following strategies?

  1. offering students greater autonomy in selecting those classmates with whom they will work during group activities
  2. incorporating into group activities opportunities for students to evaluate and discuss their performance as a group
  3. engaging students regularly in guided class discussions about the lifelong importance and benefits of collaborative work
  4. initiating each group activity by clearly defining specific collaborative skills that will serve as a key focus of the activity

Correct Response: B. By providing students with opportunities to evaluate and discuss their performance on group activities and projects, the journalism teacher can promote essential journalism skills such as collaboration, communication, self-management and responsibility, leadership, and the ability to give and receive constructive criticism. Journalism students could use evaluation tools such as rubrics or checklists as starting points for small-group discussions. For example, students could complete checklists to help them reflect on and talk about their group's contributions, performance in group meetings, or final presentations and projects. Or, students could collaborate on an explanation of their work and discuss what worked and what did not in a presentation to other groups. Educational research shows that active, social, and engaging classroom experiences promote deeper understandings among students, and that collaborative learning in particular promotes higher-level thinking skills, enhanced oral communication skills, and increased understanding of diverse perspectives.

Competency 0011 
Apply knowledge of the management of student staff and media.

9. Which of the following strategies is likely to be most effective for keeping a yearbook staff on track in producing the book?

  1. developing a process timeline that outlines all tasks for the year, deadlines, and who is responsible for each task
  2. establishing a reward system in which students earn days off from yearbook work for meeting production deadlines
  3. using the previous year's yearbook production schedule and updating it to reflect the current school year calendar
  4. scheduling and holding monthly meetings with yearbook editors to plan the next month's schedule in detail

Correct Response: A. A yearbook staff can use a process timeline to ensure that the production process remains on schedule. Starting with the desired yearbook delivery date, yearbook staff should work backwards to develop an action plan and associated deadlines for the entire academic year. The timeline should include interim and final deadlines for all production tasks (e.g., composing articles, shooting club and sports team photos, editing and submitting pages) and designate staff members responsible for each task.

Competency 0013 
Apply knowledge of the importance of professional development, practice, affiliation, and reflection for journalism teachers.

10. Which of the following statements accurately describes an important principle endorsed by the Journalism Education Association ( J E A ) and the Student Press Law Center ( S P L C ) in relation to scholastic journalism?

  1. Online school news media may pose more danger than print-based media in relation to identifying students; staff should therefore minimize student names and photos in stories.
  2. User-generated content created in response to scholastic journalism materials should be free from editorial review and scrutiny before it is published in an open forum.
  3. Student journalists are susceptible to invasion of privacy charges if they include the names of individuals involved in newsworthy events in school news publications.
  4. Student journalists' use of the Internet should be free from prior review and restraint, including from blocking and filtering software that prevents free and open expression.

Correct Response: D. Key tenets of both the Journalism Education Association left paren J E A right paren and the Student Press Law Center left paren S P L C right paren are freedom of expression and freedom from censorship. These tenets extend to use of the Internet for journalistic purposes. Student journalists have the right to access diverse and uncensored information in the information-gathering, reporting, and publishing process and to take full advantage of the Internet's role as a public forum. A school that limits student journalists' ability to use the Internet for gathering and communicating information protected by the First Amendment is restricting students' freedom of expression. Both the J E A and S P L C oppose prior review and restraint of students' Internet use via filtering and blocking software.