Great observation by master-blogger Ezra Klein on what we in the education biz would call “newspaper literacy”:
Every so often, an older and wiser colleague or interlocutor will ask, sighing, if I read newspapers. And I do. Sort of. I scan newspapers. But increasingly, I read things that take newspaper content and repackage it in more useful formats (blog posts, op-eds, think tank reports, quick news hits, summaries, etc). I recently had drinks with an editor of a major political magazine who was telling me about his learning curve. “It took me about 10 years to really learn how to read a newspaper article,” he said. “But now I can zip through the paper, really getting the relevant facts.”
It’s funny that newspapers and magazines claim their work must be read end to end, and can’t be decomposed into parts. Because to the practiced reader it’s never been really an atomic experience at all.
When seen this way, media critique blogs, at least the better ones, are a great example of task specialization. People who are “good at reading newspapers” can help you read newspapers, via pulling things together in a blog. And they can do that in a way that still allows you to drill down into sources and detail when necessary.
Which makes me wonder — are there second order opportunities in processing supposedly atomic courses and lessons? What would that look like? A gifted student blogging a class session by session?
Have we seen examples of this yet, and if not, why not?
How great would it be as a middle-of-the-road student to go home and read a blog that makes sense of what you just saw in class that day?