My students need to read Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissinger, because it is a fantastic example of writer struggling to use nonfiction, narrative structure and journalistic values to seek "truth" in a lost America.
My students are sophisticated, energetic, media savvy and image conscious. As a New Media Academy Magnet, students in our program are constantly engaged in outward-facing media messages, as well as the subtle subtexts of communication that digital media fosters. Students need focused intensive exposure to literature that demonstrates the line between media production and literary excellence.
Although the classroom must both embrace and compete with the power of digital media in order to engage our students, journalistic nonfiction is a critical avenue for training them in the artifice of media development.
For this reason, it is imperative to me that I find books that resonate with the challenges they face around interpreting media for "truth" and at the same time upholding their responsibility to seek as such in their own media production.
Yes, students' attention can be constantly diverted by electronics, but at the same time, students, on a deeper level thrive on logic, narrative and engagement with material that is meaningful, and demonstrative of artful, logical structure and purpose.
Our students are devouring media messaging virtually every moment of the day, and they are not just consumers of media- they create it. "Friday Night Lights," by H.G. Bissinger offers students a truth-seeking narrative about a seemingly universal subject, high school football, but told through the guise of a painstakingly detailed listener - a role that students, as voracious as their appetites are, can be loath to adopt.
"Friday Night Lights" is a literary, journalistic non-fiction example of how listening, narrative structure and inquiry can produce media that not only challenges society on controversial topics, but explores how media production can tie threads between macro and micro socio-political issues.
Whether students are interested in football or not, they need to grow their understanding of the relationship between media production and social values. "Friday Night Lights" demonstrates this effort.
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