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My 1,000
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Date: Jun 7, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (2:04 - 243.4 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

Russia will soon start its own 24-hour English language TV news channel. Its name is Russia Today and it will be similar to CNN. The new channel will broadcast up-to-the-minute news of world and Russian affairs. Everything will be from a Russian viewpoint.

Russia Today will initially be broadcast in Russia, Europe, the USA and some C.I.S. and Asian countries. It is due to screen from as early as late summer. The launch may coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the U.N. in September.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia Today, said it was time to challenge CNN and the BBC. She said Russia Today will offer an alternative to the U.S.-British stranglehold on English-speaking world news coverage. She also said it would make interesting viewing.

The channel is an arm of Russia’s tightly controlled state media. Many people have expressed doubts over how much independence journalists will have. Others fear the Kremlin will inject propaganda into the news stories. Many doubt whether non-Russians will want to watch Russian news in English.

WARM-UPS

1. NEWS: Write down three good things that have happened to you recently and three not so good things. In pairs / groups tell each other your good and not so good news.

2. TV NEWS: In pairs / groups, talk about TV news. Do you watch TV news every day? Do you have a favorite news station? Why do you watch a particular TV news station? Do you ever watch news in English? Which is better, the BBC or CNN?

3. WORLD CHANNELS: In pairs / groups, talk about your images of what kinds of stories are reported on the TV news in the countries below. Change partners to hear more ideas.

 

U.S.A.

Japan

Brazil

Iceland

Nigeria

Saudi Arabia

Pakistan

Bhutan

Indonesia

North Korea

In each of these countries, do you think the news is (1) interesting, (2) true, (3) balanced, (4) internationally focused?

4. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

24-hour TV news / news in English / CNN / Russian news / Vladimir Putin /journalists / world news / the media / the Kremlin

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

5. RUSSIA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Russia. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. OPINIONS: Talk with your partner(s). Which of these opinions do you agree or disagree with?

  1. It’s time for an alternative to the BBC and CNN.
  2. Russia’s international image will greatly improve with the Russia Today channel.
  3. The quality of reporting will be the same as CNN’s or the BBC’s.
  4. Absolutely no one is going to watch Russian news in English.
  5. The Russia Today channel is part of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine.
  6. News of Chechnya will not be fairly reported.
  7. I think it’ll be funny.
  8. I can’t wait for copycats like “China Today”, “Cuba Today” or “Iran Today”.

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

A new TV station is being set up to help Russians study English.

T / F

b.

Russia’s new news station will be from a Russian viewpoint.

T / F

c.

The channel will air only in Russia and C.I.S. countries.

T / F

d.

The first story may be a Vladimir Putin speech at the U.N.

T / F

e.

The channel will definitely end the dominance of CNN and the BBC.

T / F

f.

The editor-in-chief said it wouldn’t be interesting.

T / F

g.

The channel is a privately operated station.

T / F

h.

The channel will be very popular with non-Russians.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

channel

angle

b.

broadcast

put in

c.

viewpoint

air

d.

initially

address

e.

speech

voiced

f.

alternative

station

g.

stranglehold

uncertainty

h.

expressed

dominance

i.

inject

first

j.

doubt

substitute

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

news

viewpoint

b.

broadcast

doubts

c.

from a Russian

coincide with

d.

It is due to screen

news coverage

e.

The launch may

up-to-the-minute news

f.

offer an

tightly-controlled media

g.

English-speaking world

channel

h.

an arm of Russia’s

from as early as late summer

i.

people have expressed

propaganda into the news stories

j.

the Kremlin will inject

alternative

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Russia to start 24-hour TV news in English

Russia will soon start its _______ 24-hour English language TV news channel. Its name is Russia Today and it will be _______ to CNN. The new channel will broadcast up-to-the-minute news of world and Russian _______. Everything will be from a Russian _______.

 

 

affairs
similar
viewpoint
 own

Russia Today will _______ be broadcast in Russia, Europe, the USA and some C.I.S. and Asian countries. It is due to _______ from as early as _______ summer. The launch may _______ with President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the U.N. in September.

 

 

screen
coincide
initially
late

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia Today, said it was time to _______ CNN and the BBC. She said Russia Today will _____ an alternative to the U.S.-British stranglehold on English-speaking world news _______. She also said it would make interesting _______.

 

 

coverage
offer
viewing
challenge

The channel is an _______ of Russia’s tightly controlled state media. Many people have _______ doubts over how much independence journalists will have. Others fear the Kremlin will _______ propaganda into the news stories. Many _______ whether non-Russians will want to watch Russian news in English.

 

doubt
inject
 arm
expressed


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘news’ and ‘channel’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT RUSSIAN NEWS SURVEY: In pairs / groups write down questions about news of Russia in English.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make a mini-presentation to another group / the class on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • own
  • similar
  • viewpoint
  • initially
  • due
  • coincide
  • challenge
  • alternative
  • interesting
  • arm
  • fear
  • non-Russians

 DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What was your first reaction to this headline?
  2. Do you think Russian news in English is a good idea?
  3. Will you watch it?
  4. Would you like news in English that is not from the U.S.A. or U.K.?
  5. Do you think BBC and CNN news is balanced? Which is better?
  6. Do you think Russia Today will produce good quality news reports?
  7. Are you interested to see news of Chechnya on Russia Today?
  8. Would you like to see other countries introduce English news?
  9. Will Russia Today improve Russia’s international image?
  10. Do you think there’ll be a Russian Larry King?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading the article?
  2. Are you interested in Russian news?
  3. Do you think Russia Today will be successful?
  4. Will the new news channel end the grip of CNN and the BBC?
  5. Do you think the channel will still be on air a year after its launch?
  6. Does your country have news in English on its TV channels?
  7. Do you ever think that the news you watch may not be true?
  8. Can you think of any times you thought the news was wrong?
  9. Can you live without TV news?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

RUSSIAN NEWS: Below are some stories that were on the website of the Russian news service Pravda (http://english.pravda.ru/main/) on June 6, 2005. Perhaps these stories are a taste of things to come from Russia Today.

1. In pairs / groups, discuss your views on each of the stories.

2. Talk in greater detail about what each story is about.

3. Rate each story from 1 to 10 (1 is best) on points A-D in the table:

HEADLINE

A.
News-
worthiness

B.
Fun

C. Truth

D.
Order to be read in news program

New TV channel to improve Russia's image abroad

 

 

 

 

Doctors create first-ever trans-sexual dog

 

 

 

 

Shepherd stolen instead of sheep

 

 

 

 

Man performs act of extreme striptease in the center of Kiev

 

 

 

 

Laura Bush and Lyudmila Putin do not understand their husbands' jokes

 

 

 

 

Two U.S. travelers to be evacuated from the Russian North

 

 

 

 

After you have finished, change partner(s) and compare what you spoke about with your earlier partner(s). Reach agreement on the scores you assigned to the headline criteria.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Russia to start 24-hour TV news in English

Russia will soon _____ ___ ____ 24-hour English language TV news channel. Its name is Russia Today and it will __ _______ __ CNN. The new channel will broadcast up-to-the-minute news of world and _______ _______. Everything will be from a Russian __________.

Russia Today will _________ __ _________ in Russia, Europe, the USA and some C.I.S. and Asian countries. It is ___ __ ______ from as early as late summer. The launch may coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s ______ __ ___ ____ in September.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia Today, said it was ____ __ ________ CNN and the BBC. She said Russia Today will offer __ __________ __ the U.S.-British stranglehold on English-speaking world news coverage. She also said it would
____ __________ _______.

The channel __ __ ___ ___ Russia’s tightly controlled state media. Many people have _________ _______ over how much independence journalists will have. Others fear the Kremlin will inject propaganda into the news stories. Many doubt whether non-Russians ____ ____ __ _____ Russian news in English.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Russia Today TV news channel. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. CNN vs. BBC: Make a poster comparing the BBC and CNN. Write a conclusion telling the reader which channel you think is better and why. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you have the same ideas?

4. MY STATION: Write a letter to the leader of your country explaining why his/her government should immediately start a state run TV news channel in English. Read your letter to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

channel

station

b.

broadcast

air

c.

viewpoint

angle

d.

initially

first

e.

speech

address

f.

alternative

substitute

g.

stranglehold

dominance

h.

expressed

voiced

i.

inject

put in

j.

doubt uncertainty

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

news

channel

b.

broadcast

up-to-the-minute news

c.

from a Russian

viewpoint

d.

It is due to screen

from as early as late summer

e.

The launch may

coincide with

f.

offer an

alternative

g.

English-speaking world

news coverage

h.

an arm of Russia’s

tightly-controlled media

i.

people have expressed

doubts

j.

the Kremlin will inject

propaganda into the news stories

GAP FILL:

Russia to start 24-hour TV news in English

Russia will soon start its own 24-hour English language TV news channel. Its name is Russia Today and it will be similar to CNN. The new channel will broadcast up-to-the-minute news of world and Russian affairs. Everything will be from a Russian viewpoint.

Russia Today will initially be broadcast in Russia, Europe, the USA and some C.I.S. and Asian countries. It is due to screen from as early as late summer. The launch may coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the U.N. in September.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia Today, said it was time to challenge CNN and the BBC. She said Russia Today will offer an alternative to the U.S.-British stranglehold on English-speaking world news coverage. She also said it would make interesting viewing.

The channel is an arm of Russia’s tightly controlled state media. Many people have expressed doubts over how much independence journalists will have. Others fear the Kremlin will inject propaganda into the news stories. Many doubt whether non-Russians will want to watch Russian news in English.

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