Praxis II Journalism Test Questions

1. What was the legal significance of the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger for the practice of journalism?

a. It established that local administrators were legally an extension of the British government and that their administration could not be legally criticized in print.
b. It established that an independent press, if not administered by a government authority, was inherently incapable of libel.
c. It established that advocating independence from Britain in print was an illegal act of rebellion.
d. It established that published material could not be considered libelous if it was based on fact.

2. Edward R. Murrow contributed to the development of American journalism in which of the following ways?

a. He established the first sensationalist tabloid television, focusing on lurid stories and “soft news” rather than headline news.
b. He publicly challenged the news establishment by pointing out that newsrooms would remain open to charges of bias as long they overwhelmingly employed only white men.
c. He actively reported on issues in the public interest and operated largely outside the traditional authority of a corporate newsroom.
d. He was the first television news anchor hired for his on-camera presence without having any significant background in reporting.

3. Which of the following best demonstrates the contribution made by Frederick Douglass to the development of the American press?

a. He established a children’s press whose textbooks instilled generations of children with common republican values.
b. His founded a successful abolitionist newspaper that became widely read nationwide.
c. He wrote the first editorials by an African-American writer published in mainstream newspapers.
d. His libel trial established the first legal guidelines about publishing anti-slavery views in slaveholding states.

4. Which of the following is NOT a traditional role of the official press in an authoritarian society?

a. To act as an officially sanctioned “voice of the people” in states without democratic representation
b. To suppress news stories seen by the government as damaging to public order
c. To hire journalists from among favored associates of the ruling party
d. To champion government platforms

5. Which of the following is an example of how the medium affects the interpretation of the information reported?

a. The McCarthy hearings, which were followed closely by Americans in daily newspapers and television reports across the country
b. Statistics demonstrating that more Americans vote in nationally televised talent shows than vote for President
c. A report suggesting that a decline in book sales can be tied to the widespread availability of Internet access to American households.
d. The 1960 presidential debate in which radio listeners and television viewers came to two different conclusions about who had won

6. A student mentions during a class discussion that she has heard that the Spanish-American War marked a new role for the news media. How could a journalism teacher clarify the new role the media played in this war?

a. Have the students read a story by an American reporter and one by a Spanish reporter about the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine
b. Have the students read a factual account of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, and then show them an illustrated story that appeared in a Hearst newspaper
c. Compare an editorial from 1898 with a historical analysis of the war written after World War II
d. Explain the unprecedented authority President Roosevelt had to control unflattering editorials in daily newspapers

7. Which of the following best defines the significance of the Supreme Court case Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier?

a. It allows school authorities to censor student publications if they determine that the publications are not a “public forum” for student expression.
b. It states that a student newspaper serves a “valid pedagogical purpose” and as such enjoys absolute freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
c. It states that libel laws that apply to most newspapers do not apply to student newspapers, which are often written and edited by minors.
d. It affirms that underground and extracurricular publications are not official student publications, and as such, are not granted the legal First Amendment protections that an official student newspaper enjoys.

8. Which of the following is the strongest example of the press’ function as a source of influence on public opinion?

a. The publication of a set of point-counterpoint columns about a series of local bond issues
b. The publication of the results of a public survey of confidence in government
c. An editorial advocating for the repeal of local zoning laws
d. A lead news story in which a government leader and a citizens’ group leader are quoted offering opposite viewpoints on a proposed tax increase

9. Which of the following stories’ messages is significantly distorted through the use of an irrelevant detail?

a. A soft profile about a local politician’s part-time rock band that mentions his political differences with his band mates
b. A feature story of a local business owner running for political office in which she admits to having employed illegal laborers
c. A profile of several local Jewish and Arab business leaders that mentions ongoing hostilities in the Middle East
d. A news report about a local citizen protesting property tax rates that includes details about an immigration violation he committed twenty years previously

10. What is one important way that business interests influence the content of television news?

a. Private businesses purchase airtime for their commercials and can withdraw their financial support for news programs they find unacceptable.
b. Federal laws require broadcast networks to give equal airtime to political candidates of all the major political parties during an election, regardless of the political opinions of business leaders.
c. News programs often hire union production crews whose unions may have official opinions on public issues.
d. A company that has been unfavorably portrayed in a news program has a legal right to challenge on air the facts presented in the story.

Praxis II Journalism Test Answer Key