GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 20, 2013

Debate Team creates current events website

By Isadora Decker-Lucke
Special to the Times

---- — MANCHESTER — A new website offers quick summaries of events taking place around the globe, and it was created and the pieces are written and edited by local teenagers.

The website World Buzz (http://worldbuzz.mersd.org/) is the creation of members of the Debate Team at Manchester Essex Regional High School and their teacher Daniel Jewett. The teens summarize articles about current events in order to stay informed about what is going on in the world.

“I have no doubt that the best way to improve students as debaters and thinkers is to have them more engaged with what’s going on in the world and the more we do that the more successful we’ll be,” Jewett said.

Freshman Bella Mastendino, along with the rest of the Debate Team, has taken weekly quizzes on the information written on the website, which offers an RSS feed.

“It makes me more informed on current events, but I think that it’s hard to find time to read everything and really pay attention to it,” she said. Dozens of articles are posted weekly, and students are responsible for knowing the information posted.

The Debate Team has attempted to expand and test debaters’ knowledge of current events in the past, but according to Jewett, this has been difficult with the vast amount of information available from many different sources online.

“The idea is to create one source in which students summarize the news and one in which they then have a common reading and learning experience that allows us to assess them,” he said.

Sophomore Nick Albertazzi, who has written articles for World Buzz, said the website has definitely made him more aware of what is going on in the world.

When everyone looks to the same place for information, the debate team can create a widespread base of knowledge that will help them in their future competitions, Jewett said.

The information that the students summarize in articles comes mainly from major newspapers, but during the fourth quarter they hope to diversify their sources by having students be responsible for specific sources or areas of the news.

Isadora Decker-Lucke, a junior, is an editor for Manchester Essex Regional High School’s student newspaper, The Independent.