Journalists and a Free Press
In this lesson, students learn about the crucial role journalists and reporters play in keeping the citizens in a democratic society informed about their community, the nation, and the world. First, students are introduced to the notion of “freedom of the press” from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and they discuss the role of journalists in reporting the news to us all. Then, students analyze primary sources related to famous journalists while referring to historical context for each in order to understand the important role these journalists played in their time. Finally, students create an issue of their own school newspaper to understand the responsibility their have as journalists to report accurately, fairly, and truthfully.
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Joseph Pulitzer historical newspaper coverage
Upton Sinclair historical newspaper coverage
Ida Tarbell historical newspaper coverage
Dorothy Thompson historical newspaper coverage
Ida B. Wells and the Activism of Investigative Journalism
Headlines & Heroes blog post
On the Freedom of the Press
poem by Benjamin Franklin
Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers and Broadcasters of World War II
Collection Spotlight: Women Photojournalists
Ethel Payne, First Lady of the Black Press
Collection Spotlight: National Press Club Luncheon Speeches 1954-1989
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You're the Journalist!
The lesson plan is very well designed with interactive resources for students to learn about the topics: journalist, journalism, and free press. I really liked the PowerPoint and the graphic organizer to analyze the resources. The last part of the lesson and the best part was when students became journalists and created their own newspaper. This culminating activity gave students the opportunity to research and report like journalists.
Interactive Project at the End
This lesson delves deep into the topics of journalists and free press. It not only has an exit slip at the end that takes only a few minutes, it has a PowerPoint to display to use throughout the lesson as well as a source packet for students to refer back to in pairs. The last step, is the “You are a Journalist” project. This allows students to apply what they have learned in a fun way.
Civics, Social Studies
Dorothy Thompson, first amendment, free press, freedom of the press, Ida Tarbell, Joseph Pulitzer, journalists, media literacy, newspapers, Upton Sinclair