Journalists and a Free Press

Dorothy Thompson


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 discuss the role of journalists in reporting the news to us all. Next, 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.

Related Resources


You're the Journalist!

Rated 5.0 out of 5
April 23, 2019

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.

Pinki Desai

Interactive Project at the End

Rated 4.0 out of 5
April 18, 2019

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.

Stacy Coglianese




Civics, English Language Arts, Social Studies


80-100 minutes


Dorothy Thompson, first amendment, free press, freedom of the press, Ida Tarbell, Joseph Pulitzer, journalists, media literacy, newspapers, Upton Sinclair


Citizen U CRF