Journalists and a Free Press

Dorothy Thompson


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.

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Civics, 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