ON WAR IN THE 21st CENTURY
Time: If you choose to analyze newspaper articles, newsmagazine articles, and online articles, devote a 90 minute class session to each category.
students with copies of Handout #2, Pentagon
Pool Reporting Information, and Handout #3,
New York Times' Reporting Philosophy. Have students read these two handouts
prior to step 3.
4. After students have finished reading, have students brainstorm silently for 10 minutes in their notebooks the similarities and differences that they can see in the three articles.
5. Share as a class the students' observations of similarities and differences in the news articles. You may want to write their observations on the board in two different columns labeled "Similarities" and "Differences". For instance, students might point out that all two articles contain the same quote, that one particular source appears in all three articles, that certain details appear in all leads or that one article included more analysis than the others or that all three articles arranged the information in different order from most to least important.
6. Lead a discussion of more specific points about these articles. Encourage students to discuss as a class each of the following:
7. Finally, ask students to determine if any of the information seems to have been derived from pool reporting or from a press conference. Does any of the information seem to have resulted from the actual legwork or reporting of the specific reporter(s)? How do they react, as readers, to each type of information? Return to the ideas from Handouts #2 and #3. After having read the Pentagon's guidelines for reporting and the NYT's reporting guidelines, how to they react to what they've seen so far in these first examples of war reporting? Do reporters seem to be following these guidelines or not? Can students cite specific proof from the articles?
8. For homework, provide students with a copy of Handout #4, "Battlefield Bylines", a discussion of how reporting in this war will be conducted. Have students read it and write a response to it. Students should react in two ways to this article. They should detail how these new practices and new guidelines for this war will affect them as readers. How will they react, as a reader, if they get a sense that the reporters are holding back on sensitive information that they may have seen firsthand, for example? Are there other controversial points that they would agree with or disagree with as readers? Students should also react to these new practices and guidelines as budding reporters. What is their reaction to the "embedding" of journalists in the combat units? Do they feel that they are going to be able to report better or not and why? What do they think will really happen to the reporter out there on the combat field with the unit commander and the troops?
to analyze three different articles on the initial days of war from three
different newsmagazines and three different online news sources. Address
the same criteria as assigned in this activity, but begin by discussing
You should devote a 90-minute class discussion to each category. If you choose to do this extension, you might want to save step 7 from the main activity until you finish analyzing all three types of articles.
National Council for the Social Studies
V: Individuals, Groups and Institutions
VI. Power, Authority and Governance
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