NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use
initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your
Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the
issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions
and/or their editorial.
Story: Movie Sparks
Debate over Diamond Trade, 12/04/06
For an in-depth
lesson plan on conflict diamonds click
1. Where do diamonds
2. What do diamonds symbolize in our society?
3. Are movies a good way to teach people about problems in the world?
here for printout)
1.What is a conflict
sometimes referred to as blood diamonds, are gems that are illegally
sold to fund civil wars and rebel conflicts.
2. What is the movie
Blood Diamond about?
starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, is set in Sierra Leone
in the 1990s, when rebels took control and profited from the country's
vast diamond mines. The movie includes graphic images of violence, child
soldiers and victims of rebel mutilation.
3. According to human
rights groups, are conflict diamonds still a problem today?
The war in Sierra
Leone ended in 2002, but human rights groups say the problem of diamond-funded
conflicts persists in other African countries, such as Liberia and Cote
4. What actions did
the World Diamond Council take before the movie's release?
The World Diamond
Council (WDC) launched a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign
in anticipation of the movie's release. The group has taken out full-page
ads in major newspapers and launched a Web site describing strides taken
to reduce the impact of conflict diamonds, as well as the economic benefits
of the diamond trade to African countries.
The WDC also appealed to the movie's director, Edward Zwick, asking
him to add information to the movie on changes in the industry, in particular
a regulation system called the Kimberley Process.
5. Which country purchases
the greatest amount of diamonds and which continent produces the most?
The United States
purchases about 65 percent of the world's diamonds, and 60 percent of
the world's diamonds
originate in Africa.
6. What is the Kimberley
Process, put in place in 2003, requires diamond shipments to be accompanied
by certificates stating they were not mined in countries at war.
7. Why is
it hard to determine how successful the Kimberley Process is?
involved agrees the Kimberley Process is a step in the right direction,
problems arise in measuring its success, in part, because of diamond
A panel of United
Nations experts reported in October that a significant number of diamonds
are smuggled each year from the war-torn country of Cote D'Ivoire into
Ghana, where they are certified as legitimate.
a journalist and the author of a book on the diamond industry, says
the Kimberley Process has not really affected how diamonds are smuggled
across national boarders. "It is a really superficial process,"
8. What does the director of Blood Diamond hope the movie will do?
Zwick said he
welcomes the opportunity for the movie to raise questions among consumers.
wanted to create in their minds is consciousness," Zwick told National
Public Radio. "A purchase of a diamond just has to be an informed
Activity (more research might be needed):
1. Do you think the
movie will change the way consumers think about diamonds? Will it make
some people stop buying diamond jewelry? Why or why not?
2. Who do you think
is responsible for keeping conflict diamonds off the world market? Is
it the industry, world organizations or governments? Why?
3. Do you think movie
makers have a responsibility to be historically accurate, or are they
just making entertainment?
How might a director's concerns about plot, characters and dialogue conflict
with complicated political and historical issues?
Write a 300-500 word
essay on any of these topics providing clear examples. Send your completed
editorial to NewsHour Extra (email@example.com).
Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.