and the Media
Students will read,
review, and write about the presidential inauguration as it appears in
By using the activities
of this lesson, the students will:
- use local and
national newspapers to gain information about the inauguration;
- compare newspapers,
periodicals, news broadcasts and the Internet as sources of information;
- develop their own
editorial on the inauguration and the presidency.
In our modern society,
we live in a time known as the "Information Age." Information can be acquired
through a number of sources that use modern technology to bring events
and ideas to us almost instantaneously. With so much information at our
disposal, our democracy requires that citizens know how to consume, analyze,
and filter information and its sources.
of a president is a world event that carries a high level of symbolism
for the people of the United States and all over the world. With the images
of television and the speed of the new medium known as the Internet, students
of government, politics, and history will need to have the skills required
to evaluate information and express their opinions in a way that is logical
and reasonable to others.
- Have students watch
the local and national news broadcasts of the inauguration. Have them
create a chart that compares the two types of broadcasts. Students should
take notes to list the differences in how the local and national news
handled the following ideas:
- How the president
prepared for the inaugural ceremony
- The ceremony
itself: its symbols, traditions, and people
- How the new
presidential administration will affect the American people
- Reactions from
people in your state, county, and community
- The opinions
of people from around the world
information on past inaugurations and presidential administrations
- Bring into class
the local newspaper from January 20 and a newspaper with a national
perspective, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times,
the Christian Science Monitor, or USA Today.
compare articles on the inauguration using the same ideas as listed
above. Be sure to have them visit the opinion-editorial page of the
local and national papers. Have students summarize one editorial by
writing a paragraph about it. In their summary, students should state
whether they agree with the editorial and why.
- If the Internet
is available, allow students to access the Web sites of major news providers.
Have students develop brief reports on how using the Web is better or
worse than using such other media as newspapers, television, and magazines.
Have students comment on the uses of multimedia, the reliability of
information on the Internet, and its global scope.
might visit include:
- Have students keep
a scrapbook on the Bush inauguration for a week leading up to and/or
a week following the inauguration. Students may want to keep newspaper
and magazine clippings, maintain a journal on viewing news broadcasts,
or print out Web pages they encountered—or collect all these in
one scrapbook. Allow students to comment on how effective and how accurate
their news sources are, or how these sources might change the delivery
of news. In their journals, students will want to classify stories as
news, features, or opinion. Students can share or present their opinions
and summaries after the event has receded from the news.
- After viewing and
discussing the inauguration, have students write editorials on the Bush
presidency. Have students send their letters to the editor of the local
newspaper or post their efforts to their school Web site. Develop a
Web page that looks like a student publication. Students may want to
"report" on the events of the inaugural, and their letters can be published
online. Allow the online community to read and respond to online student
publications. Read responses in class or assign them to students to
The lesson can be
evaluated through the following measures:
- the accuracy of
student analysis, both written and oral;
- the variety of
sources the student used in comparisons of media coverage;
- demonstrated understanding
of the issues presented, as demonstrated in the written editorial.
- Compare local
or regional news coverage of your state governor's inauguration to the
coverage of the presidential inauguration.
- Explore how international
news media sources cover the U.S. presidential inauguration. What differences
and similarities exist between national and international coverage of
the event? Some news sources to investigate include: