October 28th, 2004
Walter Cronkite: Witness to History
Lesson Overview

Overview:

Walter Cronkite was an eyewitness to the most important events of the latter part of the 20th century. With his desire to be first with a story and his commitment to solid background research, he came to be known as The Most Trusted Man in America. His reporting of news stories was considered to be fair and balanced, and when he did editorialize, as he did after the Tet Offensive, his views had the power to change governmental policy.

Much has changed since Walter Cronkite signed off in 1981. In order to examine how news reporting has evolved in the 21st century, students will explore the state and purpose of media today, research the history of the media and learn how to write using the journalistic style.

Grade Level:

9-12

Time:

  • one class period to craft interview questions.
  • one hour outside class for interviews.
  • one class period to debrief interviews.
  • one class period to introduce and set up You Are There skits
  • three class periods for research on time periods and media
  • two class periods to rehearse You Are There skits
  • four class periods to present and debrief You Are There skits
  • two class periods to explain, write and assess news articles

Subjects:

Media, History, Language Arts

Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to do the following:

  • devise well-crafted questions.
  • gather information from interview subjects.
  • draw conclusions.
  • use the Internet for extensive research.
  • work together in groups toward a coherent outcome.
  • conduct research.

Standards:

MCREL ARTS AND COMMUNICATION, Level 4, Standard 4
Knows ways in which various media forms throughout history (e.g., broadsheets, photography, newspapers, news broadcasts) have reflected or conveyed human events

MCREL ARTS AND COMMUNICATION, Level 4, Standard 5
Knows a range of arts and communication works from various historical and cultural periods

MCREL CIVICS, Level 4, Standard 19
Understands what is meant by “the public agenda,” how it is set, and how it is influenced by public opinion and the media

MCREL UNITED STATES HISTORY, Level 4, Standard 2

Understands the historical perspective

MCREL UNITED STATES HISTORY, Level 4, Standard 27

Understands how the Cold War and conflicts in Korean and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics

MCREL LANGUAGE ARTS, Level 4, Standard 1

Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

MCREL LANGUAGE ARTS, Level 4, Standard 2

Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

MCREL LANGUAGE ARTS, Level 4, Standard 3

Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions

MCREL LANGUAGE ARTS, Level 4, Standard 4

Gathers and uses information for research purposes

MCREL LANGUAGE ARTS, Level 4, Standard 10

Understands the characteristics and components of the media

Salinger

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