Daily Video

March 23, 2020

PBS 2-minute news summary: coronavirus, 2020 Olympics postponed, Afghanistan


Directions: Read the news summary, watch the two-minute PBS NewsHour news wrap (March 23) and answer complete the activity below.

Teacher’s note: If you are making plans for distance learning, take a look at our list of PBS resources that covers a variety of subjects for middle and high school students. 

News summary: As the spread of the coronavirus accelerates, more than a fifth of the global population has been ordered or urged to stay home, including in a growing number of U.S. states.

In this news summary:

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden pressed President Trump to use his full authority against the coronavirus.
  • This summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo will be postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The games will likely take place next year.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to try to end a stalemate blocking peace talks with the Taliban.

Current events activity:

1a. After watching the news wrap, which news story would you be most likely to share with a family member? How about a friend? Why does the topic of news often come up in conversation with friends or family? Why might it be useful to talk about the news with another person?

1b. Media literacy: Next, watch one of the segments from the list below that catches your eye. Which piece did you choose? Who was interviewed in the story? Who would you like to have heard from? If you have questions following the piece, what next steps could you take?

More on Afghanistan:
How long has the U.S. been fighting the war in Afghanistan? Why did the U.S. send troops into Afghanistan? Why did Secretary of State Mike Pompeo make a surprise visit to that country?

Dig deeper:  What are the connections between the Washington Post story below on Afghanistan to the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers? Is this another case of history repeating itself? How do instances like the Pentagon Papers and the Afghanistan documents erode people’s trust in the government? What can be done about it?

Read At War With the Truth by the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock to learn about “a confidential trove of government documents” obtained by the paper which “reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rose pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.” You may also want to watch NewsHour’s story about Whitlock’s piece here, Explosive investigative report says U.S. government misled public on war in Afghanistan.

You may have learned about the “Pentagon Papers” in school. If not, conduct some research on the papers and compare/contrast them with the documents on Afghanistan in the Post’s article. Start with this History Channel video:

Extension activities: 

  1. Super Civics 2020 election activity: Read Will it ever be possible to get out the youth vote?, watch the accompanying PBS Student Reporting Labs teen-produced videos and answer the discussion questions.
  2. Music education: Have your students tag their music videos using #SongsOfComfort and @NewsHour. Find out more about how to participate in this Extra Daily News Story: Yo-Yo Ma provides comfort in a time of crisis


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here. Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


To learn more about the coronavirus and how to get the support you need, read Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools by PBS WETA’s Colorin Colorado.

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