CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Reporting Live from Halifax

History, Social Studies, Media Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To retell the story of the Halifax Explosion using contemporary broadcast techniques
Students will present an accurate, live, video news account of the Halifax Explosion.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Review a brief clip from a recent national news broadcast with the students. Identify the key components of a broadcast news presentation. Ask: What makes live reporting effective or ineffective? How does it differ from newspaper reporting? Record their responses on the board or chart paper.


Outline the Opportunity


In small groups, students will review the topic The Halifax Explosion on the CBC Digital Archives website. Groups will take notes on the information they need to produce a three-minute live broadcast from the scene of the Halifax Explosion. They will decide the elements to feature and organize the reporting, making sure all group members have a clearly defined role to play. Groups can use the download sheet Group Broadcast to organize their roles. All stories will be broadcast to the class and videotaped if materials are available.


Groups may use correspondents, live interviews, or other elements recorded on the board. Allow groups time for at least one rehearsal before going "live to air."


Revisit and Reflect


Have groups broadcast to their classmates. Following the broadcasts, discuss with students the ethics and limits of reporting about disasters and tragedies. Ask:


Should there be any restriction on images or impact?

Can live reporting be too difficult for an audience to view? Can it be too confusing?

Should reporters and an audience view, observe, and analyze people in the midst of a disaster?




Following the discussion, replay group videotapes. Students can analyze and critique their work in light of their discussion about reporting about disasters and tragedies.

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