Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Ethics of News Reports
Present a recent video, audio, or print media report to the students. Discuss the message intended, the information presented, and the likelihood of the report being completely accurate and objective. With the class, try to check the sources and use alternate resources to confirm or refute the information presented.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Reports from Abroad: Matthew Halton on the CBC Digital Archives website, where they will view the clip "Covering the Nuremberg Trials." Students will then select any of Matthew Halton's reports from the site and research the accuracy of the report. Students can use history books, other archived news reports, and so on, to determine the likely accuracy of Halton's report.
Students will then write a critical analysis of Halton's methods as a foreign- news journalist.
Revisit and Reflect
Have volunteers present their analysis to the class. Keep track of how many students support Halton and how many criticize. Ask: As news consumers, how does a reporter's subjectivity affect our view of the world? How can we change our reading and viewing habits to ensure that we get an objective or more fact-based worldview?
Students can write a 300- to 500-word news report based on a current event or issue. They should consider the types of information necessary to create a good report and they must list at least four sources of information, with one source being a primary source.