Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Role of the Media
Explain to students that corporations often rely on the media for their success. One way they do this is by trying to get favorable coverage in newspapers and broadcast media. In an era of increasing media ownership concentration, the ties between corporations and media become even tighter. Many observers have drawn attention to the responsibilities of members of the news media in covering business. Several clips in the CBC Digital Archives website topic "Stranger than Fiction: The Bre-X Gold Scandal" focus on the media's role in "hyping" Bre-X and not asking tough questions. Discuss students' views on the responsibility of the media to be tough on corporations and to ask critical questions.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Stranger than Fiction: The Bre-X Gold
Scandal on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have them examine the clips "Gold
fever", "Walsh clears the air", and "Australian miners knew something was
awry." For each clip, have students summarize the main point of the clip in one
sentence, list which experts were quoted, and list the questions that were
As a class, discuss the Bre-X "facts" that were not reported, using students' responses.
Ask students to consider the following questions:
If that information had been in the press at the beginning of the scandal, how might things have turned out differently?
Did the press miss an opportunity to research the situation and report on the Australian experience? Why or why not?
Did the press have a responsibility to uncover and report on the Australian situation?
Revisit and Reflect
Ask students to reflect on their reactions to the clips they viewed and the class discussions. Distribute the download sheet The Role of the Media and ask students to map out their positions on the matter of media responsibility. Have students compare their positions.
Students can investigate media coverage of another Canadian company and determine whether they think coverage has become stricter since the time of the Bre-X scandal, and how the coverage differs from that of Bre-X.