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Lesson: Should media re-air a broadcast
in which two people are killed?

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Title

Should media re-air a broadcast in which two people are gunned down?

Description

Students will examine how to examine ethics of re-airing this broadcast using Poynter’s 10 questions to make good ethical choices.

Objectives

  • Students will collaboratively work through questions to help them make a decision involving journalism ethics.
  • Students will decide what they would do in relation to this real-world ethical dilemma.
  • Students will note the difference in decisions between public officials and on-air reporters and camera operators.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1.b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Length

40 minutes

Materials / resources

Ethical questions from Poynter Institute: Ask these 10 questions to make good ethical decisions

Access to JEA’s SPRC Foundations Package: Covering controversy

Lesson step-by-step
Before the lesson delivery:

Because of the sensitivity of the topic, the teacher should tell the students they will be discussing the rebroadcast of the reporter and cameraman who died. They will not be viewing the video, but will discuss the ethical considerations concerning its availability. (Note: Students who have experienced trauma may need to leave the room, some might need to pace. If your community has experienced trauma, it would be advisable to have a counselor ready if needed.)

Step 1 — initial question (5 minutes)
Teacher should ask students if they believe the broadcast of the reporter and cameraman who died should be rebroadcast? Why or why not?

You may even ask students if anyone would like to share that they watched the video and why. (This should be dependent on your class.)

Teacher should tell the students they will make the decision using 10 questions from the Poynter Institute.

Step 2 — small groups (15 minutes)

Separate students into groups. Project (or hand out if no projector is available) Poynter’s 10 questions. Ask each group to discuss and make notes on each of the questions.

Step 3 — decision (5 minutes)

Ask students to come to a consensus as to whether they would re-air the video.

Step 4 — large group debrief (10 minutes)

Ask groups to share their decision and rationale based on the 10 questions provided.

Step 5 — Another questions (5 minutes)
Have you ever seen footage of JFK’s assassination (or another high ranking official)? What are the differences in this instance and that of JFK’s?

(Answers will vary, but many will cite the newsworthiness of the president being assassinated versus a lesser public figure.)

Extension
Ask students (in their groups) to outline several approaches for covering controversial issues. They should use the Scholastic Press Rights Committee resource: Covering controversy as a starting point. Also, see this link. Teacher may want to start with slide 17 (the last slide) for Day 2 of this lesson.

Lesson by Lori Keekley

For more materials on this topic, go here.

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