To prepare students to view all or part of this film, we suggest implementing one or more of the following activities to:
- Familiarize students with vocabulary used in the film
- Engage students with themes the film explores
- Provide background information about the political conflicts addressed in Reporter
- Introduce students to the main characters in Reporter
One or more of these ideas, in addition to your own, can be used to create a lesson plan relevant to your students.
Some vocabulary terms you might review before showing Reporter include editorial, news story, columnist, child soldier, genocide, advocate, and media. You could build a word wall with these terms. Facing History teachers often have students create working definitions for concepts they will be exploring in a unit. Before viewing Reporter, students might create and share working definitions for concepts such as compassion,reporter,anduniverse of responsibility. Word clouds are a visual way to share ideas about a concept. Websites such as www.wordle.net or www.tagxedo.com can help you and your students create word clouds for concepts addressed in Reporter, such as journalist (reporter), media, and social responsibility.
Engaging Students with Themes Explored in the Film
The Reporter study guide includes Pre-Viewing Questions that can be used to prompt discussion and/or journal writing. In addition to these questions, you might create an anticipation guide that asks students to indicate their opinions on controversial issues raised in the film. Statements you might use for an anticipation guide include:
- It is important to know what is going on in the world.
- The role of a journalist is to report the facts objectively without advocating for a particular agenda.
- People are less likely to donate to a cause that helps one person as opposed to one that helps many people.
- It is as important to know what is happening in your local community as it is to know about what is happening on the other side of the globe.
- An article written by a professionally trained reporter in an established newspaper can be trusted more than a blog post written by an average citizen.
Providing background information about Congo and/or Darfur
Reporter focuses on Kristof’s work around the world, but the film addresses in particular his reporting on the genocide in Darfur and the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo). Ask students what they know about the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Darfur. For example, can they find these places on a map? View the Additional Resources section for web resources related to Congo and Darfur. Students can look for information at these sites, or you can print out pages for them to look through in class. You can use a K-W-L chart to structure this activity.
Introducing the main characters in Reporter
Reporter is mostly told through the perspectives of three Americans on a reporting trip to central Africa: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and the two winners of the 2007 “Win a Trip with Nick” contest, Leana Wen and Will Okun. To introduce students to these individuals and to the film, you can use the pre-viewing readings found here. After reading one or more of these texts, you might have students anticipate what they think they will see in Reporter and what questions they have for Nick, Leana, and Will. Perhaps some of these questions will be answered as students watch the film.