Investigation Three: What Do We Learn from the News? How Reporters' Choices Shape our Understanding of the World

The readings in this investigation have been selected to deepen our understanding of the ideas presented in chapters 13 through 17 (1:01:40–1:19:38) of the documentary Reporter (approximately 20 minutes). In this clip, Nicholas Kristof, Will Okun, and Leana Wen travel to the headquarters of General Laurent Nkunda, leader of a rebel militia fighting against the Congolese government and known for perpetrating war crimes. Kristof interviews Nkunda about his role in the civil war and is then granted the opportunity to interview child soldiers captured by Nkunda’s army.

Reading 3: “A Student, a Teacher and a Glimpse of War”

The following editorial was written by columnist Nicholas Kristof and published in the New York Times opinion section on June 21, 2007.


I’m taking a student, Leana Wen, and a teacher, Will Okun, along with me on this trip to Africa. Here in this thatch-roofed village in the hills of eastern Congo, we had a glimpse of war, and Leana suddenly found herself called to perform.

Investigation Two: Should Reporters Advocate? Exploring the Role of Journalists

The readings in this investigation have been selected to deepen our understanding of ideas presented in chapters 10 through 13 (46:18–1:01:40) of the documentary Reporter (approximately 15 minutes). In this clip, we are introduced to Yohanita, a dying Congolese woman who becomes the focus for Nicholas Kristof’s editorial “A Student, a Teacher and a Glimpse of War.” Where Kristof sees a subject for his column about the victims of war in Congo, Leana Wen, a medical student, sees a patient in need of care.

Connections for Investigation One

1. What is empathy? What is compassion? When have you felt empathy and/or compassion for something or someone? What provoked this feeling in you? Did you do anything as a result?

2. What does “universe of responsibility” mean? What individuals and groups do you include in your universe of responsibility? Why? How does your universe of responsibility influence the choices you make about how to treat others?  

Study Guide: Using This Guide

The purpose of this online study guide is to help students learn about dilemmas of international justice through exploring the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). These materials have been designed to be used with three film modules based on the feature-length documentary The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court by Skylight Pictures. Each module focuses on a specific theme and content area.

Investigation One: Why Don't People Act? Confronting Psychic Numbing

The readings in this investigation have been selected to deepen our understanding of ideas presented in chapters 3 and 4 (12:05–19:56) of the documentary Reporter (approximately 8 minutes). In this clip, Stephen Colbert asks his guest on The Colbert Report, Nicholas Kristof, “Why should we pay attention to the rest of the world?” Kristof answers this question by referring to social science research about “the psychology of compassion” and explains how he applies this knowledge when writing about the genocide in Darfur.


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