This packet allows your students to explore ethics and journalism. Through this activity they view three controversial photographs that were taken and published by professional journalists but stirred up controversy due to the graphic content or story topic. This activity is very thought-provoking and engaging. Students view each photograph, read a short paragraph or two about the context surrounding its taking and publishing, and finally analyze each one for the ethical questions it raises and the aspects that make it controversial. Students then must decide whether or not they would have published each photo themselves as an editor of a major newspaper. A journal reflection prompt and an extension activity are also included.
This activity opens up excellent meaningful discussion about moral issues and common ethical dilemmas faced by journalists. It is a great standalone activity for a high school lesson on ethics or it can easily be incorporated into a journalism unit or life skills unit. Moreover, this is an excellent activity for your newspaper staff if you are a newspaper advisor. The photos are engaging and the critical thinking questions spark intellectual classroom discussion and debate!
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