The purpose of this high-interest project is to analyze how bias in the media can shape and affect our perceptions of truth and reality by observing this influence in a criminal case... that of Amanda Knox.
To identify examples of bias in the media
To annotate news articles for bias
To compile evidence to support an argument
To make observations about the impact of bias on our beliefs
Amanda Knox was an American student who was studying abroad in Italy in 2007 when her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was brutally murdered. Amanda Knox would go on to be found guilty of the crime, then have the verdict overturned, then be convicted again, and then finally have the verdict overturned by the Italian Supreme Court. Needless to say, the evidence on this case was complicated, and the media coverage of the case only made things worse through the bias that played out especially in the British and Italian presses.
Working with a group of peers, students will compile a case notebook on the Amanda Knox case. A case notebook is simply a notebook that contains an attorney’s compiled information on a case. The case notebook may either be a physical notebook (with sections) or an online e-book (with a hyperlinked table of contents).
This project contains a Google Docs template for students to use in order to compile their work in an online format.
The case notebook should include the following FOUR sections:
Articles from the case, annotated for bias, with paragraph explanations of how the article shows bias
A timeline of important events in the case accompanied by a Works Cited page
The completed Documentary guide for an Amanda Knox documentary of choice along with a Podcast Listening Guide for a podcast(s) of choice
A written summation of the case that includes the group's opinion of Amanda Knox's guilt or innocence as well as an explanation of the role they think the media played in the outcome of her trial(s)
After students compile the case notebook, they will hold a class debate on Amanda Knox's guilt or innocence and then reflect back on the overall project to consider how bias can shape our "truths" or "opinions."
True crime projects such as this one are high-interest. TV shows, movies, ID Discovery, documentaries, and podcasts that involve true crime are a part of inherent, human fascination. They captivate us even though we may not know why. We also love solving puzzles and mysteries, and this project will allow students to investigate a famous case and put together evidence to arrive at their own conclusions of the "truth."
Students are sure to be engaged in this project because Amanda Knox was not much older than high school students when she was arrested and charged for a murder that she might not have committed.
Please note that the murder of Amanda Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher, was a bloody and gruesome ordeal that involved sexual assault. As such, this project is more appropriate for high school students.
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