Educator Resources


Curriculum guides have been developed for teachers and students in middle school and high school, geared toward history and journalism or media literacy classes. These suggested guides include discussion prompts and exercises and follow the Common Core standards for easier implementation within existing programs. Below you will find separate guides for six "Moments of Truth." In addition, we offer a Curriculum-Guide, Curriculum-End-of-Unit-Tasks and Curriculum-After-Video-Writing-Prompt-Rubric for use across all of the guides.

Civil Rights

At a time when the mainstream media chose not to cover widespread discrimination and violence towards blacks, African-American journalists made many brave decisions to both cover and publish violent content. Because of the work of the black press, the American public was exposed to the discrimination facing, and horrendous acts of violence suffered by, African-Americans. This public awareness would eventually lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.

The lesson uses the following videos. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: Civil Rights.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


Moses Newson, a journalist who covered the Civil Rights movement for black-owned newspapers, remembers riding on a bus of black and white "Freedom Riders" in 1961 as they traveled through the South and encountered violence in Alabama.

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Gene Roberts, former newspaper editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and author of "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation," the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on press coverage during the Civil Rights struggle, talks about the importance of the black press as the conscience…

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In August 1955, a 14-year-old black boy named Emmett Till from Chicago visited his relatives in Money, Mississippi, and was brutally murdered by whites, who said he whistled at a married white woman. Moses Newson, an African American reporter, covered the Till trial and subsequent not-guilty jury verdict. Newson says…

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Supplemental Resources

“How The Civil Rights Movement Was Covered In Birmingham”
National Public Radio, All Things Considered, Audie Cornish, June 18, 2013

“Reporting on the Civil Rights Movement”
Neiman Reports, Jack Nelson, September 15, 2003

The Civil Rights Struggle and the Press”
Neiman Reports, Mary C. Curtis, June 15, 2007

“Selma, Alabama: The Role of News Media in the Civil Rights Movement”
PBS Learning Media

“Journalists Discuss Coverage of Movement : Media Role in Civil Rights Era”
The Los Angeles Times, David Treadwell, April 5, 1987

“Facing a Mob”
The Newseum, October 31, 2013

“Black media has a plan to stay relevant as mainstream journalists encroach”
Columbia Journalism Review, Carlett Spike, July 20, 2016

“WWNO Reporter Describes Arrest While Covering Baton Rouge Protests”
New Orleans Public Radio, Ryan Kailath and Eve Troeh, July 11, 2016

“Black Lives Matter: the movement, the organization, and how journalists get it wrong” by Jephie Bernard
Columbia Journalism Review, Jephie Bernard, April 1, 2016




Vietnam War

While the U.S. government created overly optimistic materials that glorified the the Vietnam War, media outlets reported on the reality. Eventually, the public noticed the discrepancies between the government and media reports. Their newfound awareness eventually led to increased public pressure that put an end to the Vietnam War.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the Vietnam War.

The lesson uses the following video. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: Vietnam War.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


On Nov. 12, 1969, reporter Seymour Hersh broke a shocking story about a massacre of hundreds of unarmed men, woman and children in the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai. Hersh explains that the story started with an anonymous tip and led him to Fort Benning, Georgia, where the Army…

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Supplemental Resources

Complete Text of the Pentagon Papers

The Virtual Vietnam Archive
Texas Tech University

Vietnam Online
PBS, American Experience

“4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops”
The New York Times, John Kifner, May 4, 1970

“Complete testimony of Lt. John Kerry to Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” 
Congressional Record, April 22, 1971

“1969: Millions march in US Vietnam Moratorium”
BBC

“How Could Vietnam happen? An Autopsy”
The Atlantic, James C. Thomson, April 1968

“Muhammad Ali and Vietnam”
The Atlantic, Krishnadev Calamur, June 4, 2016

“The Vietnam War is still killing people”
The New Yorker, George Black, May 20, 2016

“Vietnam: The War that Killed Trust”
The New York Times, Karl Marlantes, January 7, 2017

 




Watergate

The existence of the free press is what allowed the media to lead the investigation into Nixon following the Watergate scandal. Government investigations of the alleged wiretapping and secret recordings were influenced by the reporting by the media at the time. Journalists brought attention to the connection between Nixon's re-election and the illicit activities, and their work helped bring the truth about the scandal to the public.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the Watergate scandal.

The lesson uses the following video. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: Watergate.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Barry Sussman and Ben Bradlee reflect on The Washington Post reporting that uncovered the Watergate scandal and brought down a president.

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Supplemental Resources

“FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats”
The Washington Post, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, October 10, 1972

“Forty years after Watergate, investigative journalism is at risk”
The Washington Post, Leonard Downie Jr., June 7, 2012

“Woodward and Bernstein: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought”
The Washington Post, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, June 8, 2012

“Deep Throat's Legacy to Journalism”
NPR, Alicia C. Shepard, December 18, 2008

“Nixon”
PBS, American Experience, Film and primary sources

President Nixon’s Resignation Address
August 8, 1974

“Nixon’s Enemies List”
PBS

“’I’m the guy they called Deep Throat’”
Vanity Fair, John D. O’Connor, July 2005

The Watergate Story
The Washington Post

“The Idiot Culture”
The New Republic, Carl Bernstein, June 8, 1992




Post-September 11th

During the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11, the media was in a position to be manipulated by the government, and fell short in reporting on the secret CIA prisons and the true motives for going to war in the Middle East. Journalists started investigating the government to uncover details about the military actions at the time.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the post-9/11 media.

The lesson uses the following videos. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: Post 9/11.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


The ABC News and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour talks about how the American media failed to question President George W. Bush's justifications for going to war with Iraq.

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Washington Post reporter Dana Priest talks about the painstaking reporting efforts after 9/11 to learn the smallest details about how the U.S. military waged the war on terror.

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Supplemental Resources

“Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive”

“FAQ About 9/11”
National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Speech by President George W. Bush
September 11, 2001

“CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons”
The Washington Post, Dana Priest, November 2, 2005

“U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations”
The Washington Post, Dana Priest and Barton Gellman, December 26, 2002

“Torture at Abu Ghraib”
The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh, May 10, 2004

“How American journalists covered torture after 9/11”
Columbia Journalism Review, Eric Umansky, August 8, 2014

“A History of Publishing, and Not Publishing, Secrets”
The New York Times, Scott Shane, July 6, 2006

“Top Secret America”
PBS FRONTLINE

“The 'Top Secret America' Created After Sept. 11”
NPR’s Fresh Air, An interview with Washington Post reporter Dana Priest

Meet the Press
July 2, 2006

“The Executive Editor on the Word ‘Torture' ”
The New York Times, Dean Baquet, August 7, 2014

“The Media and 9/11: How We Did”
The Atlantic, Raymond Bonner, September 9, 2011

 

 




McCarthyism

The media played a major role in bringing down Joseph McCarthy. While he made accusations about communists and started a major witch hunt in the American political scene, journalists worked to expose his lies and end the unrest and widespread claims of treason.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of McCarthyism.

The lesson uses the following video. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: McCarthyism.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


Murrey Marder remembers his reporting for The Washington Post that helped to unmask Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

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Supplemental Resources

“Edward R. Murrow: A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”
See it Now (CBS-TV), March 9, 1954

"’A Final, All-Out Battle’: A Speech on Communists in the State Department by Senator Joseph McCarthy”
PBS, Freedom: A History of Us, February 9, 1950

“McCarthy Hearings Transcripts”
The United States Senate, 1953-54

“Why I wrote ‘The Crucible’”
The New Yorker, Arthur Miller, October 21, 1996

“The New McCarthyism of Donald Trump”
The Atlantic, Peter Beinart, July 21, 2015




Corporate Power

Many media outlets shy away from exposing corporate power. When journalists do investigate and report on abuses of corporate power, however, they do a major public service and can save lives by bringing the truth to light.

This is not a chronological history lesson. This lesson, instead, asks students to critically examine a historical event with which they are already familiar. Prior to this lesson, students should have a basic understanding of corporate power and the media.

The lesson uses the following video. For additional videos, a historical timeline on the topic and more, view Moments of Truth: Corporate Power.

For Teachers
Lesson Plan

For Students
Viewing Guide


New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich talks about Philip Morris' $10 billion lawsuit against him and the American Broadcasting Companies for his reporting on how tobacco companies add nicotine to cigarettes.

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Supplemental Resources

“Cancer by the Carton”
Reader’s Digest, Roy Norr, December 1952

“The Quiet Victory of the Cigarette Lobby: How It Found the Best Filter Yet—Congress”
The Atlantic, Elizabeth Drew, September 1965

“Up in Smoke”
AJR, Alicia C. Shephard, November 1995

“ABC’s Apology”
AJR, November 1995

“How the Big Tobacco Deal Went Bad”
The New York Times, Jim Estes, October 6, 2014

“15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go?”
NPR, October 13, 2013