Journalism and War

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11204

War doesn't seem so scary when you watch it on TV or the Internet or read about it. But reporters are right there, armed with pencil and camera. Watch and learn the importance of conflict journalism!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Journalism seems like it would be a nice, safe job.

You can work from your laptop, tapping out news reports, or hold a microphone and tell the world about the latest happenings, on camera, wearing fine clothes. The world of conflict journalism, however, is extremely dangerous.

Visit this link to see the yearly tally of those who lost their life while on assignment: Journalists & media staff killed

The job doesn't even pay that well.

  • Would you work as a conflict journalist? 
  • Why would someone risk his or her safety — or even life — to cover global conflicts?

When you think about it, we all live within a limited experience.

If you are like most people, you go through your daily routine seeing mostly the same people and places, speaking the same language (or two), and eating the same foods.

Journalism gives us information about people, places, and events to which we otherwise have no access. In the case of war, it is especially important to know what is going on, because so many lives are at stake.

Read this speech delivered by journalist Marie Colvin in 2010, "Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice," courtesy of The Guardian, US edition (Colvin was killed less than two years later while covering the conflict in Syria). As you read, write down answers to these questions:

  • What credibility does she have in the matter of conflict journalism?
  • Why does she believe conflict journalism is important?
  • How does she think it has changed? What does she think has remained the same?

Share your answers and discuss with a parent or teacher:

  1. What examples of war reporting stand out in your memory?
  2. What is the role of journalism during a war?
  3. What are the possible problems or biases that can creep into war reporting?

People do not always have noble intentions in covering conflicts.

The Yellow Journalism of the early 20th century famously exaggerated events of the day in order to stoke conflict and sell newspapers. Without journalists on the scene, however, we might have no idea what is occurring, or who is responsible for specific events.

Continue on to the Got It? section to examine some World War I journalism.

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