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press box: The section of a stadium or arena set aside for reporters. News Reporting & Writing (Eighth Edition) by the Missouri Group. Copyright 2005. Reproduced by permission of Bedford/St. Martins.

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Carol Rizzardi
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Lesson Plans

Famous Journalist Press Conference

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Famous Journalist Press Conference

Carol Rizzardi of Newfield High School in Selden, N.Y.

Carol Rizzardi
Newfield High School
Selden, N.Y.

Title: Famous journalist press conference


  • To learn about important journalists and their contributions
  • To learn how press conferences work
  • To learn research skills


Students research a famous journalist and hold a press conference for the class as that person. Students are told they “will introduce yourself to the class as that journalism, describe your major accomplishments and why you are famous, and answer any questions.”

Students are assessed on how well they know their journalists and their insightful into the person’s personality.


Students are given a handout explaining the assignment and listing suggested journalists from which to choose. Students can Select a journalist not listed but must have choice approved by teacher. I want to avoid students Selecting MTV veejays as journalists.

The list of journalists I give to students includes journalists of color, men and women, broadcast and print journalists, and modern and historical figures. Included are Nellie Bly, Carl Rowan, Bernard Shaw, Katharine Graham, Howard Cosell, Margaret Bourke-White, Pete Hamill, Ernie Pyle, etc.

After making the assignment, I tell the students that I will model the assignment for them. I tell them that Helen Thomas will be visiting our class. On the announced day, I wear the trademark red suit and enter the class as Helen Thomas. I speak to them as Helen Thomas and tell them stories about the presidents I covered. I ask for questions and answer them as best I can.

The response to this assignment ranged from students at the lecturn reading notes off index cards to “Hunter Thompson” complete with vodka bottle (empty, of course!), cigarettes, hat, copies of his books, and attitude!

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