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Kathleen Mills
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Interviewing Historical Media Figures

Interviewing Historical Media Figures

Kathleen Mills
Bloomington High School South
Bloomington, Ind.

Title: Interviewing Historical Media Figures

Overview and rationale

  • To learn about some of journalism’s most significant figures.
  • To have students practice open-ended questions.
  • To improve students’ interviewing skills.

Goals for Understanding

  • Students will gain an understanding of historical and contemporary media figures.
  • Students will research their media figures.
  • Students will develop a list of 10 open-ended questions.
  • Students will practice their interviewing skills with a partner.
  • Each interview will be presented to the class.

Overview and Timeline (Three 65-minute class periods.)

Activity 1

  • Present a brief historical overview before beginning research project.
  • Explain what open-ended questions are and practice writing several open-ended questions.
  • Each pair of students will select one figure from the list below.
  • Research the life and work of the historical or contemporary figure.
  • Write 10 open-ended questions and answers about the figure. For example, for Carl Bernstein ask, “How did you get to work on the Watergate story?”
  • Students have two class periods to research, write 10 open-ended questions and practice their interview.
  • One of the paired students will be the historical figure and the other will be the interviewer.

Activity 2

  • Interviews will be presented to the class during the third class period.
  • Students will take notes on each of the presentations for a future test.

Possible subjects:  You could add many more!

Early America:
Thomas Paine
John Peter Zenger
Thomas Jefferson
Mark Twain

Robert Capa
Margaret Bourke-White
Walker Evans

Helen Thomas
Ernie Pyle
Lesley Stahl
John Hockenberry
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Hunter S. Thompson
Katie Couric
Diane Sawyer
Edward R. Murrow
Walter Cronkite
Daniel C. Pearl

Publishers/Media Executives:
Henry Luce
Ted Turner
Joseph Pulitzer
William Randolph Hearst
Katharine Graham
Arianna Huffington
Warren Buffett

Cartoon character:
The Yellow Kid

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