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Day 2 Lesson - Reading the News Media and Interviewing A Journalist

News Media


Students will examine and analyze representations of Iranians in the media and then have an opportunity to interview a journalist based on their learning throughout the day.


Time Required

4 hours


Materials Needed

Flip camera

Reporter/Journalist willing to visit the class

Media materials discussing Iranian representation (e.g. Newsweek magazine cover)

Learning Objectives

Students will learn the basics of interview techniques

Students will conduct an interview on the Flip camera

Students will learn to analyze media messages for points of view presented, stereotypes reinforced, and for omitted concepts

Students will learn more about Persian culture and history through reading articles and discussing these concepts



1) Teacher will ask students what they already know about Iran and make a list of these pre-existing beliefs on the board. Teacher will probe students to be stereotypical if they are reticent (e.g. “I’ve often heard Iran associated with camels and sand…”)

                a) Teacher may ask students – where do  

these messages come from?


2) Teacher will present students with media messages that might contribute to these understandings/stereotypes. Exhibitions could include – magazine cover, movie trailers, book jackets, news reports and others. In our class, we looked at the above Newsweek cover, the trailer of the film, Stoning of Soraya M., the cover of Reading Lolita in Tehran, and the speech given by Columbia University president Lee Bollinger when Mahmoud Ahmadenijad was invited to speak at Columbia in 2007.

3)Teacher will ask students to analyze each media message according to the following questions: how are women represented? What images and ideas appear close together in time? What images and ideas are associated with one another? What feelings do you get from the piece? What is the relationship between text and image?  What kind of information or “knowledge” is being presented? What do these sources assume of their audience?


4)Teacher will lead a discussion of what is omitted from these messages and probe students to think about how they can create media forms that will allow them to re-implant those omitted pieces into the public lexicon. 


5) Teacher and students will watch youtube’s Reporter’s Center for tips on how to conduct good interviews. Teacher and students will discuss these tips.


6) Students will read an article about Iran by a prominent journalist and then write 2 or 3 in-depth interview questions that they would like to ask the journalist.

                a) In our case, we read “Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran” by Marguerite del Giudice. This

                article appeared in the August 2008 edition of National Geographic magazine.


7) Journalist will visit with the students and present on his/her research and writings.


8) Students will interview the journalist and film these interviews to post to our blog.