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Fit to Print: Teacher Manual
A Problem about Yellow Journalism and the Road to War with Spain
The Teacher Manual contains detailed instructions on how to implement the unit. It describes how to conduct the project, how to develop problem-solving skills and awareness, and how to lead students into considering all sides of the situation.
National Association for Gifted Children Curriculum Award-Winner!
The foundation of Fit to Print is the issue of journalistic responsibility. Students assume the role of newspaper editors during the late 1800s who work for the struggling New York Times, which is in fierce competition with the New York Journal. In order to boost sales, the Journal has descended into publishing the attention-grabbing headlines of yellow journalism, which the owner of the Times, Adolph Ochs, refuses to allow. Students must decide how to cover the news without sensationalizing it and yet still maintain enough of an audience to keep the paper solvent.
The backdrop for this problem is the situation in Cuba and the impending Spanish-American War. One of the students’ greatest challenges is reporting important breaking news without attempting to sway public opinion in the process. Among their assignments is to write concise, fact-based articles that maintain this level of journalistic integrity. This allows the students not only to learn about a historical event but also to practice their writing skills.