Courage, Risks and Accuracy in Reporting War Stories

Olga Kokino
University High School
Los Angeles, California

Long-term objective: Students will use the web and other available resources to research and gather information regarding war correspondents who have made contributions to the field of journalism and news reporting.

Short-term objectives: Students will compile a War Correspondent’s Notebook, a position editorial, and a commentary.


Activity 1: 2-week deadline, War Correspondent Notebook

  • Students will compile a notebook with information regarding a journalist from the list provided or of their own choosing with teacher’s prior approval. The War Correspondent’s Notebook should contain:
    • Title Page with the war correspondent’s name, date of birth/death, dateline, and heading.
    • Table of Contents
    • Photo of war correspondent
    • Map delineating war zone and general location correspondent was assigned
    • Collage page of five headlines (with dates and sources identified) from this specific time period
    • Two-page factual summary of war correspondent’s contributions to the field of journalism, describing the particular risks undertaken in this specific assignment, the courage and accuracy the correspondent showed, and the outcome of his/her efforts (if the information was accurately relayed; where or in what publication the dispatches were published, edited, withheld or censored).
    • Two-page creative journal (writing from the point-of-view of the war correspondent, students will compose a diary entry remarking on a period of time the war correspondent reported upon as if they are that journalist reporting from the field; descriptive, first-person account containing factual information that the correspondent may later have incorporated into a published article)
    • 35-50 line poem recreating a significant moment that may have been observed by the war correspondent on-assignment in a war zone (include sensory descriptions, specific place name, emotional reaction, reflective observation)
    • Brief one-page bio or timeline indicating major events in war correspondent’s journalistic career.
    • Webliography listing sources used and web sites pertaining to report; a bibliography may be substituted by those students who do not have internet access.

Activity 2: 1-week deadline, position editorial

  • Students will write an editorial taking a position on a current war, commenting upon the correspondent’s reporting from the field, including reflection upon valor, risk-taking, and the significance of his/her reporting (editorial should include at least one specific statistic and information source with proper attribution).

Activity 3: 2-day deadline, commentary on war correspondent

  • Students will write a commentary for publication in the school or local newspaper’s opinion page regarding the observance of a patriotic holiday honoring war correspondents before Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Armistice Day, Pearl Harbor Day, or any other noteworthy event pertaining to the risks undertaken in providing an eye-witness account during times of peril.


  • Students will be graded on a rubric based on the specifications of the War Correspondent Notebook described above.
  • They will give a brief oral presentation regarding significant insights learned in their research on the war correspondent.
  • They will write a reflection upon what they learned and how they obtained that information in their ongoing journalism reflection journal. Their suggested 2-page journalism reflection should include insights in writing their editorial and commentary articles as well as their learning in compiling the War Correspondent’s Notebook..

Materials and Resources

  • Press Club Foundations “Women in Journalism” oral history project)
  • William L. Laurence (1888-1977) World War II, A-bomb reporting, 2 Pulitzer Prizes
  • Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) World War II dramatic broadcasts
  • Virginia Irwin (1908-1980)
  • World War II Roger Fenton (1819-1869) Crimean War, photo propaganda
  • Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Civil War illustrator for Harper’s Weekly
  • Josh Marti (1853-1895) Cuban Revolutionary
  • George Creel (1876-1953) World War I
  • John Hersey (1914-1993)Hiroshima
  • Wilfred Burchett (191 I-1983) Hiroshima
  • Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966) World War II, Korea, Vietnam
  • Beverly Deepe (1941) Vietnam
  • Eddie Adams, Vietnam photos, 1968
  • Joe Rosenthal, Iwo Jima photos, 1945
  • Nick Ut, Vietnam photos, 1972
  • Mine Okubo, “Citizen 13660”, 1946
  • John Reed, “Ten Days That Shook the World” (1917)
  • Bill Maudlin, World War II cartoonist
  • Ernie Pyle, World War II
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Martha Gellhorn
  • Frank Bolden
  • Christiane Amanpour
  • Geraldo Rivera
  • Tom Brokaw
  • “War Stories,” Newseum video
  • “Ernie Pyle,” Newseum video

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