How the resources below link to the Citizenship curriculum
Mainly GCSE, but also KS3:
- Free press in democracies.
- The role of the media in: influencing and informing the public, investigating issues and exposing problems in the public interest, and scrutinising the government and others in power and holding them to account for their actions.
- How groups or individuals and those in power use the media try to influence public opinion.
Media reporting: analysing media bias and identifying fake news
Understanding media bias in more depth
- All of the issues explored in our supplementary Citizenship resources webpages for ‘Truman On Trial’ relate in some way to the important role of the media in informing the public, exposing controversies, and scrutinising power.
- The Truman On Trial pack’s Lesson 3 focuses on media bias in nuclear politics, particularly where governments use the media to advance their agenda in the minds of citizens. For a follow-up lesson to look at media bias more broadly, there are numerous free lesson plans to choose from tes.com and elsewhere.
- In addition, to shift the focus to the UK, you could use a few of these insightful news and comment pieces on bias in our national press and other media.
The lesson plans are suitable for a range of ages and abilities. The articles are appropriate for higher-ability KS3 or GCSE students, although they could potentially be scaffolded for differentiation
Identifying fake news
- The BBC has created two excellent sets of lesson ideas and materials around how to enable students to spot ‘fake news’, and evaluate sources of information for their reliability. They are available here and here.
The lesson plans are suitable for a range of ages and abilities.
Further insight into media reports on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings at the time
- An insightful additional source for exploring the nature of contemporary media reports on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings is this passage from the USA’s 1946 Strategic Bombing Survey:
‘Only in the nearest group of cities, within 40 miles of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, was there a substantial effect on morale… Were the channels of mass communication as readily available to all the population as they are in the United States and had the use of the bomb received anything like the intensive coverage it had here, the effect on [impeding] continued support of the war would probably have been greater.’
- However, the Survey has itself been labelled as ‘anything but an impartial study’, which reminds us of the importance of evaluating every source.
These quotes could be analysed by higher-ability KS3 or GCSE students.
How to use these resources in your classroom
Aside from simply trying out some of the other providers’ lesson plans directly:
- Some of the fake news activities could be set as homework, for example tasking students with finding and evaluating two different internet sources on a given topic: one that is (or contains) ‘fake news’ and one that is reliable. (Particularly interesting nuclear weapons-related examples include the BBC’s misquoting of Trump threatening Iran in 2018 that “war will follow” – he actually said “more will follow” – and its controversial actions in light of the mistake, and Trump’s response in May 2019 to a New York Times claim that US officials were planning to deploy as many as 120,000 troops to Iran if growing tensions between the two countries drastically escalated: “I think it’s fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”)
- In small groups, students could research an aspect of media bias in the UK, and present their findings to the rest of the class.
- As a whole class, or via an individual writing task, the students could discuss the significance of the nature of the Japanese media in 1945 in limiting the impact of the atomic bombings on morale, and whether this would have been different in another country (as the Strategic Bombing Survey suggests) and/or time (such as present-day Japan, or the UK).
About this webpage
This webpage is one of six collections of topic-specific resources that could be used as part of the Citizenship classroom and homework activities referred to in the ‘Additional information and guidance for Citizenship teachers’ insert of our Truman On Trial pack. To access the pages on the other five topics, click here.
If you’d like further advice on how to implement any of the teaching suggestions from the resources webpages, or the insert, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.