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Donna Oja Smith's English Class at Trenton High School

Group Project: Exploring News Stories with Surprise Casts of Characters

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Group Project:  Exploring News Stories with Surprise Casts of Characters

 

Each group will be looking into a news story where an element of surprise was expressed about the criminal and the nature of his or her crime. After investigating the assigned story, students will present their findings to the class in a mock newscast.

 

o       Group 1:  Jayson Blair, journalist accused of plagiarizing and fabricating articles (related Web sites: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/06/05/nytimes.resigns/ and http://www.jayson-blair.com/)

 

o       Group 2:  Jennifer Wilbanks, a.k.a. the Runaway Bride. She didn’t show up for her wedding, claiming she was kidnapped (related Web site: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/25/wilbanks/index.html)

 

o       Group 3:  Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, snipers who terrorized Washington, D.C. (related Web site: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/sniper/)

 

o       Group 4:  Charles Cullen, a nurse who killed patients over the course of 16 years (related Web site: http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/03/02/killer.nurse/)

 

o       Group 5:  Nate Newton, an ex-pro football player convicted on drug charges (related Web site: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2059715)

 

o       Group 6:  Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who raped—and then married one of her students (related Web site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7926717/ and http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/21/letourneau.wedding/index.html)

 

o       Group 7:  John Phillip Walker Lindh, an American convicted of conspiracy to support terrorism, etc. (related Web site: http://msnbc.com/news/666499.asp?cp1=1 and http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/criminalcomplaint1.html)

Students should answer the following questions about their news story:

o       What was the event or series of events?

o       When did this happen?

o       Where did this happen?

o       Who are the major figures in this story?

o       How was this story resolved?

o       What effect did this story have on society? Consider new laws, safety precautions, etc.”

Students should prepare a script for the newscast focusing on the following story angles:

o       event description

o       criminal’s background

o       event’s outcome

o       impact on local community, the nation, legal world, etc.

"He who learns but does not think is lost! 
He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger!" 
Confucius 551-479 B.C. (Chinese philosopher)

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"YOU make choices, but  CHOICES make you." (DOS)
 
“Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.” (FDR)

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DID YOU KNOW THAT NO PIECE OF PAPER CAN BE FOLDED IN HALF MORE THAN SEVEN TIMES?  TRY IT.  THEN GET BACK TO WORK.

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