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Exploring War Journalism

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/5/2012

How does war impact students? Do they understand the concept of being a refugee, or of losing a beloved due to war? Help students learn about wars around the world and form an opinion about whether the world will ever have peace.

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    War is unfortunately an ongoing crisis in today’s world. Students may not realize that while they sit at their school desks all over the world refugees are fleeing the crisis of war. Many countries today are ravaged by ongoing war. Many refugees do not have a home to return to or a country that is safe enough to plan an eventual return to rebuild a life that was abandoned when war began. Help students expand their world view by studying wars around the world in the modern time.Let them learn that while life may be normal where they live in many countries throughout the world citizens are fleeing for their lives without any idea of where they will settle and build a new life.

    Learning about the Causes of War

    There are as many different causes for wars as there are wars. Sometimes wars are fought over land, religion, valuable resources found in a geographic region such as oil or minerals in the land, or wars may start when someone wants to seize power from a ruler via violent means. There are many other causes of war, such as civil war when citizens of a country disagree over serious issues, or when a country tries to seize the land of a rival country. As long as this world exists there will be people scheming to gain power via violence and war.

    Viewpoints and Perspectives in War Coverage

    Pick a country where war rages and provide students with articles by a variety of authors. Help students understand that in any war there are a myriad of viewpoints presented by writers covering the conflict. Each war has people and writers who support the war and those who oppose it. Even in straight journalistic war coverage the choice of certain facts will give a particular slant to an article. The use of photos also sometimes makes the writer’s opinion of the war quite clear.Help students understand that war coverage is often used as a way to understand human suffering, the meaning of a homeland, the plight of refugees, the impact of war on children, and the financial costs of war.

    Facts about War

    It is fascinating to have students compare and contrast the facts about wars from different decades and different countries.Doing this analysis helps students discuss questions such as:Is war ever effective? Does war solve problems or increase chaos? What is the human toll of war? Are wars cost effective?Will there always be wars?

    Analyzing Wars of a Certain Country

    Help students understand the philosophy of a certain country by analyzing the wars they have participated in.Have students research why the war was started.Also discuss whether the war had the popular support of the country, and the death counts and cost of the war. Was the war won or lost? Did the country damage its reputation with the war?

    What is the historical perspective on the wars of the country?

    Education about the War

    Do textbooks used at the school give a realistic portrayal of a certain war?Many countries use textbooks that give only a broad view of a war or do not talk about a war at all. Some countries also use textbooks that give inaccurate facts of a war to paint a picture that shows a positive view of the country. Discuss with students how even textbooks may be used a propaganda by a government.

    Websites with Articles about Wars around the World

    The Internet is an amazing tool to help students understand the impact of war. During the height of a war news articles will appear hourly on the Internet. Thus students can analyze the ongoing impact of the war and work to understand the human suffering and loss experienced in any war at any time in history.

    www.Huffingtonpost.com

    www.WashingtonPost.com

    www.ProjectCensored.org

    www.CNN.com

    www.Reuters.com

    Let students read articles online and also print out articles to read for homework. Ask them to list ten key facts about any war.Tell them to read enough articles to form an opinion for an upcoming debate:“Is War Ever Necessary?”Inform the class that for the debate they will need at least 20 facts about wars, examples of the outcomes of wars, and at least five quotes that depict a positive or negative view of war.

    Student Reflections on War

    Ask volunteers to discuss whether war has impacted their family. Do they have a relative who has served in a war? Has their family had a loss due to war? Has any student come to America because of war in their homeland?

    The teacher will assess student knowledge of the topic of war with the debate and also with an essay entitled: Will there ever be Peace throughout the World?