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CNN Student News is a TV program for classrooms that airs on CNN Headline News. Set your VCR to record CNN Student News from 3:12am to 3:22am ET Monday - Friday.
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Evaluate the content and style of news summaries on the war in Iraq

April 1, 2003
Web posted at: 12:37 AM EST (0537 GMT)

After students review "Bush outlines progress; more civilian casualties reported" present the following:

•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

1. What recent video did Iraqi TV show? Why would its claim that the video is new be significant? How have U.S. officials reacted to the Iraqi TV report?

2. What are some of the latest targets of coalition airstrikes? To what victories did President George W. Bush point today? What additional somber news did officials confirm? How did U.S. Central Command react to this news?

3. What are the latest comments in the war of words between the U.S. and the Iraqi governments? What impact do you think words can have, both in rallying a country and in delivering a blow to the opposition?

4. Ask students to consider the daily news coverage of the war. Ask: How do you think reporters choose what to cover and what not to cover? Do you think that the American news coverage of the war is objective and unbiased? Explain. Organize students into small groups and direct them to investigate a variety of sources for news on the war in Iraq. Sources should include print, television and online media. From these various news sources, student groups should compile several news stories reported on the same day of the war. Then, challenge each group to create a script for a two-minute briefing to the press on the war news of the day. Student groups should consider the following questions when writing their summary of the day's news on the war:

    • What stories will you address?

    • What criteria will you use to choose those stories?

    • Do the stories represent any one perspective?

    • How might segments of American society that represent different perspectives on the war in Iraq interpret your reports?

After each student group has presented its two-minute summary of the daily news, have the rest of the class critique the summary by commenting on what was included, what was left out and how the information was conveyed. As a wrap-up to the activity, revisit the top story for this and other CNN Student News programs that include a war update. Have students analyze the summary for what is included, what is not included, and how the information is conveyed.

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