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30-60 minutes
  • Journalism
  • 9-12

  1. Tell students: Covering a disaster poses multiple challenges for reporters – physical, emotional, logistical, getting access to information, etc. Working in teams, they’ll create plans for how a media outlet should respond to a catastrophe.
  2. Divide students into four groups and assign each group a type of news outlet (examples: TV station, local news blog, newspaper, etc.).
  3. Each group will use the Planning for the Unpredictable worksheet to build a plan for how their news outlet would respond to a disaster.

  • Planning for the Unpredictable worksheet (download), one per student

After groups have completed their plans, have them share them with the class. Discuss the plans and the process of creating them. Prompts:

  • Which part of the plan was the easiest to decide? Which was the most difficult? Why?
  • Would this plan work for all types of disasters? If yes, why? If not, which ones might require different plans, and why?
  • How effective do you think these plans would be when responding to a real disaster?
  • Which policies would work? Which might have to be changed?
  • How comprehensive is this plan? Is it missing any key issues?
  • How much more detailed would you have to make your plan to make it work in real life?
  • Do the plans vary among the different types of news outlets?
  • How flexible is your plan?
  • Imagine you were making a disaster response plan for yourself and your family. How would it be the same as and different from this plan?

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