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30-60 minutes
  • Journalism
  • National Security
  • 9-12
  • College/University

Note: This video contains graphic footage of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks. 

  1. Tell students: This video tells the story of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City through primary source interviews and news footage. This footage includes graphic images of the events. Check for background knowledge by asking:
    • What do you know about the events of Sept. 11, 2001?
    • Why would journalists run toward danger?
  2. Explain that when covering breaking stories, journalists often endanger their own lives and sometimes find themselves at odds with emergency responders. However, students will see that journalists on that day, and throughout history, risked all in order to ensure that the public got news quickly about these world-changing events.
  3. Hand out copies of the viewing guide worksheet. Instruct students to look them over in advance and then take notes as they watch the video.
  4. Watch the video.
  5. Ask students to complete the post-viewing comprehension questions (in class or for homework).

  • “Running Toward Danger” Video Lesson worksheet (download), one per student
  •  Internet connection to watch “Running Toward Danger” video
  •  9/11 handout (download, optional)

Ask your students to explain the role of journalists in covering catastrophes. You may also wish to assign one or more of these questions as short essays for homework.

  • Is it important that journalists immediately get to the scene of a disaster, even if it puts their  lives in danger? Why or why not?
  • What was going through the minds of these reporters as they attempted to cover this story? What were their personal concerns? What were their professional concerns?
  • How much emotion should a professional TV reporter be allowed to show on air? How might his or her emotions affect the audience? What are the pros and cons of allowing his or her emotions to show?
  • What special considerations should journalists consider when interviewing someone who is going through, or has just been through, a traumatic event?
  • What is breaking news coverage good at doing? What are its weaknesses? As news consumers, what considerations should we keep in mind when viewing or reading breaking news reports?
  • What drives reporters to take risks to cover dangerous situations? Do you think you could be a reporter in a situation like this?
  • In the video, cameraman Martin Glembotzky talks about reporting on the individuals who’d lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. He says, “I found it really difficult to tell that story in light of what I had just been through and seen.” What lasting effects did 9/11 have on journalists after the day itself had passed?

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