Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 15

15 the political and cultural landscape of the early 1970s when “All the President’s Men” is set, or the McCarthy era when “Good Night and Good Luck” took place. Review the plot prior to screening. Without spoiling the ending, layout the plot points and facts in the film to avoid confusion, and students can concentrate on the ethical issues. Consider when you’ll ask students questions about the film. Should you ask them in advance so they can be thinking of the answers as they watch, or will you spring it on them after the film is over, or some combination of the two? Bring it home. Have the students try to find parallels between situations in the film and those from your community. For example, in “Spotlight” the Catholic church is a too-big-to-fail organization in Boston. What is an untouchable organization at your school that might make it difficult for your staff to cover? While there are many movie viewing guides out there, particularly for older films, craft your own questions that might be more relevant to your school, and bring in examples from your local community. Turn the film screening into an opportunity for a film review article. In addition to a discussion about the subject matter and content, students can research the production elements, including how the film was developed. This research can help them understand the cultural context of the actual events. Consider how a fictional film, or even a documentary, is different from a news story. Many films about challenging stories are often produced years later, when the topic is no longer controversial. This method is an interesting contrast to journalistic stories that are often the first to break the news, which makes it difficult for reporters to bring such stories to light, as in “Spotlight.” “Spotlight” is rated R, so think about how you will allow students to watch the film. I provide a list of all films we will watch during the course of the year and have parents sign a waiver that gives permission for their students to see the movies. However, if the film is used as a source for a news article, like a film review, you may not need a waiver. OTHER GREAT FILMS ABOUT JOURNALISM Historical events or contexts: “All the President’s Men,” “Good Night and Good Luck,” “The Killing Fields” Questioning our perceptions of news organizations: “Outfoxed,” “Control Room” Working with whistleblowers and powerful corporate forces: The Insider ProPublica published an article about their favorite muckraking movies.