Welcome to Journalism in Action, an interactive learning tool exploring the history of journalism in society using historical primary sources. We built this site to help middle and high school students examine the role of a free press in different moments in United States history.
Through fun, interactive activities, you will inquire, ask questions, and make your own judgments using news articles, broadcast segments, political cartoons, and photographs curated from the databases of the Library of Congress.
We are eager for your feedback. Please send comments or questions directly to us using this form. You may also use the form to sign up for our mailing list, which includes fun ways to use Journalism in Action in your classroom and updates or lesson ideas on important dates and anniversaries.
How to use this site:
- Start by reading the historical context provided by introductions of each case study. These introductions offer background on the journalists’ themselves and insights into the news formats that existed during relevant time periods.
- Or simply head right to the interactive “Investigations.”
- At the end of each case study is an “Outcomes” section to continue beyond this website. If we can provide you with an introduction to investigative reporters like Nellie Bly and Ida B. Wells, we will have done our job. But keep in mind, there is much more to learn through primary sources from the Library of Congress on journalists and other historical topics we just didn’t have space to explore. Encourage your students to dig deeper and check out the Educator Guides for additional resources.
Racial equality and diversity in journalism:
This website is meant to give you an understanding of how journalism evolved over time, including racial equality and diversity in journalism. We included journalists of different backgrounds, races, genders, and ethnicities, and yet we recognize that much room remains for the project to grow and feature new voices.
We would like to give special thanks to Dr. Joseph Bruchac, author and oral history storyteller of Native American culture and history. Dr. Bruchac provided key feedback on the role of the Iroquois, or as they called themselves, Haudenosaunne people, on the Founders and early suffrage leaders. We also want to thank Mia Nagawiecki, vice president of education at the New York Historical Society, for helping us provide greater historical context on gender equality and women’s rights.
We will continue to look for ways to make Journalism in Action reflect the strength of this land’s diversity, and we also ask for your help in doing this. Again, please use the feedback form here to suggest journalists or stories covered by journalists that reflect who we are as a country.
We would like to acknowledge our advisors at the Library of Congress, who provided critical feedback, helped us navigate the Library’s rich databases and find primary sources which students would find eye-opening and intriguing, and have been an absolute joy to work with.
Our independent advisory group also provided outstanding feedback. Thank you very much to the following advisors who have been with the project since the beginning:
Kamy Akhavan, Executive Director, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future and former CEO for ProCon.org; Tim Bailey, Director of Education, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; Marcia Chatelain, History Professor, Georgetown University; Kenneth C. Davis, Historian and Author; David Eisenhower, Director of the Institute for Public Service at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania; Jeff Feinstein, History Teacher, West Potomac High School, Fairfax County, Virginia; Liz Foley, English Teacher, Washington Latin Public Charter School, Washington D.C.; Kelly Glasscock, Executive Director, Journalism Education Association; Barbara McCormack, Vice President of Education, Freedom Forum Institute; Mark Miano, Senior Editorial and Creative Director, Head of Production at Discovery Education; Anthony Pennay, Chief Learning Officer, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute; Lisa Rauschart, High School History Department Chair, Georgetown Day School, Washington D.C.; Katherine Schulten, Editor, New York Times Learning Network; Marc Skvirksy, Vice President & Chief Program Officer, Facing History; Anne Wicks, The Ann Kimball Johnson Director of Education Reform, George W. Bush Presidential Center; Sam Wineburg, Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and of History (by courtesy), founder and Executive Director of the Stanford History Education Group.
Thank you to our four curriculum writers:
Liz Ramos is a U.S. history teacher at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Liz was awarded the Inland Empire Council for the Social Studies Teacher of Excellence for exploring ways to integrate technology into her classroom. She has participated in international video conferences with students, involved them in creating documentaries, digital storytelling, blogging and much more.
Syd Golston is a past president of the National Council for the Social Studies. She taught at all grade levels from middle school to college, specializing in constructivist learning experiences in civics and women's history. Syd has served as an educational administrator, curriculum writer, historian, and author of several books for students and teachers. She lives in the mountain foothills of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Greg Timmons has been a social studies teacher for over 30 years, teaching at both the middle and high school levels. He is now a freelance curriculum writer and education consultant. Greg has written lessons for several PBS productions including The NewsHour, FRONTLINE, American Experience, and various Ken Burns productions. He is the winner of the 2007 American Educational Publishers Award for his Newsweek Education Program feature on “The 2 Americas.” He resides in Washington state and Montana.
Victoria Pasquantonio taught middle and high school social studies and English for thirteen years before switching careers a few years ago. She is NewsHour's education producer and runs NewsHour Extra. Victoria lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Our editors who strove for continuity and clarity in the case studies and overall cohesiveness include Victoria Pasquantonio, education producer at the PBS NewsHour and director of NewsHour Extra; Leah Clapman, managing editor of education, PBS NewsHour; Anne McPeak, freelance editor; and Luke Gerwe, associate producer, NewsHour Extra.
We would like to extend congratulations to d’Vinci Interactive who built the Journalism in Action website. D’Vinci works with leading organizations to create K-12 educational websites and interactive learning experiences that integrate into school curricula and track learner advancement over time.
And finally, we would like to thank all of the educators and students who shared with us how best to use primary sources to examine history and civic engagement and how Journalism in Action may be used as a supplementary tool for high-quality learning already taking place in the classroom: Bridgette Adu-Wadier, Rusul Alrubail, Ellen Austin, Hayley Breden, Matt Codner, David Cutler, Jean Darnell, Kathy Durham, Donn Friedman, Carolyn Fritts, Joanne Fuchs, Bradley Kaplan, Lisa Kapp, Mary Kate Lonergan, Tom McHale, Katie Merritt, Kay McSpadden, Rainy Murillo, David Olson, Katina Paron, Tim Smyth, Jaclyn Siegel, Dana Specht, Adam Strom, Ryan Werenka, and Rebeca Zimmermann.