Good Night and Good Luck

Getting tired of the same old lesson plans from year to year? Maybe you have students that take your broadcast class more than once.

Repeating the same class with the same activities can get dull and cause a lack of interest quickly. Let’s face it: Students get bored easily. They need interactive, fun activities to keep them motivated to stay on task and continue learning in a positive environment, encouraging you to diversify your curriculum content and keep them (and yourself!) entertained.

This month, SVN came across an invaluable web resource for a couple of new projects that can be easily integrated into your pre-existing lesson plans. Created by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTDNF), the website revolves around Good Night, and Good Luck, a film directed by George Clooney starring Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn, and Alex Borstien. You may be thinking: Right. Showing a movie in class? I can’t get away with that or waste time in my already crunched class schedule. But by incorporating the movie with the many resource available, the students will be pleased with a movie day while learning something as well!

Did I mention: It’s FREE! RTDNF offers six lesson plans outlining activities that offer a range of perspectives from broadcast industry to ethical dilemmas often faced in journalism. An extensive list of websites gives students an opportunity to explore background information on Senator Joseph McCarthy and Communism. Study guides include questions to help students follow along and grasp underlying pearls of wisdom and foreshadowing, whether you utilize them before, during, or after the movie. You can even follow up with a short test including a matching section, short answer, and essay questions accompanied by a teacher’s guide.

How could you say no? Do your students a favor and spice up your curriculum!

Example Lesson Plan objectives:

Students will:

1. Research equipment used in television studios during the mid-1950s.

2. Find out about the challenges Murrow’s “Person to Person” program created in an era before satellite transmission.

3. Interview local television station personnel who have been involved in electronic media production for a number of years. What changes have they seen? (Some may have been employed in television since the 1950s, though not many.) Others to interview might be local college/universities professors in the field.

4. Prepare a report, including visuals, to show how the field has changed.

Example Study Guide Questions:

-What do you think it was like to work in the news department of CBS in the 1950s?
 What are some of the scenes that show this?

-What is CBS boss William Paley’s first reason Murrow and Friendly shouldn’t air the Milo Radulovich story?

- What is the effect of using the actual film footage of McCarthy, Radulovich, Annie Lee Moss and others?

-Why do you think cigarettes and smoke seem to play such a major part in the movie? Why do you think the movie is in black and white?

Have you found similar resources that keep your students engaged and help them connect broadcast to a “bigger picture?” Send web links, video links, and suggestions to Amanda, Associate Editor of SVN (), and maybe your idea will be published in upcoming months of SVN—of course with credit to you!


AmandaHeadShotAssociate Editor, Amanda Lynn Porter has been involved in many aspects of video/film production. Starting a video production class at her middle school in eighth grade, Amanda has always enjoyed every aspect of videography. After producing many in-school productions, including a daily newscast, Amanda branched out and began directing and producing commercials and short films for law firms, intermediate school districts, and various associations throughout Michigan.

Most recently, Amanda worked for Michael Moore on his latest documentary: Capitalism: A Love Story.