World Press Freedom Day Lesson Plan

Share the importance of an independent press with your middle and high school students this week. Themes include the relation of a free press to democracy and the sacrifices journalists make to tell the truth. Includes discussion guide and learning outcome.

World Press Freedom Day Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO

The UN established World Press Freedom Day as part of the Declaration of Human Rights because a free press is a human right. 

Stories About Two Women Journalists: One From the Past and One From the Present

Sandi Bachom

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel

Sandi Bachom is a fearless, 75-year-old videographer and MY HERO Film Festival winner who lives in New York City. She is currently covering COVID-19.

Nellie Bly

By: Lauren
Nellie Bly was a pioneer in investigative journalism who went undercover in a mental institution and traveled around the world in a record-breaking 72 days.

Learn About Photojournalist Dan Eldon Through Story and Film

The Journey is the Destination [Trailer]

Produced by:Kathy Eldon
This feature film tells the story of Dan Eldon, the heroic journalist who was killed while working as a photo-journalist in Somalia.

Dan Eldon

By: Wendy Jewell

Dan Eldon inspired Kathy Eldon with his art, his poetry and his life. The story has text and audio allowing students to listen as they read along. 

The Art of Life: Dan Eldon in Africa

Produced by:Charles Tsai
A moving film about Dan Eldon, an artist, photojournalist and humanitarian who was killed on assignment in 1993 when he was only 22 years old.

Learn About Daniel Ellsberg Through Story and Art

Daniel Ellsberg

By: Robert Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg is a whistleblower and truth-teller responsible for publishing the Pentagon Papers in the Washington Post. Story has test and audio allowing students to listen as they read along.

Daniel Ellsberg by Robert Shetterly, AWTT.org

By: Robert Shetterly from Americans Who Tell the Truth
Daniel Ellsberg decided to expose the Pentagon Papers which helped end the Vietnam War.


Thanks to the Whistleblowers

Producer: Dave Puls

A musical tribute to the courage of those who stood up for justice.

Brian Lamb - A Hero for Maintaining Democracy

Producer: McKenna Young
Brian Lamb, the hero behind C-SPAN.

Story with Text and Audio: Listen as You Read Along.

Bill Siemering

By: Joy Wolf
Bill Siemering is a founding board member of NPR and created its first mission statement.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the critical, and sometimes dangerous, issues facing journalists today as they seek to report the truth from countries around the world? 

2. How does news reporting remain objective and truthful at the same time? 

3. How do stories, films and art help citizens be informed about their government and its policies? How can student journalists frame their articles and editorials to best reflect the truth?

4. How has the digital age changed journalism?


Reporting the news today is more complicated than ever before. The proliferation of 24/7 news and the role of social media make the job of journalists more demanding and more ethically challenging. Considering the heroes represented in the films and stories above can provide role models and guidelines for future journalists.

Art depicting journalists who have made sacrifices to report the truth

Natalia Estemirova was a prominent human rights defender and journalist in the troubled Russian republic of Chechnya

By: Denise Beaudet

Irene Fernandez by Tom Block of The Human Rights Painting Project who identified Irene Fernandez as a journalist who reported on human rights abuses

By: Tom Block

My Hero suggested viewing

Video Volunteers | World Press Freedom Day

Robert Shetterly explains his portrait project American Who Tell the Truth and shares his artwork in this film. His portrait project celebrates those individuals, including journalists and whistle blowers, courageous in their words and deeds.

Robert Shetterly

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

 2024 World Press Freedom Day Theme

Celebrated every 3rd of May, in 2024, World Press Freedom Day is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

May 3 was designated World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations General Assembly, as part of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Stories, short films, and artwork from the MY HERO Library illustrating each of the articles in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Credit: MY HERO


Laura Nietzer

The World Press Freedom Day lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

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Teachers Calendar
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Organizer created on 4/10/2019 3:34:42 PM by MY HERO Staff

Last edited 4/29/2024 12:49:53 PM by Laura Nietzer