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Lesson Plan August 8, 2023

Our Global City: Using Underreported Stories to Report on Local Issues


This unit was created by Jacqueem Winston, a high school Social Studies educator in Plainfield, New Jersey, as part of the 2022-2023 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across nine 45–90-minute class periods over the course four weeks, with work outside of class.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


Students will be able to...

  • Understand redlining, gentrification, environmental racism, inaccessibility of housing, and other geography-related challenges experienced by Black Americans
  • Conduct sustained research in order to answer a research question
  • Integrate relevant information from multiple authoritative digital sources into an essay
  • Create a faux social media post based on research

Unit Overview:

This unit focuses on guiding students to think critically about how global problems are also affecting their local communities and how systemic global issues also connect to issues they see in their communities. Through analysis of those connections, the unit inspires them to report on issues from their communities and to consider how reporting on their communities might also inspire connections to communities throughout the world. Each student will have the opportunity to look at underreported stories from around the globe. After reading and evaluating these news reports, students will then flip that journalism on its head by evaluating how the reporting they analyzed from another part of the world connects to issues they see in their communities. Next, they become the reporter. They will have the chance to find a local underreported story and report on it after receiving guidance from a Pulitzer Center journalist. A unique twist to the final presentation is they will present their reporting in a multimedia fashion, such as a TikTok video or photo essay.

The ultimate goal is to answer the question, “How does my community relate to the larger global community in the problems that they face?” As students engage with this question, smaller thought-provoking questions also arise:  

  • What questions does a journalist need to ask to expand the public’s understanding of the root causes of an issue, and the many different stakeholders involved in an issue? 
  • How does what is happening in another part of the world impact my life? 
  • How do the underreported stories in my community connect to issues people are facing in other parts of the world? 

All these questions are explored throughout the unit while students are also building media literacy skills, understanding how to format journalistic questions, and learning how to compose new underreported stories.

Performance Task:

Students will create a multimedia project to share an underreported story from their communities that connects to themes explored throughout the unit. This multimedia project could be a short TikTok video or a picture essay. The local report will reflect students’ research on an underreported issue in their communities and will include important skills, techniques and best practices that the Pulitzer Center journalists shared with the students during their visit. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how global underreported stories are similar to local issues and also deserve to be reported.
The Underreported Stories Project Description [.pdf] [.docx] outlines the project requirements, the evaluation rubric, and steps for planning the project.


1. Students will be assessed in numerous ways. 

2. Exit ticket to concisely communicate main takeaways from some of the underreported news stories explored in class.

3. The annotation of the articles reviewed in class, and students’ responses to the following questions for each article:

  • What have you already heard/know about the issue/ topic that they are looking at?
  • What details stand out?
  • Whose perspectives are presented and why?
  • Whose perspectives are missing from this article?
  • How does the story challenge assumptions about this issue?
  • What new understanding do you have about the issue after reviewing the story?
  • How do the themes/questions/perspectives presented in the story connect to you and your community? 
  • How would you present this information to someone else that may not know about this issue?

Each time a new article is introduced, students will answer all of these questions to become critical thinkers of the underreported stories.

4. Students will also be assessed on the questions that they create for the journalist who presents  during the live interview session.

5. Students will be assessed on their multimedia project using the rubric outlined on page of the Underreported Stories Project Description [.pdf] [.docx]

6. Finally, students will be assessed on the reflection (short questionnaire) that they complete at the end of the entire unit.

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