Lesson Plans

A Slow Approach to Reporting on Your Neighborhood- Workshop 1 of 3

Walk Like a Journalist- Workshop 1


Objectives: Students will be able to...
  1. Analyze photographs from the Out of Eden Walk and articulate why they gravitate to certain photos

  2. Explain the Out of Eden Walk

  3. Explain what slow journalism is and how it is being used by Paul Salopek as part of the Out of Eden Walk

  4. Explain the roles and responsibilities of a journalist

  5. Articulate the goals of the “walk like a journalist” project

  6. Brainstorm a list of questions for a journalist


Warm up:
  1. Raise your hand if…

    1. You take photographs (what of?)

    2. You like to write

    3. You like to tell stories (made up or real)


There are people whose jobs it is to tell stories through writing and photography. Journalists! Journalists provide the news. Why do you think that is important?


  1. Raise your hand if you get your news in the following ways:

    1. Magazines/newspapers

    2. Social media and internet

    3. People you know


  2. The Pulitzer Center in an organization that supports journalists that report in all of the ways that are described above, but our focus is to specifically focus on supporting journalists that report on important issues around the world.


  3. Investigating photos from the Out of Eden Walk, a Pulitzer Center-supported project:

    1. Look at the photos and note things you see.

    2. Consider:

      1. What do you think is happening in this photo?

      2. Where could this photo have been taken?

      3. Why do you think the journalist that took this photo thought this moment was important?

    3. Generate questions you have about the photos


  4. Pick a favorite photo and look on the back to find out more information about it.

    1. A few volunteers will share what they find out from their photos.


  5. Note the date on the back of the photo, and the place. Work as a class to place the photos in order by date. Look at the photos together. These photos were actually all taken by the same journalist as part of one project.

    1. Predict: Why would one journalist be taking all of these photos?

    2. Brainstorm: What questions do you have about this journalist and his project?


Introducing the Out of Eden Walk:
  1. Meet Paul Salopek

    1. Watch the attached "Meet the Journalist" video from Paul and answer the questions attached. Here is a link to the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mzDhqvQPqg

    2. Questions to consider as you watch the video:

  1. What is the Out of Eden Walk?

  2. What is slow journalism and how is Paul Salopek using it as part of this project?


  1. Introducing Paul’s milestones

  2. Introducing the project and the milestones

    1. Raise your hand if…

      1. You have reported before

      2. You have interviewed someone before

      3. You have been to Dupont Circle in Washington D.C.

      4. You have met a professional journalist before


  1. You will be doing all of these things in preparation for your project this week. And tomorrow, the professional journalist you will meet is Allison Shelley
  2. Review Allison’s biography: http://pulitzercenter.org/people/allison-shelley

    1. Note her projects and the places she has been

    2. Example of Allison’s work: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/caribbean-haiti-photos-earthquake-rebuilding-five-years-reconstruction

  3. With a partner, brainstorm a list of questions for Allison. What could you ask that would help you with your project?

  4. Share your list of questions with the class.

The two lessons that accompany this project will be made available soon. The project was created as part of a partnership with Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School. Click here to read more about the students' experience.

Educator Notes: 



Why is it important to slow down and be more observant? What do you learn about a place, and ultimately about the world, by slowing down to a walking pace? Students will explore these questions through the eyes of National Geographic Fellow and Pulitzer Center grantee Paul Salopek, a journalist who embarked on a reporting mission in early 2013 to walk the same 21,000 mile path that modern humans took from Africa to South America over the course of roughly 50,000 years. Paul’s goal throughout this project, which is called the “Out of Eden Walk,” is to take a slow approach to reporting that allows readers to reflect on how the small things we notice as we walk through the world reveal larger international issues. Over a series of three workshops, students will analyze photographs, interviews and video from Paul’s project to analyze what a “slow approach” to journalism reveals about the world. Students will also practice observation and communication skills in preparation for reporting their own “Out of Eden Walk” right here in D.C.


Workshop 1 introduces students to the project through exploration of photos and video. Students end workshop 1 with an understanding that they will be conduct "slow journalism" reporting projects in their communities, and then writing descriptions about their reporting walk inspired by the "Milestones" Paul Salopek writes as part of the Out of Eden Walk. Workshop 2 introduces students to a journalist that presents noticing skills, reporting skills, written communication skills and interviewing skills. After their session with the journalist, students conduct practice reporting projects. Workshop 3 is when students do their final walks in their neighborhoods, write their milestones and present their milestones to the class.

The lesson plan below is the first of three lesson plans. The other two lessons will be attached soon.

If you would like to connect your class to a journalist, contact education@pulitzercenter.org.

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