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Good Night And Good Luck Essay Questions

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!


Associate 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.  

Film Festival - Good Night, and Good Luck

Wednesday - November 1, 2006
MAC Playhouse - 3:30 pm - 6:15 pm

Hosted by: Robert Singer, Professor of English
College Now English Course Coordinator
Dr. Voorhees Dunn, College Now Behavioral & Social Sciences Course Coordinator
Professor Sam Taitt, Mass Communications Course Coordinator

About the Movie: Good Night and Good Luck
Director, George Clooney 2005 - Rating PG
In the film, Good Night, and Good Luck, the audience witnesses the semi-fictional but mostly historical recreation of a dark period in modern American History, the near-destruction of civil liberties and freedom of the press and self-expression by witch-hunting, semi-psychotic, alcoholic fascists in the American government. This film was based on the great "debate" between television news broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, and Senator Joseph McCarthy, the anti-communist and prominent source of the hysteria.

About the Presenter: Dr. Voorhees Dunn
Dr. Voorhees Dunn is a professor in the department of History, Philosophy and Political Science. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University. He teaches American Constitutional Law, The American Legal System, and Introduction to Criminal Justice and has been the College Now Behavioral & Social Sciences Course Coordinator since 1997. Prior to joining the faculty at Kingsborough, he taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, The University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of South Alabama at Mobile. As a student of history, Dr. Dunn has always been fascinated by how civilization would collapse without institutions that control the dark side of human nature.

About the Presenter: Professor Sam Taitt
Professor Sam Taitt is a communications specialist who is a faculty member in the Communications and Performing Arts Department at Kingborough Community College. He has worked as a consultant in several political campaigns in the Caribbean and here in New York advising candidates on TV and radio advertising and its impact, as well as having run for elected office himself. He believes it is important for students to be informed abuot their country and how the media impacts the world around them.

ACT Style Prep

Extra Credit Assignments
In the film, Good Night and Good Luck, the audience witnesses the semi-fictional but mostly historic recreation of a dark period in modern American History, the near-destruction of civil liberties and freedom of the press and self-expression by witch hunting, semi-psychotic, alcoholic fascists in the American government. This film was based on the great "debate" between television news broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the anti-communist and prominent source of the hysteria. In the 1950s, Sen. McCarthy had publicly called for the expulsion from governmental office, the workplace, and basically American society, of all those citizens who had "ever been a member of the communist party" even though it was never illegal. Although charges were rarely ever proven against these American citizens, Sen. McCarthy used the power of his office, before he was officially censured by the congress, to attack all those he disagreed with by cloaking this attack under the guise of patriotism. Edward R. Murrow, among other prominent citizens, fought against these blacklisting techniques and successfully challenged and eventually discredited the senator on his broadcasts, which is the subject of this film. Today, there are many people in the government, the media, even in academia, who would like to silence all forms of dissent by falsely labeling their opponents as evil or reckless, and they use the power of their office to work against free speech, debate, and freedom of assembly. Like Sen. McCarthy in the 1950s, these people would stifle dissent and discussion of controversial ideas by calling it dangerous or disloyal. Topics involving America's military and political role in world affairs, religion, gun control, stem cell research, and other controversial issues are "off limits" to everybody but those who support their "official" point of view.

You have been asked to write a letter to the school newspaper in which you will express your view concerning the issue of free speech, even when involving unpopular or controversial topics. Was Sen.McCarthy correct when he tried to stifle dissent and label his opponents in the name of his cause? Is this a fair debating tactic? Did Edward R. Murrow act responsibly, even though he had access to the media when others did not? Do you feel that the government, the media, even the local school board has the moral right to effectively control what is discussed, and by whom? Do you believe that there are any "off limit" topics in a public debate, or that speech, even if hateful or hurtful, is limitless? Quote from any source of information and from the film.

Mini-Research Project

(NOTE: This is NOT a research paper - it is a research-oriented experience in which students gather information. They can prepare outlines, note-cards, a bibliography, cite references, or practice any combination of these skills associated with preparing a research paper).

Utilizing the library and its resources, and/or material from the Internet, prepare an investigative project that focuses on any one of these topics associated with the film, Good Night and Good Luck:

a) Sen. Joseph McCarthy
b) The Hollywood blacklist
c) Roy Cohen
d) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Standard College Essay

Many issues arise from the analysis and discussion of the film, Good Night and Good Luck. Some of the more important issues involve the role and power of the media, especially television, when reporting events and facts, ethical journalism, the history of the blacklist, the Red Scare, and a feeling of responsibility to one's country and family in a time of political crisis. There are other related personal and social issues arising from the analysis of this film, and these are only some suggested and signicant themes to consider.

n a full-length essay (approximately 400-500 words), later to be revised for content and correctness, discuss any of the issues raised in the film Good Night and Good Luck that you consider to be of special interest either for yourself or for society. Feel free to refer to the film or any source of information in your essay. Explain why and how these issues are significant not only in the film but also in relationship to your own life or the lives of other people.

Event Photos Good Night, and Good Luck - November. 1, 2006

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