The Citizen Reporter Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 9-12

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


This lesson begins with a brief history of citizen journalism and a discussion of just what it is. Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media are constructions that re-present reality and consider how the traditionally White makeup of Canadian journalism might affect the content of Canadian news. They then discuss the effects of the increasing ability of ordinary citizens to cover, broadcast and comment on news and compare mainstream news sources and citizen journalism in terms of accuracy, completeness and diversity representation. Students then discuss the issue of ethics in citizen journalism and develop a proposed code of ethics for citizen journalists.

This lesson is part of the That's Not Me: Diversity in Media lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • become aware of journalism as a craft
  • learn to take a critical view of how news is gathered
  • become aware of the decisions made in gathering and transmitting news
  • become aware of the imbalance in media representation of aboriginals, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and religious groups

Click here to download the A History of Citizen Journalism slideshow.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit