Crime in the News - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level(s): Grades 10 to 12

Author: MediaSmarts

Reading Media icon from the digital media literacy framework.Media Representation icon from the digital media literacy framework.Media Health category of the digital media literacy framework.Finding and Verifying digital media literacy framework topic.

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


In this lesson students explore the commercial and ethical issues surrounding the reporting of crime in televised newscasts. They begin by discussing their attitudes toward crime, followed by the reading of a handout comparing Canadian and American crime reporting and further discussion about crime and 'the business' of television news. Students further explore how the media affect our perceptions about crime through a discussion on the media's treatment of various 'crime waves.'

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • understand that the news is a form of entertainment which, like other television programs, competes for viewers
  • appreciate the different needs of local and national news stations, and how this affects the selection of news items
  • appreciate the challenges faced by journalists in trying to offer crime reporting that is not sensational.
  • understand the role of crime reporting in attracting viewers
  • understand the ways in which crime reporting affects our own perceptions of crime.

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

Lesson Kit