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Discovering your diversity


Students will evaluate a typical publication at your school and compare the coverage to the diversity of your school population.


  • Students will analyze the coverage in their own publication.
  • Students will develop reasons why their coverage should accurately reflect their school population.
  •  Students will develop a plan to create greater diversity in their coverage.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


One and one half 50-minute classes


Copies of a recent publication from your staff

Slideshow: Diversity

Slideshow: We’re really diverse

Class set: “Diversity: It’s not just a black-and-white issue” by Don Bott in Communication: Journalism Education Today

Rubric: Diversity reflection

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 15 minutes

Begin by showing one or both of the attached slideshows. While one is more general, the other is from a fairly yearbook-specific perspective. The concepts discussed apply to all media. Discuss the concept of diversifying coverage on your staff. Explain to students that publications should ideally represent the populations that they serve.  To that end, we’re going to do an experiment to see what people we cover most frequently in our publication.

Explain that students are going to read and analyze a recent issue of our publication. They will go through the issue keeping track of the sex, grade and race of every person who is quoted or covered in the publication.

(Hand out copies of recent publication and give students 30 minutes to read and document data. In an effort to save time, students could all be given the same issue and each student could do one page, then data could be tabulated on the board in the front of the room.)

Teacher should gather data ahead of time that correctly describes the make-up of the entire school (include the faculty in that data) and the make-up of the staff (by sex, grade level and race)

2. Individualized Reading — 30 minutes

On an individual basis, students should read the paper thoroughly, tabulating the sex, grade and race of every individual who is quoted or covered in the paper on a scrap sheet of paper.  If you do this where each student does one page, then spend time at the end of the exercise tabulating results on the whiteboard for everyone to see.

Add all the numbers up and double-check your math.

Compare the results you find in your publication with the numbers that comprise your school population.

3. Develop an action plan based on your results — 20 minutes

Have each student jot down what they feel the results mean.  Share those answers out loud in a class discussion.  As a class, brainstorm ways that your staff can improve the diversity of students covered in your publication.  Make sure they are tangible, measurable ways that can help improve the diversity of your coverage.

4. Follow-up exercise — homework

Part 1: Assign each student in class a person to interview in the school who represents one of the school’s multicultural organizations or activities.  Make sure you’re interviewing both adults and students.  Develop a list of interview questions as a class that you can ask in order to find out how these people feel they are represented in our school paper, in the local media and in the national news media.

Sample questions could include:

–       How many times was your group covered in the school publication last year? Who was covered specifically? Were you covered in the local, state, national media? How?

–       Are you happy with the amount of coverage your group receives? If not, why?

–       What is your perception of who gets covered in our school publication? Local media? State/national media?

–       What suggestions for coverage do they have?

Part 2: Students should read the attached articles about diversity by Don Bott.  They should write a reflection on both pieces. The reflective writing rubric below can be used to grade this writing.  Give students a copy of the rubric ahead of time so they know your expectations.

After students complete this exercise, have them bring their results back and share in a class discussion.  After the discussion, they should develop an action plan that helps them set a goal for diversifying their coverage and a step-by-step plan for meeting those goals.