“The Post” comes to classrooms with new curriculum guide

May 9, 2018

USC Rossier partner Journeys in Film helps educators using new lesson plans

By USC Rossier staff

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in ‘The Post,’ a movie about the right of journalists to report on the government. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

More than 40 years after the Pentagon Papers exposed the involvement of the United States in Vietnam in the years leading up to and during the Vietnam War, the newspaper battle that played out over the papers’ release continue to reverberate today.

For educators teaching about history and journalism, the right of news media to cover their government gained renewed interested following the release in 2017 of “The Post.”

Now USC Rossier partner Journeys in Film, a nonprofit organization that creates education materials and lesson plans based on popular films and documentaries, has joined with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to create an eight-part curriculum guide based on the Academy Award-nominated film.

“The Post” follows legendary publisher of The Washington Post Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) as they join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up brought to light in a series of leaked military documents dubbed the Pentagon Papers. The ensuing legal battle with the Nixon White House over the right to publish went all the way to the Supreme Court and set an important precedent for the fate of journalistic freedom in the United States.

The curriculum guide is made up of an eight-part lesson plan, designed for students in grades 6-12, examining the story behind this landmark event that continues to shape the way Americans view their government over 40 years later.

Teachers can use the curriculum guide in conjunction with the film to create immersive programs for their students centered on journalistic principles and ethics, the important roll that the press play in a democratic society, the historical context of the Pentagon Papers and more.