Democracy Now! can be used in a vast array of disciplines. This informative news program has been broadcasting each day for the past 13 years. In that time we have covered a wide range of topics, applying to subjects such as: Sociology, Political Science, History, Journalism, Media Studies, Environmental Studies, Literature, Law, Ethics, Gender Studies, and many more. Show segments can be found in our extensive archive, which is indexed and can be searched by key word, name or date.
When using any segment of Democracy Now! as a teaching tool, here are some general guidelines to help you get started:
• Put the Information into Context. Before beginning a conversation, put the information into time context – examining concurrent political, historical, foreign affairs or events. This is critical before using any media. If content is older, what has changed since then? Seek out information in more recent episodes of Democracy Now! or supplementary information.
• Preview. Watch or listen to video or radio segments ahead of time to determine which part would be best to use with your students. You might spend an hour discussing one segment or topic, or you might plan to watch only a portion of a segment or a variety of episodes or segments. All Democracy Now! programs can be viewed on-line by clicking on the detail page for the segment of your choice.
• Select Reading Material to Accompany the Video. Possible reading materials such as books, articles, reports, or blogs are often referred to in Democracy Now! segments.
• Set-up an Open Atmosphere for Discussion. Encourage multiple perspectives and points of view in your discussions around media content.
• Provide a Focus for Media Interaction. Provide students with a specific framework from which to watch the segment and/or offer them specific questions to consider before viewing the segment. Ask students: What do you know about this subject already? What do you want to know? Afterward, ask: What did you learn?
• Review. Replay segments if participants have questions or need clarification.
• Discuss Qualities of the Medium. De-construct the medium itself, and how it affects the story and points of view – radio, TV, print, etc.
• Before and After. Before listening to the show or segment, review the title, topic and the segment’s content summary You can review this summary at www.democracynow.org, locating the program by date in our "past shows" section or searching by key word in our search engine. Full transcripts are available for many of our segments by clicking on the segment detail page.
• Give Follow-up Research and Writing Assignments. Based on the video, written materials and class discussion, take it further with homework assignments.
• Take Action. Encourage students to use their discussions to take action — create community-based projects and initiatives, write letters, and get involved.
• Use Democracy Now! to Create Dialogue in Communities. Consider developing ongoing community/campus-wide projects or discussions using Democracy Now! materials in open forums. Some students started a weekly Democracy Now! Cafe on their campus where they showed a DVD and had a talk-back session hosted by a professor, local activist, or fellow student. Students/Teachers who want to set up a DN! Cafe at their school can rent the show of their choice, FREE OF CHARGE, by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org