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Photographing War

Created By: Paul Hohulin, Centennial High School (Champaign, IL)
Content Area: U.S. History

Illinois Learning Standards Achieved

Standard Achieved

Activity that Meets this Standard

14.D.4: Analyze roles and influences of individuals, groups and media in shaping current debates on state and national policies. Students will analyze roles and influences of news media using photographs in coverage of war. This lesson will look at the photographs of Matthew Brady during the Civil War and photographs of the modern news media covering the current war in Iraq. Comparisons and contrasts will be drawn based on pictures and news of both wars.



Students will compare and contrast the role of Matthew Brady photographing the Civil War and the current role of embedded reporters capturing images of the war in Iraq. Students will consider the following:

  1. Why did Matthew feel partly to blame for the defeat of the Union in the first Battle of Bull Run?
  2. How did the American public respond to graphic photographs of the Civil War?
  3. How have recent photographs of the war in Iraq affected your opinion of the war?
  4. Evaluate the changes in technology and the resulting impact on American public opinion.
  5. Discuss the time element involved in access to news coverage i.e. the amount of time it takes for news coverage to reach the American public.
  6. Analyze the differences between the coverage offered by U.S. news agencies and foreign news agencies such as Al Jezeera or BBC.