high school investigative reporter

Students will take on the role of an investigative journalist pursuing a story on a local or national issue. Students will imagine that the article being written is for a nationally syndicated Catholic Social Justice magazine or newspaper. The purpose of the article is to raise awareness of a particular issue of human life and dignity addressed in the Faithful Citizenship statement by presenting a factual account of the realities surrounding the issue. The article should challenge the reading audience to think critically about their personal and collective responsibility.


  • To reflect on and think critically about a particular issue and the realities surrounding that issue.
  • To understand how Faithful Citizenship, Scripture, and/or Catholic Social Teaching relate to an issue.
  • To challenge others to reflect on and think critically about personal and collective responsibility.


  1. Choose a current public policy issue.
  2. Research the merits of the particular issue both in light of Catholic social teaching and in terms of serving the public interest.
  3. Choose a creative headline and subtitle for the article that will hook the readers.
  4. Articles should be between 2-4 pages in length.
  5. Student must make use of the Faithful Citizenship statement in combination with any number of the following:
    • The Faithful Citizenship statement
    • Scripture
    • Catholic social teaching
    • Statistics
    • Anecdotes
    • Public or expert opinion
    • Magazine, newspaper, or Journal articles
    • Books, organizational brochures, or websites
  6. Articles will be published (graded) based upon the article's
    • Organization (is it cohesive, does it flow?)
    • Scope (does is place an issue in a broader struggle for justice?)
    • Focus (does it provide a specific context for understanding?)
    • Creativity (what about the language and content is unique?)
    • Understanding (does the article present new ideas or themes?)
    • Relevance (is the audience persuaded that the issue really matters?)
  7. Possible generic questions may come from six journalist questions, such as:
    • Who?
      Who are the participants, who is affected, who are the primary actors, who are the secondary actors?
    • What?
      What is the topic? What is its significance? What is the basic problem? What are the relevant issues?
    • Where?
      Where does the activity take place? Where does the problem or issue originate? At what place is the cause or effect of the problem most pronounced?
    • When?
      When is the issue most apparent? When did the issue or problem develop? What historical forces helped shape the problem or issue and at what point in time will the problem or issue culminate in a crisis? When is action needed to address the issue or problem?
    • Why?
      Why did the problem or issue arise? Why is your topic an issue or problem at all? Why did the issue or problem develop in the way that it did?
    • How?
      How is the problem significant? How can it be addressed? How does it affect the participants? How can it be resolved?