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When They See Us: Media Bias and Data Analysis

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    • When They See Us: Media Bias and Data Analysis

      “When They See Us” chronicles the wrongful arrest and incarceration of the five young Black men known as the Central Park Five. Explore the series and the underlying story more deeply with this new learning companion and field study lesson.

      Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s media arts collective ARRAY is well known for crafting intelligent, beautiful, provocative films and series that amplify the work of people of color and women directors globally. Now this powerful work will be even more accessible through a new online education initiative, ARRAY 101, which provides students, teachers, and all interested people with dynamic learning resources that “move us into action while challenging us to explore why we believe what we believe.”

      ARRAY 101 has launched its first resource collection—a learning companion and field study lesson to accompany “When They See Us,” the Emmy-winning Netflix series about the five Black teenagers once called the Central Park Five, now known as the Exonerated Five. The story is painful and profoundly disturbing, and most viewers come out of the experience of watching it with strong emotions and lots of ideas. The learning resources are designed to help viewers make sense of those feelings and dig into core issues raised by the series.

      “When They See Us”: A Learning Companion features lesson plans and classroom activities, discussion questions, episode recaps, a detailed list of works cited, and resources for deeper learning on themes like racial bias, criminalization and inequity, power and positionality, and rights and justice. The field study lesson, Fair and Balanced? Media Bias and Data Analysis, produced in partnership with XQ, challenges students to become media creators and experience how information and data can be used to persuade, lead, and even mislead the public.

      The field study lesson, which includes four video “warm-ups,” guides students through producing two segments for a television news show that reflect opposing viewpoints. Students form teams, take on journalistic roles, and create two 60-second media segments, including data visualizations based on actual arrest statistics from the New York City Police Department. The project is a powerful way for students to develop collaboration, quantitative thinking, writing, and visual and verbal communication skills.



      ARRAY 101

      Learn more about “When They See Us” and access all the learning resources, including the special field study lesson, from this site.

      Fair and Balanced? Media Bias and Data Analysis

      This field study guide inspires students to create media pieces—and at the same time build their capacity to understand and identify media bias in the news they consume.

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Have you watched "When They See Us"? What issues do you think would resonate most for students?

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