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When They See Us

Project Overview

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Produce 60-second news segments introducing the 
Central Park jogger case - using data to back up your story.

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Watch Film  


Kick Off


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Form Teams

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Present & Discuss

1 hour



2 hour

1 hour

Appropriate for ages 15+

We recommend at least 4 hours for this project

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Step 1: Watch Film


When They See Us is a 2019 American crime drama television miniseries created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, that premiered in four parts on May 31, 2019. It is based on events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case and explores the lives and families of the five black male suspects who were falsely accused then prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman in Central Park, New York City.


When They See Us is powerful and also painful to watch. Viewers should be aware that the series may bring up strong emotions.  

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Step 2: Watch Kick Off Video

Kick off Video
Play Video

Your job is to create your own news segments.

Imagine that the infamous Central Park jogger case just happened.

Your job is to produce a 60-second news segment introducing the case.

But there is a twist, you must produce two versions with opposing points of view.

AND you must use real statistics & visualizations to sell your stories.

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Step 3: Form a news organization

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Form a team (2-4 people) and take on one or more of the following roles:

Director - manages the news team & makes final call on any disagreements
Producer - keeps track of all elements (script, graphics, video, sound)
Anchor - presents the final news segments & works with the writer to craft the story
Data Analyst - delivers the final data visualizations needed for the story
Writer - responsible for the final script

Refer to the Career Descriptions to better understand these roles.

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Step 4: Data Science Crash Course

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This section consists of a sequence of four videos interspersed with short questions to get you comfortable doing basic data analysis using real arrest data.

Work on this alone or with your team.

After this section you'll be able to generate the data needed for your news segments.

Continue by using the arrow to your right!

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Step 5: Create your news segments

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  • Begin with a team meeting led by your producer to plan your day & schedule. 

  • Led by your Data Analyst explore the NYC arrest Database to find evidence to better understand the case. What story does the data tell you?

  • Led by the writer, use your findings to develop a script for your news segment.


  • Your pieces must incorporate some data visualization to support your argument.

  • You can either perform your news segments live or you can create a video. 

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Step 6: Present your news segment

& Group discussion

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Each team will present to the group & give feedback on other team's work.

Presentation Feedback tips:

  • What do you like most about the news segment? 

  • How effective was the data visualization in supporting the story?

  • How did it make you feel?

Post-Presentation Group Discussion:

  • Why do you think this wrongful arrest happened?

  • Who benefits from biased media?

  • Everyone has biases. What did you learn about your own biases during this project?

  • What did you learn from watching other students work?

Share your work on social media using the hashtag #movieschool

We have to uphold free press and freedom of speech - because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth. 


Barack Obama

Congratulations on successfully completing the project!

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