Your first step is to review the following Internet sites to get a basic understanding of the political, economical, and social issues that were taking place in the 1930s.  (Don't forget to take notes.)



Interview: Growing Up Black in the 1930s in McCulleys Quarters,  Alabama


Interview:  Growing Up White in the South in the 1930s

             Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement: We Shall Overcome


            Jim Crow Laws



            Monroeville, Alabama – The real Maycomb County setting for the        



            American Radio Works:  Remembering Jim Crow        



Now you will start working on your newspaper.  


1.    Write three newspaper articles regarding events that happen at the beginning, middle, and end of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Additional information on writing a newspaper article can be found on the following website:




Each article must be at least three paragraphs in length and contain information from a section of the novel.  Don't forget to include additional information from your research. 


After you have completed these articles, do not submit them for evaluation.  You will hold onto them until you are ready to create the Maycomb County newspaper.  You will then submit the project (newspaper) for evaluation. 



2.  Write two editorials about the trial.  The authors of these editorials must be two characters from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and must have different points of view about the trial. 


The following information is from:


Writing Editorials


The editorial serves as the official view of the paper, reflecting the opinions of many sides of an issue. It is composed by an editorial board which agrees on the topic and the view to present.


Editorial Content

v    deals with a current issue which is effecting many readers

v    may attempt to influence, by giving readers all of the facts and concerns

v    offer suggestions and indications as to outcomes

v    the opinion, if offered, will not be an extreme view, but a well prepared and informed one, taking into consideration many aspects from both sides of the debate




v    an editorial presents the official view of the paper, so it is a wisely thought out

v    clear and concise wording- free of emotive terms

v    usually balanced, presenting all aspects of the situation/event/issue

v    written on an important topic, often a deep seated problem within society, which is likely to be of interest or concern to many readers

v    doesn't normally include reported speech


Editorial stories have:


v    Introduction, body, solution and conclusion like other news stories.

v    An objective explanation of the issue, especially complex issues.

v    A timely news angle.

v    Opinions from the opposing viewpoint that directly refute the same issues the writer addresses.

v    Good editorials engage issues, not personalities and refrain from name-calling or other petty tactics of persuasion.

v    Alternative solutions to the problem or issue being criticized. Anyone can gripe about a problem, but a good editorial should take a proactive approach to making the situation better by using constructive criticism and giving solutions.

v    A solid and concise conclusion that powerfully summarizes the writer's opinion. Give it some punch.


Four Types of Editorials


v    Editorials of argument and persuasion take a firm stand on a problem or condition. They attempt to persuade the reader to think the same way. This editorial often proposes a solution or advises taking some definite action.

v    Editorials of information and interpretation attempt to explain the meaning or significance of a situation or news event. There is a wide variety of editorials in this category, ranging from those which provide background information to those which identify issues.

v    Editorials of tribute, appreciation or commendation praise a person or an activity.

v    Editorials of entertainment have two categories. One is the short humorous treatment of a light topic. The second is a slightly satirical treatment of a serious subject. (Satire is the use of sarcasm or keen wit to denounce abuses or follies. While it ridicules or makes fun of a subject it has the intent of improving it.)


Structure of an Editorial   


Editorials are written according to a well-established formula.

v    Introduction - state the problem

v    Body - expresses an opinion

v    Solution - offers a solution to the problem

v    Conclusion - emphasizes the main issue

Additional tips on structuring your opinion story:

v    Lead with an Objective Explanation of the Issue/Controversy. Include the five W's and the H. Pull in facts and quotations from sources which are relevant.

v    Present Your Opposition First. As the writer you disagree with these viewpoints. Identify the people (specifically who oppose you). Use facts and quotations to state objectively their opinions. Give a strong position of the opposition. You gain nothing in refuting a weak position.

v    Directly Refute The Opposition's Beliefs. You can begin your article with transition. Pull in other facts and quotations from people who support your position. Concede a valid point of the opposition which will make you appear rational, one who has considered all the options.

v    Give Other, Original Reasons/Analogies. In defense of your position, give reasons from strong to strongest order. Use a literary or cultural allusion that lends to your credibility and perceived intelligence.

v    Conclude With Some Punch.Give solutions to the problem or challenge the reader to be informed.
A quotation can be effective, especially if from a respected source. A rhetorical question can be an effective concluder as well. While it ridicules or makes fun of a subject with the intent of improving it.


How to write an opinion piece

Think of an opinion piece as a persuasive essay: the writer has an opinion or a point of view on an issue and he or she wants to convince the reader to agree. This is not as easy as it may seem.

1.    You must research your topic and find out what’s happening and what went on in the past.

2.    You must know the facts and be able to refer to them in your argument.

3.    start your editorial with a basic premise or theme.

4.    use facts and details to back up your opinion and help you make your case.

5.    Leave your readers with a lasting impression -- a strong point that will make them consider your point of view.

6.    Don’t preach to the reader. A good editorial will make readers take notice of the situation and form their own opinions on the issue.


After you have completed these editorials, do not submit them for evaluation.  You will hold onto them until you are ready to create the Maycomb County newspaper.  You will then submit the project (newspaper) for evaluation.


see caption below

Destitute peapickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California. Dorothea Lange. 1936 March. Prints and Photographs Division.
bibliographic record
Your newspaper will not be complete until you include the obituaries, advertisements, want ads, and interesting pictures. 

3.  Obituaries:    You must write at least two obituaries for your Maycomb County newspaper.  One is for Tom and the other is for Bob Ewell.  Unless you have memorized all of the facts in To Kill a Mockingbird, you will probably be referring back to your novel for information about these two characters to include in your obituaries. 

 Here is some basic information that should be included in your obituaries:

(From an article by Dr. Hastings from Northern State University

4.    Advertisements:  Click on the following Mooresville Times Prices January 1930 website to learn more about what items cost in the 1930s.  You will use this information to come up with at least two advertisements for your newspaper.

5.    Want Ads:  A newspaper would not be complete without want ads.  For this project, you will be required to create at least two want ads regarding the economic situation of the 1930s.  View the following website to get a better understanding of the Great Depression and how it weakened America's economy in the 1930s.  Your want ads should include what type of jobs would been available during this time and who should apply for the positions.

    The Great Depression.

6.    Pictures:  Find at least two pictures to include in your newspaper that are relevent to what was happening at the time.  You can include pictures of the Great Depression, racism, the Civil Rights Movement, or other pictures that symbolize the events of the 1930s.  You can use pictures from the following website; however, please feel free to search the Internet for more pictures.


After you have completed these items for your newspaper, do not submit them for evaluation.  You will hold onto them until you are ready to create the Maycomb County newspaper.  You will then submit the project (newspaper) for evaluation. 


Putting it All Together - Creating your Newspaper

You should have at least the following items created and ready to include in your newspaper: 

1.    Three newspaper articles

2.    Two editorials

3.    Two obituaries

4.    Two advertisements

5.    Two want ads

6.    Two pictures


(Your newspaper should be at least four pages in length.) 


You can create your newspaper in a word document or by using other computer software.  If you do not have the appropriate software, or you would rather create your newspaper by printing out your items and constructing your newspaper using regular paper, construction paper, etc., please feel free to do so.  I expect you to be creative with this project; however, remember that you will be graded mostly on how you apply the facts from To Kill a Mockingbird and your research information into a fully-developed newspaper.