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Dying to Tell the Story - Curriculum Guide

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The Film – Dying to Tell the Story


Dying to Tell the Story is about a journalist, Dan Eldon, a 22-year-old photographer who was killed in Somalia in 1993. Born in London and raised largely in Kenya, he cared passionately about travel and visited 46 countries during his all-too-short lifetime. He was an activist who, even as a teenager, ran fundraisers for charities that were important to him, including raising money to pay for a needed heart operation for a friend. He joined his mother on her travels as a journalist and took photographs to accompany her stories from the age of twelve. He was deeply engaged in art as well, creating journal after journal filled with his photographs, drawings, and selected bits of text. Dan went to Somalia in 1992 and took powerful photographs of the famine and war in that country. Called by Somalis in 1993 to witness the deaths of 70 people as a result of a U.S. raid, Dan and four other journalists went to the site, where they were attacked by outraged Somalis; four of the journalists including Dan were killed and only one wounded reporter escaped.

Dan’s sister Amy, in trying to understand both his life and his death, traveled to Somalia and other places he had visited, and she interviewed journalists and photographers like Martin Bell and Christiane Amanpour who were taking the same kind of risks that he had. The film that resulted, Dying to Tell the Story, not only gives the viewer a portrait of this extraordinary young man, but also explains why journalists’ coverage of international conflicts is so crucial that reporters would risk their lives to do it.

To learn more about Dan Eldon,  You can learn about his biography, see pages from his journals, and find out about Dan’s legacy that inspires activists and artists today.

Screen The Film

View Dying to Tell the Story for free on  YouTube courtesy of the Creative Visions Foundation.

Purchase Dying to Tell the Story and Eldon’s other works by contacting the Creative Visions Foundation.

Journeys in Film and Creative Visions Foundation are deeply grateful to Una Jackman for underwriting the preparation of this curriculum unit.

The Curriculum Guide

This interdisciplinary curriculum guide for educators based on the film “Dying to Tell the Story” includes 8 lesson plans that cover language arts, social studies, visual literacy, visual arts, world history, and specialty areas.

  • Lesson 1 (English Language Arts, Visual Literacy)
    Characterizing a Legacy
  • Lesson 2 (Visual Arts)
    Making an Illustrated Journal
  • Lesson 3 (Career Studies)
    Photojournalism as a Career
  • Lesson 4 (World History)
    Somalia: A Case Study
  • Lesson 5 (World History)
    Bosnia: A Case Study
  • Lesson 6 (Economics)
    A Hungry Planet
  • Lesson 7 (Social Studies, Health, Psychology)
    What is PTSD?
  • Lesson 8 (Social Studies, Photography)
    Photographs That Changed History

Authors: Ryan Chamberlain, Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge, Marybeth Duckett Ireland, Sarah Franey, Martin Kushner, Laura Zlatos.


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