Her family tragedy was breaking news. Now she makes students into better media consumers.

michelle lipkinEach semester, Michelle Ciulla Lipkin struggles with the right time to share a very personal story with her media studies students at Brooklyn College. She hopes it will help explain her desire for a more media-literate society. She also hopes it will explain how the media’s coverage of a news story forever changes the experiences of those individuals who become part of the story.

The lesson usually follows a terrorist attack, she says, and in this case, the recent attack in Lower Manhattan, which killed eight people on Oct. 31, 2017.

The story she shares starts out in 1988, just before Christmas. Then-17-year-old Ciulla Lipkin had dropped off poinsettias at her home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, in preparation for the holidays when the family would be together again. At around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Michelle’s mother, Mary Lou, had the TV on when her soap opera was interrupted with breaking news.

“It was true breaking news. Not breaking news like it is today,” said Ciulla Lipkin.

Read more at PBS News Hour.

Image courtesy of PBS News Hour.