The Press Corps of the Montessori Model United Nations is an important component of simulating the work of the United Nations. As an inter-governmental organization, the UN itself serves as a platform for discussion between the nations of the world and their respective societies. It moreover promotes and facilitates cooperative ventures, the press corps serves to familiarize the public with the proceedings and initiatives of the United Nations, facilitating interaction between communities and their representatives on a variety of issues.
The Press Corps is composed of reporters, each of whom represents a news agency, rather than representing countries as delegates do. These reporters take on the unique task of summarizing and disseminating news of the happenings of the conference. Using the conference blog and a number of other mediums, reporters play a vital role in simulating the work of the United Nations.
The press is a key component of accountability. Delegates at the UN are supposed to represent the opinions and interests of their countries and its citizens, and the reporting of the press corps allows the general public to check on their representatives and exercise influence on them as necessary. Additionally, media organizations can magnify the voice of underrepresented or oppressed groups, such as minorities, by providing them with a platform to speak. Through investigative journalism, media organizations can spotlight issues that might otherwise be overlooked.
Finally, given the vital role of the press in the work of the United Nations, the freedom of the press is a necessary civil liberty. Without widespread respect and awareness of this freedom, the work of the press becomes far more difficult.
Press Corps in Committee
Committee Background Information
The United Nations Press Corps will consist of 40 reporters, representing 20 different news outlets (there will be two reporters per news outlet, both being from the same Montessori middle school). Significantly, this committee will not use traditional UN rules and procedures in accordance with MMUN’s “Rules and Procedures”. Notably, instead of Resolutions, reporters will be writing articles about what is going on at the actual MMUN conference. These articles will be posted using the MMUN social media pages and a new blog (www.mmunpresscorps.wordpress.com), which we have created for this committee in particular.
Delegates on this committee must be in middle school, as this is a writing based committee that requires basic knowledge of journalism, as well as a highly developed knowledge of the English language. Thus, although it is not necessary to restrict this committee to students where English is their native language, it is imperative that their knowledge of English is at the seventh grade level of proficiency. This point cannot be stressed enough. Even one news outlet that does not fully comprehend English will significantly hinder the progress of the committee as a whole, as everyone moves at roughly the same pace. Finally, we highly encourage that your students who participate in this new committee be interested in English language (i.e. writing) and/or journalism, as well as international relations.
As coordinators, you know that in preparation for Model UN conferences, it is customary for students to write a Position Paper, which contains information about what their nation’s position, points of view and solutions are on given issues. Press Corps reporters must write their own version of a Position Paper, titled an “Editorial,” which must contain:
- News outlet background information
- Paragraphs on two chosen background issues (these can be from different committees, but one must be a “Topic A” and one must be a “Topic B” to ensure the reporter will be able to write on both committee days),
- Their news outlet’s positions on the issues chosen
- Refer to the Press Corp Process page
Delegate Assignments in 2 Steps
1 Download the News Outlets Guide which contains the list of News Outlets available for the delegates.
2 Have your delegates choose one or two of the NYC Conference Committees to report on. Then determine which of the two topics on which they will report. (NOTE: as mentioned above, the two topics can and should be from different committees, however the two choices must have one that is a “Topic A” and another that is a “Topic B”). Then download the Topic Background Guides corresponding to the chosen committee and topic.
3 At the time of registration, select one News Outlet your students would like to represent. The News Outlets are described in the Press Corps Outlet Guide.