Lesson 1: What is news and where to find it

A School Reporter from Wildern School using a video camera Image copyright Other

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LESSON 1: WHAT IS NEWS AND WHERE TO FIND IT

This lesson explains what makes news newsworthy and where to find news, as well as the importance of thinking about your audience.

We also have a pick and mix section where teachers can pick out resources to create bespoke lessons for their pupils.

And the special Teacher Essentials section includes lots of extra information and advanced resources.

Please note: this lesson is designed to run for an hour, but all timings (except for video durations) are approximate and can be expanded or reduced if necessary.

OBJECTIVES
•To understand what makes a story newsworthy •To understand that news comes in a variety of formats and styles for different audiences •To understand the nature of different news sources •To understand the importance of truth and accuracy in news

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OVERVIEW AND RESOURCES

ACTIVITY APPROXIMATE DURATION RESOURCES REQUIRED
1. Video - What is news 2 mins 30 secs (+ 2-3 mins to recap/discuss) Internet access or download
2. Video - Finding news 3 mins (+ 2-3 mins to recap/discuss) Internet access or download
3. Activity - News judgement 10 mins Internet access or download
4. Activity - Spot the sources 10 mins Printable worksheet
5. Video - Finding news masterclass 3 mins (+ 2-3 mins to recap/discuss) Internet access or download
6. Activity - BBC News Cards 20 mins Internet access or printable worksheet
7. Quiz - Finding news 10 mins Internet access or printable worksheet/answer sheet

ACTIVITIES

Video: What is news? (2 mins 30 secs video + 2-3 mins to recap/discuss)

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains what makes news newsworthy and why truth and accuracy matters so much to journalists.

He also points out why you need to think about your audience and how a journalist is never truly off-duty!

You can recap the key points from the video using the accompanying worksheet, or read a transcript of the video:

Key points: What is news? [26.54] Transcript: What is news? [23.79]

A Welsh language version of the video is also available, together with a transcript.

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Video: Finding news? (3 mins video + 2-3 mins to recap/discuss)

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains where you can start looking for inspiration for stories to cover in your reports.

And he emphasises the importance of making sure you have reliable sources for your stories.

You can recap the key points from the video using the accompanying worksheet, or read a transcript of the video:

Key points: Finding news  [26.2 KB] Transcript: Finding news [24.4 KB]

A Welsh language version of the video is also available, together with a transcript.

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Activity: News judgement (10 mins)

Bearing in mind the tips from Huw Edwards, print out this worksheet and put a tick next to the headlines you think are the genuine news stories - and a cross next to the headlines that aren't news.

Worksheet: news judgement [27.04]

Why did you choose the stories you did?

What do you think the key ingredients of a good story are?

Can your group or class agree on the most important elements of a good story?

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Activity: Spot the sources (10 mins)

For this activity, you will need to print out this worksheet:

Worksheet: School sources [177.42]

Look at the images on the worksheet and circle all the possible news sources - that's where you might find a story that your audience wants and/or needs to know about.

Now answer these questions?

1. Which of these could be sources in your school for your news story?

2. What other sources could you use? Think about outside school too.

Events that go on inside the school and your local community can be just as important to your audience as major global news, so remember not to overlook great sources of information and stories close to home.

And think about journalists who work on your local newspaper or local TV or radio station. Where might they get their stories from?

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Video: Finding news masterclass (3 mins video + 2-3 mins to recap/discuss)

BBC Radio 5 live journalist Karlene Pinnock has to find stories and guests for her programmes every day at work.

With stints on programmes like Newsbeat also on her CV, Karlene is an expert when it comes to the business of finding news and coming up with fresh angles and ideas for existing stories.

Watch Karlene's video to learn her real-life tips for spotting great stories and identifying the best people to talk to about them.

You can recap the key points from the video using the accompanying worksheet or read a transcript of the video:

Key points: Finding news masterclass [31.93] Transcript: Finding news masterclass [23.22]

BBC journalists are increasingly using social media such as Twitter as a way of finding stories, information and ideas.

These sites can be fantastic sources of information but need to be used responsibly, especially by young people.

Read School Report's guide to using Twitter safely as a journalist for some top tips, while the BBC Webwise team have some great tips and information about how to use social media safely and responsibly.

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Activity: BBC News cards (20 mins)

One of the BBC's values as an organisation is that "audiences are at the heart of everything we do".

Thinking about the audience is an important part of journalism, and this exercise will help explain the different types of audiences for news - including your School Report stories.

Work in pairs or larger groups if appropriate.

For this activity, you will need to print off and cut out a set of BBC News cards for each group.

Worksheet: News cards [181]

The objective of the exercise is to decide which audience different news programmes are aimed at and gain an understanding of what that means for your work with School Report.

A reads out the content of their card.

B listens and then writes down a description - or even a representative drawing for the artistic - of the typical person who would watch or listen to that programme. How old would they be? What sort of interests might they have? What type of music would they enjoy? What kind of job would they have? etc

A and B can discuss the results and then swap roles, before writing out a similar card for the school's School Report content. Don't worry if you can't fill in every box.

What audience is likely to be reading/watching/listening to your output? And what does that mean in terms of how you approach stories and which stories you cover?

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Quiz: What is news and where to find it (10 mins)

This multiple-choice quiz is designed to test your knowledge of news programmes and services, sources, and truth and accuracy.

It also provides real-life scenarios to prompt discussions about the issues that surround the world of news.

Pupils can take the above test online, either on this page or on a separate page which is easier to email and distribute at school; a low-tech alternative would be to print out this worksheet:

Quiz: What is news and where to find it [26.39]

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Image copyright bbc

For reference, teachers may like to look at previous years' lesson plans including 2009-11 and 2006-8.

This lesson has been approved by the BBC College of Journalism.