Story ideas for News Day 2012

Caught in the viewfinder; budding reporters from Northern Ireland presenting Budding reporters from Northern Ireland present to the camera

Finding story ideas can be a daunting prospect, but not all news stories have to be cutting edge or breaking news.

Many can be pre-planned and based on upcoming events or themes that crop up regularly in the media.

So with News Day fast approaching, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Olympics and Paralympics Games

The Olympic stadium The Olympic site is poised for all the action to begin

The Olympic and Paralympic Games present a great opportunity for students to generate stories in the build-up to the games.

The games consist of an array of sports, activities and events. Does your school have any links with athletes taking part? Perhaps an ex-school-member-turned-athlete will make the perfect interviewee.

New artworks for London 2012 may be the talk of the community. Is your school located within an Olympic host borough? How have artworks and other planned developments affected your community? Find out more on planned artworks and creative events during London 2012 in the Art in the Park programme.

Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch Rehearsals for the Torch Relay will take place on 30 April

This summer will see the Olympic flame travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK, carried by 8,000 Torchbearers.

A rehearsal is set to take place on 30 April along the Leicester to Peterborough stretch of the route to test the convoy. It may be interesting to find out about the participants involved. Who would your students like to see holding the Torch and why?

For more ideas on news stories surrounding The Games, visit the London 2012 website.

The Cultural Olympiad

Illuminate Bath 2012 Festival The Illuminate Bath 2012 festival took place in January as part of The Cultural Olympiad

As the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements, more than 16 million people across the UK have taken part in or attended performances linked with the Cultural Olympiad.

Some of these events and activities could be an inspiration for your students.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, which runs from 21 June until 9 September. This will be the UK's biggest ever nationwide festival and will feature more than 1,000 events, ranging from opera and circus acts to film and fashion. There will be something here for every School Reporter to investigate.

The Diamond Jubilee

The Queen The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated nationwide

The Diamond Jubilee is another once-in-a-lifetime occasion taking place this year, with several events taking place nationwide to commemorate the Queen's 60th year on the throne.

Numerous engagements by members of the Royal family will be taking place around the globe in the lead-up to the big day on 2 June. The Queen will start her UK tour with her first visit on 8 March. Is your school or local area being visited by a Royal?

  • Face Britain is encouraging young people to submit self-portraits as part of a World Record attempt. With submissions due on 31 March and a series of exhibitions to follow, it could be a fantastic reporting opportunity.
  • Cook for the Queen is inviting schools to create create special menus and compete for the chance to cater for the Queen during Jubilee Fortnight. If your school is planning to submit a menu in April, you could document any preparations in the run-up to News Day.

As well as Royal engagements there is the Commonwealth Day Observance in Westminster Abbey on 12 March with the Queen, which will also be attended by 1,000 UK school children.

The Jubilee celebrations are also providing a wealth of charity and community opportunities.

Sport

Although the Olympics may be occupying much of the limelight in this year's sport, the regular annual fixtures are definitely still worth keeping an eye out for.

McLaren driven Lewis Hamilton McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton looks ahead to the start of the new season

With championship and league matches taking place regularly, and Euro 2012 prospects to look forward to, football stories rarely miss the headlines - and they are often a big hit in the playground.

Enthusiastic rugby supporters could be inspired to do something in relation to the Six Nations, which will be reaching its climax a few days after News Day. Similarly, the new F1 Season is due to start the day after News Day, and cricket will also have its ICC World Twenty20 qualifying rounds beginning in March.

  • Your stories don't have to relate to huge fixtures. Sport Relief is taking place from the 23-25 March and there may be specific fundraising events taking place in your school or local area.

You could even report on any sports events taking place within the school too, documenting local clubs, matches or (amicable) school sports rivalries.

And don't forget that surveys and statistics can be a great way of finding news stories. We've teamed up with the cenus-style project SportAtSchool to enable your school to compare its sporting habits against a national database.

Careers

National Careers Week is coming up, and students will be considering their options after school.

Talk of rising tuition fees will definitely stir up a debate. As prospective university-goers, how will the rise in tuition fees affect their futures?

Rising unemployment rates The topic of unemployment could be a chance to gain a student's perspective

The recession and rising rate of unemployment among young people is another hot topic. Perhaps you know someone directly affected by this and may want to interview them to gain an insight on their story.

Alternatively, the story could take a positive approach and look at the rise in young entrepreneurs, and how they are overcoming these difficulties.

Teen issues

Of course, news stories are not always light-hearted. Teenagers and pre-teens often face serious issues that may benefit from being talked about - you might even find ways of addressing and overcoming some problems.

  • Have a look at current issues in the media that may prompt debate - for example, Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to "crush" racism in football. What do you think about this and how can it be tackled?

Common themes are racism, stereotyping, peer pressure or bullying. Students may have strong views and opinions on any of these situations and want to have their say expressed. Perhaps someone has a story worth sharing that may enlighten the rest of the group.

Health

An array of fruit, vegetables and healthy foods. Does a healthy diet appeal to school children?

Health is a constant topic of interest, with plenty of scope for highlighting issues or documenting new measures on how a healthy lifestyle can be maintained in schools.

Childhood obesity is a prominent concern in schools, and school dinners never fail to arouse debate. How healthy are school meals? What do students think of them?

  • No Smoking Day is also taking place on the 14 March and may interest School Reporters.

Simple ideas such as encouraging students to keep a food diary recording everything they eat and calculating their weekly sugar consumption could make a worthwhile story.

Science and technology

Using Twitter on a Smartphone Are smartphones and social media too big a distraction in schools?

School Reporters are likely to be very passionate about technology, as they are often at the helm of new developments.

With changes in the ICT curriculum recently announced, perhaps School Reporters have opinions about what they want to get out of their ICT lessons?

Smartphones and social media sites are also ripe for debate - maybe smartphones are becoming an increasing issue in your school? What are the latest apps and trends circulating in the schoolyard?

Science is also an exciting topic for the School Reporters, and with National Science and Engineering Week due to take place during News Day, as well as The Big Bang Fair, there may be plenty of inspiring story opportunities around.

Animals and the environment

A Kestrel in Scotland An endangered kestrel spotted in Scotland

Very often it is the simplest stories that make the biggest impact. You may not even have to look too far for inspiration; a story could be right on your doorstep in the form of observations of your local wildlife.

Animal can make interesting and quirky subjects for stories, so it's definitely worthwhile keeping a watch on the outdoors.

  • What is unique about the wildlife in your school grounds? A rare species that frequents the area or the school wildlife club might make topics for a great report.

On a similar note the environment is also a very topical concern. You might want to examine climate change or look into what measures your school is taking to promote sustainability.

Local community and school

One starting point when looking for a story is your local area. You can document anything relevant in your area - local news, businesses opening or closing, and local events.

  • Look around you - does your school have a special mascot or emblem? There may be a story behind it.
  • Perhaps your school might be turning into an Academy school - if so, what do people think?

Sometimes the best stories are actually found within the school, looking at issues the students can relate to. Whether it involves delving deeper into the school archives or looking forward at new developments, happenings in the school can make perfect stories.

Interviews with your head teacher or school staff can be a great way to develop journalistic skills and find a good story. You can also go out and speak to local MPs, authors, sportsman, musicians or artists.

School Report resources

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