Teacher resources: Activity - Scripting a story (30 mins)

An autocue camera
Image caption Newsreaders usually read their script off an autocue camera

Work in pairs.

For this activity, you will need to print out two copies of this worksheet, one is for a first draft and the other is for a final draft.

Worksheet: Writing and Assembling News [200.42]

Tell each other about the last thing that interested you so much that you couldn't wait to tell someone else. That's what news is essentially about - communicating something of interest.

Between you, decide on a news story you are going to report. It could be either of your stories or it could be something else.

If something else, do some research on the topic to gather the key facts - the 5 W's.

Now, one of you tell your partner about it, just like you did when you were telling your own piece of news.

The reason for doing this is that news is best communicated as though you were telling a friend. That way, the most interesting information, is naturally what you communicate first.

Having spoken your story out loud, write it down on the worksheet.

This will turn your story into a script, and also enable you to calculate how long it will take a presenter to speak it. Newsreaders usually read at three words per second, so a short 10 second story should be about 30 words.

Remember to keep your words clear, concise and correct:

Clear: Write it how you would say it. Get straight to the point at the beginning.

Concise: Don't waffle. Keep your sentences - and the length of your report - short.

Correct: Get your facts, spelling and grammar right.

You will probably need to rewrite your script, using the second worksheet, which is all good news-making practice. Most journalists will write and rewrite several times before they are happy with their work.

Once you have completed your script, you can add in notes about any quotes, sound effects, stills, graphics etc on the left-hand side of the worksheet.

If you've finished your script, write a cue - that's the introduction that another presenter gives before they hand to the journalist presenting the report. Remember, the aim is to promote the story that's about to come, not to tell it twice.

So, in your cue, don't repeat the words that are in the opening sentences of the report.