Teacher Resources: Activity - News Day in an hour (50 mins)

This activity is further broken down into individual sections:

1. Introduction (2 mins)

Pupils should be split into groups - preferably of five - with each group producing a bulletin. Each member of the group is a reporter who needs to produce a report for the bulletin of 20 seconds duration: 3 x news, 1 x sport and 1 x weather report.

If groups need to be bigger, you could also appoint other roles such as editors. You can consult our full guide to the wide range of roles that exist in TV, radio and online newsrooms.

But bear in mind that not all of these roles will be necessary in an hour-long lesson.


2. Editorial meeting (8 mins)

Each group should quickly read newspapers/news websites to pick stories to cover and select which audience they would like to 'broadcast' to.

For example, you might want to choose secondary school-age children or 20-30-year-old professionals.

Choose which stories to cover and assign reporters to each story.


3. Video: Writing news (5 mins video)

Huw's top tip: Writing news, with subtitles

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the 3 C's of news writing: being Clear, Concise and Correct.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the essentials of writing news.

Writing scripts and news stories also means understanding that you need to get straight to the point! There's no point in having an amazing news story but leaving the most important fact to the last sentence!

You can recap the key points from the video with this accompanying worksheet:

Worksheet: Huw Edwards' top tips on writing news


4. Writing your reports (15 mins)

Bearing in mind the tips from the video, now write, order and rehearse your reports.

Remember the three C's of news writing: be Clear, Concise and Correct.

Be aware that the BBC rule of thumb for scripts is three words per second, so a 20-second report should be not much more than 60 words. It should also be in the third person (so avoid using "I" or "we" in your reports) and usually in the past tense.

Rehearse as much as possible so you are confident with your script.


5. Safe and legal checklist (5 mins)

Don't forget that it is your responsibility to check that your reports are safe and legal before you broadcast them.

In addition to fair and accurate reporting, it is important for journalists to stay within the law. Libel, contempt of court and copyright breaches are all potentially serious issues and the school is responsible for the material published as part of School Report.

For that reason, ongoing crime stories and celebrity gossip are usually best avoided.

The importance of safeguarding children is key to a project like School Report, which is why we also insist on using only first names of people below 18.


6. On air! (10 mins)

Each group can now read their bulletin in turn.

Time each group's bulletin, or get teams to time each other's. If all five individual reports stick to their 20 seconds, the whole bulletin should last one minute 40 seconds in total.

Students should actively listen and complete this worksheet of questions:

Worksheet: Analysing bulletins [20.91]


7. Conclusions (5 mins)

As a class, what did you learn from the one-hour exercise?

Bearing in mind that there will be more time on News Day, what could you do differently or better next time? Bear in mind that you should have more time on News Day - but there will still be deadlines to meet.

Suggestions could include: using video, audio, photos, animation or musical compositions; having a countdown clock; looking into local or school stories; setting up interviews; producing some 'vox pops'; set dressing; jingles; and graphics.