Teacher resources: Reporting Red Nose Day

Georgia and Marcus filming School Reporters Georgia and Marcus, film Helen Skelton's high wire walk for Red Nose Day 2011

Red Nose Day is one of the UK's biggest television fundraising events, and also a great opportunity to test out your reporting skills.

Across the UK, special events involving celebrities, organisations and schools will be taking place in the days leading up to and on 15 March 2013, to raise money for charity.

Events like these make great news stories, so why not report them for School Report?

Below is a guide to get you started.

TV, RADIO OR ONLINE?

First of all, decide how you are going to present your final report.

BBC journalist Iain Mackenzie runs the the BBC News website technology section. He explains how to write a good web story and engage your readers.

Are you going to make a video or an audio report (podcast) to play on your school website?

Are you going to publish a text-based report online or in your school newspaper?

Make sure you have the equipment you need to make your report, such as recording equipment or the right computer software.

You will also need the support of relevant members of staff such as the IT technician, the web administrator or the school office.

FIND OUT WHAT'S HAPPENING

Your next task is to do some research.

Find out about the Red Nose Day events happening at your school or in your area.

There could be a celebrity you could interview, or an event you could report on such as a school fundraising day.

Start by asking your classmates, teachers and other members of staff.

Check the school calendar and diary. Read the noticeboards and look out for posters around the school.

You can also do some research by searching on the internet, in newspapers and by listening to your local radio station.

Now you know what's happening and where, decide what particular event you are going to report on.

GATHER THE NEWS

Now you can begin to gather facts and opinions about each of the events you have decided to cover.

Try to find out the answers to the five W questions:

• What's happening?

• Who's involved?

• Where's it taking place?

• When's it taking place?

• Why are people taking part?

As Red Nose Day is about having fun and using comedy to raise money for charities, an additional three good How questions to ask are:

• How do/did you feel about the event?

• How much money are you aiming to raise?

• How will the money be used?

One good way of gathering this information is through an interview. Decide who would make a good guest and write down a list of questions to ask them.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to School Reporters about his special Masterchef appearance

You can conduct interviews face to face, on the phone or via the internet.

Why not ask your teacher to help you contact someone outside your school who is involved with Comic Relief. A local celebrity or sportsperson could be involved. The manager of a local business might be promoting Red Nose Day.

Two years ago some School Reporters were able to ask Prime Minister David Cameron about his appearance in a special episode of Masterchef for Comic Relief.

And another group were among an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, which also included 50 celebrities, who raised money by attempting to break the record for the largest kazoo orchestra.

You can read their report here or listen to how they did in the box just below.

Two more reporters covered Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton's walk across a wire between the towers of Battersea Power Station and others spoke to CBBC presenters Sam and Mark about their new Comic Relief Does Glee Club Show.

If you are unable to get hold of the person you want to interview, but they manage to speak to another media outlet, you can still use their comments, so long as you state where you found them. For example: "During a radio interview on BBC Radio Cornwall, Dawn French said..."

If the event you are reporting on is taking place in your school, you could interview a teacher about it. If it is something occurring in your town or village, you could try asking someone from the community who is involved, such as a shopkeeper or local resident.

As well as gathering words (either written or spoken), remember to gather images (either still or moving) and sound effects.

You can find more about broadcasting here.

WRITE THE STORY OR SCRIPT

Once you have gathered facts and opinions, words and pictures, you are ready to plan and write your report.

You could start by describing the event to someone else before you begin writing. That way you can check whether they understand you. It also means you can change the report in your head before putting pen to paper, which saves time.

Try to tell your story in five short sentences.

If you are writing a script for a TV or radio report, try this activity to see how long it takes to read it out loud.

Students from Townley Grammar on the phone Townley Grammar School students chatted to CBBC presenters Sam and Mark over the phone

If you don't know how to start your report, leave the opening sentence until last.

Start by writing what happened in the order it occurred. With a few tweaks, you can use this for the body of your report.

Once your pen is flowing, you'll recognise the key facts. Now you can incorporate them in one sentence at the beginning.

Remember that in news, the most important or eye-catching information comes first.

For example, if the event you are reporting raised a large amount of money, you might write : "Students from [your] School raised £5,000 for Red Nose Day during a talent show."

If a celebrity is involved, you might start with: "The Saturdays came to [your town] to help raise money for Red Nose Day."

Once you have written the middle of your report and the beginning, add an end sentence about what is likely to happen next, and the first draft of your report is complete.

Double check your facts. If you're not sure about something you've written, ask. If you're still in doubt, take it out. The last thing you want to do is give people the wrong information.

Read your report out loud. Getting tongue-tied is a sign you need to swap the complicated words for simple ones. Make the necessary changes.

Ask someone else to read your script. Take their comments on board and alter your script or story accordingly and watch this Huw Edwards video for more tips on news writing.

Once the words have been written, you can add the images and sound effects you gathered.

ORDER THE REPORTS

Having assembled the words and pictures into a series of reports, your next task is to decide on the order in which to present them.

Try placing the most important, interesting or unique report at the beginning and a light-hearted or unusual report at the end.

RECORD YOUR REPORTS 'AS LIVE'

If you are making TV or radio news, you are now ready to record your reports as if you were standing in front of a live audience.

Rehearse first, so your reports sound and looks as good as they possibly can when you are "live on air".

Key info

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