Reporting Children in Need

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School Reporters went on a mission to track down Children in Need's biggest star...

Schools all over the UK are raising money for Children in Need, the BBC charity which supports thousands of young people aged 18 and under.

In the days leading up to Children in Need day on Friday 18 November 2016, people will embark on all kinds of activities, whether it's baking cakes or running a talent contest. It's all in the name of charity - and having plenty of fun in the process!

Events like these can make great news stories, so why not report them for your school website, radio, newspaper or newsletter?

You could think about making it one of the stories you report on for the first Practice News Day of the year, which is also on Friday 18 November.

Below are some ideas to help you cover what's going on at your school.


So start with doing some research. Why not watch our masterclass on finding news from BBC journalist Daniel Rosney for some great tips on the essentials of how to spot a good story?

Use these tips to find out about the Children in Need events happening at your school. Ask your classmates, your teachers and other members of staff.

Find out what celebrities are doing in the area by visiting the Children in Need website.

And what about other schools and organisations in your area? How are they raising money for Children in Need?

Image copyright BBC school report
Image caption School Reporters from Northwood School bumped into Pudsey at the BBC!

Check out your local newspapers, radio stations and BBC websites for the latest information.

Another angle you might want to investigate is to find charities or projects in your local area which have benefited from money raised by Children in Need.

The clickable map on the Children in Need website will help you find out how the money has been spent in your local area.

Now you know what's happening and where, it's time to decide which particular events or stories you are going to report.


Once you've got an idea of what your story is decide how you are going to present your final report.

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

Or are you going to publish a text-based report online and/or in your school newspaper?

Maybe you are just going to do a presentation in a forthcoming school assembly, in which case get some top tips from the Children in Need team.

Image copyright BBC School Report
Image caption Perhaps Pudsey is visiting your school for Children in Need?

Make sure you have the equipment you need to make your report and the support of the relevant members of staff such as the IT technician, the web administrator or the school office.

You could also start to think about who in your reporting team is going to do what - some of the newsroom roles might include reporters, presenters, researchers, editors, camera and sound operators, depending on what kind of report you are planning to produce.


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

The gathering news webpage explains some of the key skills when it comes to this part of the process.

The explains some of the key skills when it comes to this part of the process.

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 Children in Need is all about doing unusual things to raise money for charity, three good How questions to ask are:

•How do/did you feel?

•How much money is being raised?

•How will the money be used?

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


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Teacher Resource - Scriptwriting masterclass

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

Our writing news section is full of top tips, for writing your reports, whether they are video, audio or text-based.

You could also watch the BBC's Jim Taylor's masterclass on how to write a great script.

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

Image copyright BBC School Report

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.

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.


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

Sometimes this might mean you make some changes to your script - if the audio interviews or pictures make the same points as you are saying in your script, you might want to alter things to avoid repetition.


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.


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Teacher Resource - Presenting masterclass

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".

Read some of the top tips from our broadcasting news page to find out how the pros do it at the BBC.

And try watching the masterclass video from BBC News presenter Ellie Crisell which shows you some of the tricks of the trade.


Now you have completed your reports, as a piece of video, an audio recording (podcast) or in text form, you are ready to publish them.

Ask the IT technician, or web administrator to help you put them on your website.

Alternatively, pass your reports on to the person responsible for putting together the school newspaper or newsletter.

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