SCHOOL REPORT LESSON PLANS

Student researches a news story on the phone

LESSON 1: WHAT IS NEWS AND WHERE TO FIND IT

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This lesson explains what makes a story newsworthy and how to go about finding news.

Students will be introduced to the idea of writing for a specific audience and are also taught about the sources journalists use to make sure their reports are truthful and accurate.

OBJECTIVES

To understand what makes a story newsworthy

To understand that news comes in a variety of formats and styles for different audiences

To understand the nature of different news sources

To understand the importance of truth and accuracy in news

OVERVIEW AND RESOURCES (all require internet access)
ACTIVITY APPROXIMATE DURATION

1. Video - What is news

2 mins 30 secs plus discussion time

2. Video - How do journalists find news?

3 mins plus discussion time

3. Activity - What is News and Source Checking

15 mins

4. Video - Finding news masterclass

3 mins 32 secs plus discussion time

5. Activity - Meet the Audience

10 mins

6. Quiz - Finding news

10 mins

ACTIVITIES

1 - Video: What is news?

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards goes back to basics as he explores the concept of what makes something news.

You can recap the key points from the video using the accompanying worksheet, or read a transcript of the video:

PDF download Key points: What is news?[26.54]

PDF download Transcript: What is news?[23.79]

A Welsh language version of the video is also available, together with a transcript.

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2 - Video: How do journalists find news?

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the essentials of finding news.

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains where you can start looking for inspiration for stories to cover in your reports.

And he emphasises the importance of making sure you have reliable sources for your stories.

NOTE FOR TEACHERS

This video is available on a separate web page to make it easier to distribute in the classroom

You can recap the key points from the video using the accompanying worksheet, or read a transcript of the video:

PDF download Key points: Finding news [26.2 KB]

PDF download Transcript: Finding news[24.4 KB]

A Welsh language version of the video is also available, together with a transcript.

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3 - Activity: What is News and Source Checking

PDF download What is News and Source Checking[144 KB]

Bearing in mind the tips from Huw Edwards, print out this worksheet and highlight the headlines you think are real news stories.

Then write at least one source you would check with to find out whether that story is true.

So for example: "Wayne Rooney dropped from England squad" could be a big news story.

To check whether it is true, you could:

  • Phone the Football Association
  • Phone his club
  • Check with his agent
  • Look at his official Twitter feed to see if he has commented

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4 - Video: Finding News masterclass

School Report Finding News masterclass

Daniel from the BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast show explains how he finds news stories for the programme and the importance of checking that what he discovers is true.

He reveals the sources he uses, how he checks his facts and provides general tips on finding news.

PDF download Key points: Finding news masterclass?[120 KB]

PDF download Transcript: Finding news masterclass?[160 KB]

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5 - Activity: Meet the Audience

PDF download Meet the Audience[194 KB]

One of the big things that BBC journalists think about when they are researching and presenting their stories is the people who will watch or listen to them - the audience.

Lots of different people watch BBC News, from children to grandparents and often they will be interested in slightly different things.

We want you to take on the role of School Report editor - decide which of these stories will be interesting for your audience - students aged 11-16 - and why.

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6 - Quiz: Finding News

This multiple-choice quiz is designed to test your knowledge of news programmes and services, sources, and truth and accuracy.

It also provides real-life scenarios to prompt discussions about the issues that surround the world of news.

PDF download Quiz: What is news and where to find it[26.39]

PDF download Quiz + Answers: What is news and where to find it[36]

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For reference, teachers may like to look at previous years' lesson plans including 2012-14, 2009-11 and 2006-8.

This lesson has been approved by the BBC College of Journalism.

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