Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 15:43 UK

Lesson 1: What is news?

This lesson has been updated and the new version can be found by following this link:



LESSON OVERVIEW

BBC news logo
Students examine what makes a story newsworthy and the process of making the news from finding to broadcasting a story on TV, radio or the web.

They consider news stories of interest to different audiences and different types of news e.g. local, international, sport, entertainment.

Students also reflect how to tell the news in a way that is correct and objective. The BBC do this by adhering to a set of "news values."

LESSON 1 ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES
Activity Preferable resources Low tech alternative
1 What is news? Internet access or DVD Whiteboard/flipchart
2 Online game: Good/bad headlines Internet access Worksheet 1.1
3 The news process Selection of pictures (may be printed from the internet), reusable putty Selection of pictures (may be printed from the internet), reusable putty
4 Identifying stages of the news process Print-outs from the BBC website Print-outs from the BBC website
5 Plenary: Different types of news Whiteboard/flipchart Whiteboard/flipchart


CURRICULUM RELEVANCE

These documents outline the key curriculum areas covered in lessons 1-6 for 11 to 14-year-olds.

1. INTRODUCTION VIDEO: WHAT IS THE NEWS?

VIDEO: WHAT IS THE NEWS?
Huw Edwards

Play this clip in which the BBC's Huw Edwards explains that broadcast news is about telling stories people want, or need to know about on radio, TV or online.

He examines the need to be correct and objective as reflected in the BBC news values.

He discusses different types of news e.g. local, international, sport, entertainment and their appeal to different audiences.

1. LOW TECH ALTERNATIVE: WHAT IS THE NEWS?

Ask students for examples of current news stories and compile a list. Now ask students: Why is this story in the news? Compile their answers. Here are some examples:

What makes a story newsworthy?
What's in the news Why is it news? Because...
Whale spotted in London river Unusual
Bird flu arrives in the UK People need to know about it
Rap artist fined for foul language People want to know about it
Italy win the World Cup Of interest to lots of people
Junk food ban in schools Important


Explain that all of these elements are what makes a story newsworthy.

Now ask students: Who would be interested in each of these stories?

Explain: The people who watch, listen or read the news are the audience.

2. ONLINE GAME: WHAT MAKES A GOOD HEADLINE?

Headline Grabber game graphic

Students play "Headline Grabber," from the Press Pack website.

It invites them to grab the good news headlines and ignore the bad.

It can be played on individual computers or as a class, using an interactive whiteboard.

2. LOW TECH ALTERNATIVE: WHAT MAKES A GOOD HEADLINE?

Play "Headline Grabber" on paper using Worksheet 1.1.

Students feedback their thoughts on what makes a good/bad headline and why.

Re-iterate the concept of newsworthiness for different audiences.

3. MAIN ACTIVITY: THE NEWS PROCESS

Pair and group work

Designate a blank wall or notice board as a "display area" where students can (temporarily) stick some work.

Distribute a picture to half the students in the group.

You can print real news photographs from either the BBC News Online or Newsround websites using these in the top left of this page. Using the mouse, right click on a photograph and select the print picture option. Alternatively, you can use pictures from newspapers, magazines etc.

The remaining half of the students have a few minutes to walk around the classroom, view the pictures and chose one they think looks particularly interesting.

The students should now be in pairs.

Each pair invents a news story around the picture, by asking and answering questions.

These are good to begin with:

  • What happened?
  • Who is involved?
  • Why did it happen?

Students can use either their knowledge of the news or their imagination to answer the questions, drawing on information in the picture.

Based on the answers, each pair composes a headline for the story and writes it on the picture. They can use the "good" headlines from the previous exercise as models.

Now each pair teams up with another pair, forming a group of four.

They discuss their stories and decide which of the two would be most appropriate for an audience of 11 to 14-year-old students. They stick this ONE in the display area.

Whole group work

Students order the final seven or eight stories in the display area to create a schedule, or running order, for a news programme, explaining their choice. Ask students: Which story would you put first? Why? Which story would you put last? Why?

DEFINITION: BROADCAST
Broadcast: To make sound or images available to lots of people.
It has an agricultural origin, meaning to scatter seed widely.
Explain to students that they have just done the same job as real journalists by:
  • Finding the news - choosing a newsworthy story
  • Gathering the news - asking questions about the story
  • Writing the news - composing headlines
  • Assembling the news - putting words (headlines) and pictures together
  • Ordering the news - putting the news stories into an order according to newsworthiness and audience
  • Broadcasting the news - displaying the news for others

BBC NEWS VALUES
Here are the values in full - the ones BBC journalists adhere to
Truth and accuracy
Impartiality and diversity of opinion
Editorial integrity and independence
Serving the public interest
Fairness
Balancing the right to report with respect for privacy
Balancing the right to report with protection of the vulnerable
Safeguarding children
Being accountable to the audience
Students will look at each of these activities in more depth during subsequent lessons.

Explain that during this exercise, students may have made up information but that when they are reporting the real news they have to be correct and objective.

In other words their facts must be accurate and they must tell both sides of the story. The BBC refer to these as "news values."

4. IDENTIFYING STAGES OF THE NEWS PROCESS

Group work

THE NEWS PROCESS
Huw Edwards

Print out and distribute copies of this picture gallery which shows a day in the life of Huw Edwards as he prepares to present the News at 10.

Students put the pictures into six piles. Ones that show journalists:

  • Finding the news
  • Gathering the news
  • Writing the news
  • Assembling the news
  • Ordering the news
  • Broadcasting the news

Some pictures show a mixture of different stages, which can prompt discussion about how to combine journalistic tasks

5. PLENARY: DIFFERENT TYPES OF NEWS AND NEWS VALUES

The different types of news indexes on the Newsround and BBC News websites
The different types of news indexes on the Newsround and BBC News websites
Whole group work

Students identify the different types of news in the display area e.g. local, international, sport, entertainment. They brainstorm other types of news and compile a class list.

Explain that during their News Day, students will broadcast news reports on their school (or educational) website.

Ask students to:

  • Define their News Day audience
  • Identify which types of news will interest their audience

Additional resources demonstrating the news process can be accessed from the SEE ALSO and RELATED BBC LINKS at the top right of this page.

Approved rubber stamp graphic
This lesson has been approved by the BBC College of Journalism.


SEE ALSO
Newsround Online
18 Oct 01 |  Behind The Scenes
Huw Edwards' day in pix
10 Oct 05 |  Pictures
Web journalists: How they work
04 Dec 03 |  Galleries
What are the media checked for?
17 Mar 05 |  Media standards
What makes a great report?
14 Apr 05 |  Press Pack Reports
You choose the news
15 Nov 04 |  Media and society
This is BBC News
18 Nov 04 |  About BBC News

RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific