Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Tuesday, 17 July 2007 14:51 UK

Lesson 2: Finding and gathering the news

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

LESSON OVERVIEW

Boys from Forest Hill School in London interview their head teacher Peter Walsh
Boys from Forest Hill School in London interview their head teacher
Students examine different news sources and their reliability.

They gather facts, by asking the five W questions (what, who, where, when and why) and learn to balance opinions.

Students focus on gathering information through interviews. They also plan to collect pictures, sounds and graphics.

LESSON 2 ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES

  Activity Preferable resources Low tech alternative
1 Intro video: Finding the news Internet access or DVD Whiteboard/flipchart
2 News sources and reliability Whiteboard/flipchart, worksheet 2.1 Whiteboard/flipchart, worksheet 2.1
3 Video: Gathering news Internet access or DVD Lined paper, whiteboard/flipchart
4 Planning an interview Worksheet 2.2 Worksheet 2.2
5 Online game: Being objective Internet access Lined paper
6 Plenary quiz Lined paper Lined paper

CURRICULUM RELEVANCE

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

1. INTRODUCTION VIDEO: FINDING THE NEWS

VIDEO: FINDING THE NEWS
Huw Edwards

While watching this clip, students identify places journalists look to find the news and feed them back to the group.

In the video, Huw Edwards examines different sources including other journalists, contacts, witnesses and press releases.

1. LOW TECH ALTERNATIVE: FINDING THE NEWS

Ask students: Where would you look if you wanted to find out what was happening in your area, in the UK, in the world? Compile a list.

Suggestions: TV, radio, internet, newspapers, friends and family, email, text.

2. NEWS SOURCES AND RELIABILITY

Explain that journalists find the news using sources. They include:

  • Other journalists. The BBC pays for access to reports from journalists all over the world. This service is often referred to as "wires".
  • Press releases. Journalists receive letters or emails about future events such as museum openings and school sports days.
  • Contacts. Journalists talk to experts who know a lot about a particular subject e.g. politicians, police officers, music managers.
  • Witnesses. The best stories can come from people who saw or were involved in an incident.

PROFESSIONAL INSIGHT
BBC journalists like to find evidence in at least TWO different sources before they tell people about it.
This verifying technique is one with which students studying History will be familiar.
Ask students: How can you tell if a news source is reliable?

Students rate the reliability of a number of news sources using Worksheet 2.1.

3. VIDEO: GATHERING FACTS AND OPINIONS

VIDEO: GATHERING NEWS
Huw Edwards
FACT AND OPINION
Check students understand the difference between fact and opinion. If not, they can take this quiz online.
Levels A and B are the most appropriate levels of difficulty for the students.
DEFINITIONS
Fact - a statement that is true and can be backed up with evidence
Opinion - a statement based on a belief or view

While watching this video, students construct an example of an open question. It could be one used by Huw or one of their own. After watching, they feedback their examples.

In the video, Huw Edwards explains the difference between fact and opinion and the importance of balancing opinions.

He focuses on gathering information through interviews while looking at collecting pictures, sounds and graphics.

Huw explains why it is important to ask the five W questions (what, who, where, when and why), to listen carefully and to ask follow-up questions.

3. LOW TECH ALTERNATIVE: YES/NO GAME

Pair work

A picks a subject they are interested in such as a sport or hobby.
B writes down three (or more) questions about the subject and asks them in quick succession.
A must try NOT to answer using "Yes" or "No".
B makes a note, next to the question, if A answers "Yes" or "No".

Ask Bs:

  • Which questions did A answer using "Yes" or "No"?
  • Which questions did A answer WITHOUT using "Yes" or "No"?

Explain the difference between open and closed questions. Closed questions often prompt the short response "Yes" or "No". Open questions begin with W questions words (what, who, where, when and why) and how. Remind students to use open questions during an interview to gather the maximum information.

4. PLANNING AN INTERVIEW

Students brainstorm news topics that INTEREST and/or AFFECT them. They compile a group list.

One way to do this is to ask each student to use their name as a mnemonic, for example:

Road safety outside school
Youth clubs in this area
Anti-bullying campaign at school
New school building

Students chose ONE topic each.

Using worksheet 2.2, they write down the names or job titles of three people they would like to interview about this subject and three questions they would ask each guest. Remind students of the importance of using questions to gather facts and a balance of opinions.

JUNK FOOD BAN RESOURCES

Here is an example to use as to model an answer:

  • News topic: Change to a lunch menu at a local school.
  • What's happened?: Chips and other fried food are now only available on a Friday; healthy options are offered Monday to Thursday.

FRIED FOOD ONLY ON FRIDAYS

Guest Question Fact/Opinion
Head teacher Why have you changed the menu? fact/opinion
  What is on the new menu? fact
  Why don't you ban fried food altogether? fact/opinion
School cook How popular are the healthy options? fact
  How much do the old and new options cost? fact
  How does the change affect your staff? fact/opinion
Student What do you like about the new menu? opinion
  What do you miss? opinion
  Has the new menu improved your health? fact/opinion

5. ONLINE GAME: BEING OBJECTIVE

Checking a story game graphic
DEFINITIONS
Biased: Giving a one-sided view. The origin of the word relates to the game of bowls and the weight which makes a bowl swerve to one side.
Objective: Not influenced by opinions when representing the facts.
Students play this online game from the Press Pack website which teaches objectivity. You can use individual computers or display it on an interactive whiteboard for use with the whole group.

Ask students:

  • What would happen if a biased report was broadcast?
  • Why is it important to get different opinions?

Reinforce the importance of balancing opinions to be objective.

Students take another look at worksheet 2.2. If they think their guest list and/or question lack balance, they alter it accordingly.

5. LOW TECH ALTERNATIVE: BEING OBJECTIVE

Students report a recent football match in four sentences. Half the class write a biased report favouring their preferred team. The other half write an objective report with an imbalance of opinions. Students compare reports.

Football
This activity comes from the BBC Schools KS3 Revision website.

Ask students:

  • What would happen if a biased report were broadcast?
  • Why is it important to get different opinions?

Reinforce the importance of balancing opinions to be objective.

Students take another look at worksheet 2.2. If they think their guest list and/or question lack balance, they alter it accordingly.

6. PLENARY QUIZ: SOURCES, FACTS AND OPINIONS

Read out these questions. Students complete the following sentences with a ONE-word answer.

1. Journalists have access to sources which allow them to find the news. One example of a source is ...
2. In order to gather facts, journalists ask questions beginning with what, who, where, when and ...
3. When you are using opinions in a news story it is important to be ...
4. Interviews are an essential ingredient of a new report. Name another ingredient you could gather?

Answers:

1. Other journalists, wires, press releases, contacts, witnesses
2. Why, how
3. Balanced, objective, impartial
4. Pictures, sound, graphics

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
Improving interview skills
23 Nov 06 |  School Report
Where we get our stories
03 Nov 04 |  Help
News sources
28 Nov 03 |  Help
Huw's interview tips
07 Oct 05 |  Text
Bias
09 Aug 05 |  Text
Fact and opinion
07 Dec 01 |  Text

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