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BBC News Interactive School ReportBBC News Interactive School Report
Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 10:14 GMT
Improving interview skills
Emma Bunton and Pudsey Bear (Pic: BBC/Justin Canning)
Emma Bunton and Pudsey Bear
Students working to improve their interview skills settled for nothing less than the best when it came to their guests.

Year 8 pupils from Coombeshead College in Devon interviewed Emma Bunton, by e-mail, about the song she recorded for Children in Need.

They also recorded a radio interview with the charity's managing director, Gloria Abramoff, as part of a BBC project to encourage 12 and 13-year-olds to make the news in their schools.

BBC News School Report involves a News Day, during which students create their own news reports and publish them on their school website.

In preparation for their practice News Day on 10 November 2006, students at the school in Newton Abbot e-mailed their questions to Emma Bunton, and set up a "live" interview with Gloria Abramoff.

This page contains resources and feedback on the News Day which teachers may find useful when preparing for their own news-related activities.

News Day timetable
From To Activity
09.10 09.20 Students complete evaluation sheets to find out how much they know about the news
09.20 09.40 Discussion: Why is interviewing important? What do we already know about the news topic (Children in Need)?
09.40 10.20 Internet research, note down interesting facts and interview questions
10.20 10.45 Class feedback, vote on best five interview questions, script interview opening and ending
10.45 11.00 Break
11.05 11.15 Conduct interview (managing director of Children in Need Gloria Abramoff)
11.15 11.30 Discussion: How did the interview go? Which answers were surprising?
11.30 12.00 Students divide into groups to write for different publications (web page, school paper, and this term's publication) and source photographs
12.00 12.40 Check facts, tighten written work
12.40 13.40 Lunch, for some a working lunch
13.40 14.00 Discussions with IT staff about layout
14.00 DEADLINE - the news is "broadcast" on the school website
14.00 14.30 Evaluation of the day, revisit evaluation sheets to see if knowledge of news has improved


Emily, Olivia and Alice from Coombeshead College in Newton Abbot, Devon
Emily, Olivia and Alice interview Gloria Abramoff
Below are some responses from the 12 and 13-year-olds, mixed ability, who took part in the News Day:

I've learnt about the sorts of questions to which people actually want to know the answers. It has made me more inquisitive.


After voting on a list of suggested questions, these are the five the students put to Gloria Abramoff:

1. Why do you have Pudsey Bear, and why does he wear an eye patch?
2. What has shocked you the most about the children's stories you hear?
3. What is the most memorable celebrity stunt and how much did it raise?
4. Do the celebrities get paid?
5. What have you done personally to raise funds for Children in Need?

I think today has been fab! I learnt loads of new stuff and really enjoyed learning! It was a great opportunity! I've worked in teams and individually and I'm proud of the work I've done!

I thought today was an excellent experience and would love to do something similar again. I learnt a lot about interviewing skills as well as getting a brilliant insight into the Children in Need headquarters.

I thought that today was fun and exciting because I've learnt how to work as a team and how to be confident when speaking out.

I liked making the phone call to Gloria and I have learnt how to write up quotes.


Head of journalism at Coombeshead College, Sue White, said: "At the start of the day, the students were nervous, especially about the live interview with Gloria. After they successfully completed it, they experienced a terrific sense of achievement.

"They gained significantly in confidence throughout the day during which they learned the importance of preparing for interviews and staying cool while under pressure! The day was a really valuable learning experience."


BBC journalist Naomi Kennedy with Richard from Coombeshead College in Newton Abbot, Devon
BBC journalist Naomi Kennedy with Richard
BBC Journalist Naomi Kennedy was on hand to help the students shape their news. Here are her thoughts on the day:

"The most tense part of the day occurred in the run-up to Gloria's interview. Students realised she was an important person who could only devote a small amount of time to the interview. They also knew they only had one chance to get the interview right. This pressure added drama to the day and prompted a slick interview.

"Continual 'chivvying up' was needed in order to meet the deadline. Our schedule gave us an hour and a half to write a report. This may seem a long time, but believe me, it flies!

"It was important to encourage the students to refer back to their chosen audience again and again.

"It was useful to point out that when reporting speech, a quote is preceded with 'Emma Bunton told us...' for example."


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