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Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:11 UK

Making the news with a comic edge

Students in the 21st Century Classroom
Students were taught how to create an online newspaper

Pupils and teachers from three schools learned how to create an online newspaper during a training day at the BBC's digital learning centre in London.

Staff and students from Chantry High School in Suffolk, Longsands College in Cambridgeshire and Villiers High School in London descended on the 21st Century Classroom on 24 January 2007.

Not even the snow could stop the budding reporters, who are all learning to make the news as part of the BBC News School Report project, although it did hold up one of the course trainers.

After scouring the day's newspapers and websites, many students were keen to gather facts about a man-eating shark and reports of US President George W Bush turning green.

Comic effects

Students in the 21st Century Classroom
Pupils found the software enabled them to liven up their news stories
Having sourced photographs, for which they had permission, students tried their hand at graphic-design and sub-editing.

Using software which creates comic-strip style layouts, students manipulated pictures and text to liven up their news stories.

One of the students felt the software opened up a new way to present the news and to think about "how to get the younger generation to be interested in the news by adding comic effects".

21st Century Classroom project manager, Kirsteen McNish, said: "The students threw themselves into the project wholeheartedly. They produced some great work and learnt a lot from the news team and the workshop."

She added: "The 21CC team were very impressed with the creativity and commitment shown by all the pupils involved."

TIMETABLE OF THE DAY

Timetable
0945 1000 Arrive
1000 1015 Discussion - what is news?
1015 1045 Find news stories using newspapers and websites
1045 1100 Production meeting
1100 1115 Break
1115 1130 Write questions for press conference
1130 1145 Press conference with Ros Smith
1145 1200 Introduction to software
1200 1230 Start to write and compile stories
1230 1300 Lunch
1300 1430 Completion of online newspapers
1430 Home


During a press conference, in which students interviewed BBC journalist Ros Smith, many students learnt the importance of speedy note-taking.

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