Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 12:42 UK

Lesson 5: Ordering news

ordering news

This lesson plan is the fifth of a series of six that explain the news-making process followed by professional journalists.


To be able to make flexible decisions about the:

  • topic
  • order
  • number
  • length

of news stories in a bulletin, or news front page, for a defined audience.


  Activity Resources Low tech alternative
1 Video: Huw Edwards' tips Internet access or DVD Worksheet 5.1
2 Running order Slideshow software Worksheet 5.1, newspapers or printouts from BBC website
3 Breaking news Slideshow software Worksheet 5.2, newspapers or printouts from BBC website
4 Stay tuned Slideshow software Worksheet 5.2


1. Video: Huw Edwards' tips

Huw's top tips: Ordering news

Students watch this Huw Edwards video, then recollect his top tips using this worksheet.

1. Low tech alternative to video

Using the above worksheetstudents match each top tip to Huw's advice.

Teachers tip: This worksheet could also be used as a plenary activity.


2. Running order

Present this scenario to pairs students: You are producing a TV news bulletin for teenagers.

You have room for SIX stories. Compile a running order using the following:

You must include a lead and an "and finally" story. You may also want to use a news round-up, in which case, place grouped stories in ONE story slot on the worksheet.

Teachers tip: To make this activity more challenging, use worksheet from lesson 3 - 3.2: Writing and assembling news - and set the limit at three minutes (rather than six stories). Students will then have to balance the quantity of stories with the depth of information in each.

2. Running order

Using slideshow software, students create a six-slide news picture gallery, using the BBC's Week in Pictures as an example.

This week's news is denoted by a date. The ARCHIVE GALLERIES section provides previous weeks' pictures.

Slide 1 should be the lead story and slide 6 the "and finally".

Students should only use photographs from the BBC website which have AP, PA, AFP or GETTY in the right-hand corner. More information on copyright .

As a low-tech alternative, cut out photographs from newspapers/school magazine.

3. Breaking news and editorial decisions

Pairs then combine to form small groups, and students compile a new SIX-story running order, debating which stories should be included, and their place in the running order.

Explain: At the BBC, an editor makes the final decision. Students may wish to do the same on School Report News Day in March.

Interrupt students to announce some breaking news. Read out the most recent story from the BBC News frontpage. Look for the Breaking News graphic or examine the date stamps (at the top of each news page, in grey) to find a recent story.

Each group must decide:

  • Whether to include this breaking news story
  • Where to place it in the running order
  • The affect on the rest of the bulletin. Does it mean dropping an existing story?


4. Stay tuned

Each group presents their running orders to the rest of the class - their audience.

The class stand, to indicate they are listening to the bulletin. They sit down as soon as they lose interest, indicating the point at which they would switch or click off.

The group which maintains the interest and attention of the majority of the audience for the longest time is the winner!

Ask students: What is it about this running order which keeps you interested?

For reference, teachers may like to look at previous years' resources including Lesson 5 for School Report 2006-8 .

Approved rubber stamp graphic

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


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. 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