Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Monday, 24 October 2011 10:12 UK

Reporting Children in Need

JLS say 'report Children in Need'!

Schools all over the UK are raising money for Children in Need, the BBC charity which supports thousands of people aged 18 and under.

In the days surrounding Friday 16 November 2012, students will embark on all kinds of activities, whether it's baking cakes or running a talent contest. It's all in the name of charity - and having plenty of fun in the process!

Events like these can make great news stories, so why not report them for your school website, radio, newspaper or newsletter?

You could think about making it one of the stories you report on during the first of four School Report practice News Days on Friday 16 November.

Below is a suggested framework to help you report on an event that has real relevance at every level from school to international:

TV, RADIO OR ONLINE?

First of all, decide how you are going to present your final report.

Are you going to make a video or an audio report to play on your school website?

Or are you going to publish a text-based report online and/or in your school newspaper?

Make sure you have the equipment you need to make your report and the support of the relevant members of staff such as the IT technician, the web administrator or the school office.

You could also start to think about who in your reporting team is going to do what - some of the roles might include reporters, presenters, researchers, editors, camera and sound operators, depending on what kind of report you are planning to produce.

FIND OUT WHAT'S HAPPENING

Your next task is to do some research.

School Report's finding news masterclass (duration: 3 mins)

Why not watch our masterclass on finding news from BBC Radio 5 live journalist Karlene Pinnock for some great tips on the essentials of how to spot a good story?

And there is more advice on our Finding News page.

Use these tips to find out about the Children in Need events happening at your school. Ask your classmates, your teachers and other members of staff.

Check the school calendar and diary. Read the notice boards and look out for posters around the school.

Find out what celebrities are doing in the area by visiting the Children in Need website.

And what about other schools and organisations in your area? How are they raising money for Children in Need?

Check out your local newspapers, radio stations and BBC websites for the latest information.

School Report's reporting events masterclass (duration: 2 mins 30 secs)

Another angle you might want to investigate is to find charities or projects in your local area which have benefited from money raised by Children in Need.

The clickable map on the Children in Need website will help you find out how the money has been spent in your local area.

Now you know what's happening and where, it's time to decide which particular events or stories you are going to report.

GATHER THE NEWS

Now you can begin to gather facts and opinions about the events you have decided to cover.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga will top the bill for a huge Children In Need concert

The gathering news web page explains some of the key skills when it comes to this part of the process.

Try to find out the answers to the five 'W' questions:

  • What's happening?
  • Who's involved?
  • Where's it taking place?
  • When's it taking place?
  • Why are people taking part?

As Children in Need is all about doing unusual things to raise money for charity, three good How questions to ask are:

  • How do/did you feel?
  • How much money is being raised?
  • How will the money be used?

As well as gathering words (either written or spoken), remember to gather images (either still or moving) and sound effects.

WRITE THE STORY OR SCRIPT

Once you have gathered facts and opinions, words and pictures, you are ready to plan and then write your report.

School Report's scriptwriting masterclass (duration: 3 mins 30 secs)

Our writing news section is full of top tips, for writing your reports, whether they are video, audio or text-based.

You could also watch BBC Breakfast reporter Tim Muffett's masterclass on how to write a great script:

You could start by describing the event to someone else before you begin writing. That way you can check whether they understand you.

It also means you can change the report in your head before putting pen to paper, which saves time.

Try to tell your story in five short sentences.

If you don't know how to start your report, leave the opening sentence until last.

Start by writing what happened in the order it occurred. With a few tweaks, you can use this for the body of your report.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
F1 stars Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton meet young carers

Once your pen is flowing, you'll recognise the key facts. Now you can incorporate them in one sentence at the beginning.

Add an end sentence about what is likely to happen next, and the first draft of your report is complete.

Double check your facts. If you're not sure about something you've written, ask. If you're still in doubt, take it out. The last thing you want to do is give people the wrong information.

Read your report out loud. Getting tongue-tied is a sign you need to swap the complicated words for simple ones. Make the necessary changes.

Ask someone else to read your script. Take their comments on board and alter your script or story accordingly.

ASSEMBLE THE WORDS AND IMAGES

Once the words have been written, you can add the images and sound effects you gathered.

Sometimes this might mean you make some changes to your script - if the audio interviews or pictures make the same points as you are saying in your script, you might want to alter things to avoid repetition.

ORDER THE REPORTS

Having assembled the words and pictures into a series of reports, your next task is to decide on the order in which to present them.

Try placing the most important, interesting or unique report at the beginning and a light-hearted or unusual report at the end.

RECORD YOUR REPORTS 'AS LIVE'

If you are making TV or radio news, you are now ready to record your reports as if you were standing in front of a live audience.

School Report's presenting masterclass (duration: 3 mins 30 secs)

Rehearse first, so your reports sound and looks as good as they possibly can when you are "live on air".

Read some of the top tips from our broadcasting news page to find out how the pros do it at the BBC.

And try watching the masterclass video from 60seconds presenter Sam Naz which shows you some of the tricks of the trade.

BROADCAST YOUR REPORTS VIA THE INTERNET

Now you have completed your reports, as a piece of video, an audio recording (podcast) or in text form, you are ready to publish them.

Ask the IT technician, or web administrator to help you broadcast them via the internet.

Alternatively, pass your reports onto the person responsible for putting together the school newspaper or newsletter.

Finally, remember to let the School Report team know that your report is online using the Contact us page.

The BBC aim to link to your report from the School Report website so that it can accessed by people all around the UK.



SEE ALSO
Where does Children in Need money go?
08 May 09 |  School Report
Improving interview skills
23 Nov 06 |  School Report

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