This page contains a collection of videos, guides and quizzes about writing scripts and stories and how to assemble your material into great content.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
We would value your feedback on the resources
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form at the foot of this page to get in touch
And if you have any suggestions about how to improve the classroom activities or ideas for new exercises, we'd love to hear from you!
You can choose which resources are the most appropriate for your pupils and classroom. We've called it a pick and mix - so you can read through and select the materials that best fit in with your plans.
Please note that all times for activities are approximate and will depend on class size, age, etc.
We also have a special
section which includes lots of extra information and advanced resources.
You can also use our updated
six lesson plans
if you prefer a more structured approach.
Being able to write clearly is an important skill for every journalist - whether they work in TV, radio, print or online.
The three C's - making sure your writing is Clear, Concise and Correct - are a good starting point for every journalist.
Headlines are also a crucial way of drawing people's attention to your story. An enticing headline can be the difference between someone reading, watching or listening to all your great journalism or not.
Equally, strong stories can lose their impact if people cannot follow them because the language is confusing or the story drags on for too long.
And it goes without saying that your story needs to be factually correct.
Learn some of the skills of writing scripts and online stories, then test your knowledge with our School Report writing quiz.
Journalists and editors have to take editorial decisions about how to assemble the material into a report.
There are some tricks of the trade to make the best of your material for broadcast, while remembering your report should aim to be fair and balanced.
And if you are producing a bulletin made up of several stories, then you need to think about the "running order" - the order you want the stories to appear in.
A good bulletin should have the best story as the lead item to grab people's attention - in just the same way that a newspaper puts its top story on the front page - while a light-hearted "and finally" story will often be the final item.
These resources will help you to assemble individual reports and to compile an overall running order.
Video: Writing news (2 mins 30 secs video + 2-3 mins to recap/discuss)
Writing news (duration: 2 mins 30 secs
BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the 3 C's of news writing: being Clear, Concise and Correct.
Writing scripts and news stories also means understanding that you need to get straight to the point!
There's no point in having an amazing news story but leaving the most important fact to the last sentence!
Tell each other about the last thing that interested you so much that you couldn't wait to tell someone else. That's what news is essentially about - communicating something of interest.
Between you, decide on a news story you are going to report. It could be either of your stories or it could be something else.
If something else, do some research on the topic to gather the key facts - the 5 W's.
Now, one of you tell your partner about it, just like you did when you were telling your own piece of news.
The reason for doing this is that news is best communicated as though you were telling a friend. That way, the most interesting information, is naturally what you communicate first.
Having spoken your story out loud, write it down on the worksheet.
This will turn your story into a script, and also enable you to calculate how long it will take a presenter to speak it. Newsreaders usually read at three words per second, so a short 10 second story should be about 30 words.
Remember to keep your words clear, concise and correct:
Clear: Write it how you would say it. Get straight to the point at the beginning.
Concise: Don't waffle. Keep your sentences - and the length of your report - short.
Correct: Get your facts, spelling and grammar right.
You will probably need to rewrite your script, using the second worksheet, which is all good news making practice. Most journalists will write and rewrite several times before they are happy with their work.
Once you have completed your script, you can add in notes about any quotes, sound effects, stills, graphics etc on the left-hand side of the worksheet.
If you've finished your script, write a cue - that's the introduction that another presenter gives before they hand to the journalist presenting the report. Remember, the aim is to promote the story that's about to come, not to tell it twice.
So, in your cue, don't repeat the words that are in the opening sentences of the report.
This activity will help you develop your own concise news writing style by replicating what BBC online journalists have to do every day.
Journalists writing for the
websites have to be able to write very concisely because their stories also appear on the Ceefax and Red Button text services, which are usually just four paragraphs long.
This is the same story on the BBC Sport website and the Red Button - but the Red Button text service has only four paragraphs to tell the story, while the website goes on to expand on its report
So the stories have to sum up all the important facts - the 5 W's - in four paragraphs (before expanding on them for the websites). That means every word counts.
Find a story that interests you in a newspaper, magazine or other reliable source and try to tell the whole story in four paragraphs, which equates to about 80 words.
What kind of information do you have to cut out? What do you notice about the language you use?
This is a useful discipline to have in journalism. Try sticking to it if you are going to write text-based online reports - it really helps keep your stories engaging for the reader. And you can always go into more detail after telling the key points.
This is your chance to see just how much you know about writing a good news story.
1.) Writing news
Journalists use language that is clear, * and correct.
2.) Writing news
Journalists' language is simple and to the point. Which of the following phrases is the best example?
Police hit out as demonstrators make point
Riot police used shields to push demonstrators back
Demonstrators show their emotions as police get involved in clash
3.) Writing news
Which of the following will help make your report more interesting?
Quotes from key interviewees
4.) Writing news
Which of these is most likely to annoy readers?
Big chunks of text
Inaccurate spelling and grammar
5.) Writing scripts
After you've written your script, what's the first thing you should do?
Give it straight to the editor
Read it aloud to make sure it sounds okay
Move on to the next story
6.) Writing headlines
What is the golden rule for writing headlines?
Be as clever as possible
Keep it short and bright
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story
The answer is concise, which means short. When you're writing the news, it's important to keep your sentences short, so that people can understand what you are trying to tell them. It's also important that your report is not too long, otherwise people will switch off.
Riot police used shields to push demonstrators back is the most clear because it simple and straightforward. No word is wasted. The other examples are vague and unclear.
Quotations will add interest to your report. A quote is a great way to add some colour. Listen out for interesting or amusing quotes when you are interviewing people.
Inaccurate spelling and grammar is most likely to annoy people, so double check before you publish. But long chunks of text and jargon are also irritating!
The first thing you should do is to read it aloud to make sure it sounds OK. It may feel a little weird to read something you've written out loud, especially when the people around you are quiet. But journalists who write for radio and TV are always told to read their scripts aloud to make sure there are no tongue twisters in it!
A headline should be short and simple. It should grab people's attention but mustn't mislead them. Be clear and tell readers what the story is about.
0 - 1 : Keep working at it
2 - 4 : Good but could be better
5 - 6 : Well done!
NOTE FOR TEACHERS
The online quiz gives you the answers at the end of every question. If you are using the quiz worksheet, the answers can be found here:
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.