Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Wednesday, 20 July 2011 10:07 UK

This section is aimed as background material for teachers or older pupils

School Reporters working in a radio studio


The resources on these pages are designed to show how the BBC's editorial values are embedded in School Report.

Truth and accuracy
Editorial integrity and independence
Serving the public interest
Balancing the right to report with respect for privacy
Balancing the right to report with protection of the vulnerable
Safeguarding children
Being accountable to the audience

You'll also find resources you can use as extension activities for your class or as advanced options for older students.

The BBC values are at the heart of all the journalism - be it politics, sport, health, entertainment or any other area - produced across TV, radio and online.

Concepts such as truth and accuracy, impartiality and fairness are vital cornerstones for BBC journalists and these resources will help pupils understand why these values matter more than ever in the digital era.

In addition to fair and accurate reporting, it is important for journalists to stay within the law.

Libel, contempt of court and copyright breaches are all potentially serious - not to mention expensive - issues and don't forget that the school is responsible for the material published as part of School Report.

We offer some essential legal advice to help you avoid any potential problems. And when you've digested some of the key principles of the BBC values, why not set up your own editorial values for your School Report journalism? These are the golden rules that everyone in the team will sign up to.


The importance of safeguarding children is key to a project like School Report, which is why we insist on using only first names.

BBC staff all have an Editorial Guidelines book, more than 350 pages in length, to help them make the sometimes difficult judgements that arise out of making news and programmes.

Don't worry, you won't have to digest all that information for School Report!

Reading the resources on this page will help give you an overview of the main issues you should think about while working on the project.

It's important to make sure all your content is suitable to be published online.

Published reports are not allowed to unfairly damage someone's reputation. It's what is legally called "defamation".

The libel law in the UK places the onus on the defendant to prove the truth of what they have reported - so repeating the juicy celebrity gossip someone read in a magazine is probably not a good idea.

Equally issues like contempt of court need to be taken seriously. Trials can collapse if unsuitable material is published so we advise against covering ongoing criminal cases.

This guide outlines some issues you need to be aware of and offers advice on keeping your news safe.

For more information on legal issues, the BBC College of Journalism offers some detailed explanations of:

And if you are unsure of whether to cover a story or not, you can contact the School Report team for advice.

Impartiality requires a journalist to actively seek out and weigh the relevant arguments on any issue and to present them fairly and without personal bias.

But it doesn't mean you have to give all arguments equal weight. If man A says 2+2=4 and man B insists 2+2=7, you don't have to report that both answers are equally valid!

Explore the meaning of impartiality with Today presenter Evan Davis as part of the BBC's College of Journalism guide to impartiality.

There's also a chance to test your ability to achieve impartiality in a virtual BBC newsroom using the 'Journalism Tutor' interactive tutorial (15 mins).

Truth and accuracy are among the most important values of all. If your audience cannot trust your reports as being truthful and accurate, they will find their news from elsewhere.

The BBC College of Journalism guide explains the importance of truth and accuracy, and how to apply the values in practice.

Find out more about how journalists deal with their obligation to be accurate when reporting a breaking news story and the importance of correcting mistakes.

The BBC is funded by the licence fee, so journalists have a particular responsibility to be accountable for the decisions they take and the reports they produce.

But all journalists ought to be accountable for their work - and that includes correcting mistakes.

This guide will explain the importance of being accountable, for you and your audience.

Being independent is vital for BBC journalists. If the audience knew that a business story had been obtained because the journalist was given a nice freebie by the company involved, how much faith could they have in it?

And sometimes journalists come under pressure from interested parties to change their stories, or to move them up or down the agenda.

This guide helps explain how to stay independent when reporting - and how to respond in the event of any problems. And don't forget the School Report team is always on hand to help and advise in the event of any issues or uncertainty.



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