BBC Home
Explore the BBC

CBBC

Teachers: Literacy:

Last Updated: Wednesday December 14 2005 15:18 GMT

Quiz: Three Cs of reporting

Pen and notepad

You are a reporter on a children's newspaper. Your job is to write news stories or copy. This means you have to pay close attention to the words you use.

1. Your editor tells you he only has space in the paper for a short story about a fox mistaken for a wallaby. That means you have to get all the facts what, who, where, when and why into just two sentences. Which of these will your editor prefer?

a) A 'wallaby' that had been spotted hopping around Cardiff was in fact just an injured fox. The first person to report seeing the fox on Thursday thought it was a kangaroo or a wallaby, because it had hurt its leg, causing it to hop.

b) On Thursday, a wallaby was spotted hopping around Cardiff. But it turned out to be a fox with an injured leg.

c) Wallabies are usually found in Australia, not Wales, so when one was spotted in Cardiff the residents didn't know what to make of it. But the mysterious animal turned out to be a fox that was hopping because it hurt it's leg.


2. When you are writing for children it is important to make your report easy to understand. You can do this by making your sentences short and simple. How would you write about this thrilled Manchester United fan?

a) A Manchester United fan celebrated his team's win by covering himself from top to toe in paint which was red in colour.

b) A Manchester United fan celebrated his team's win by covering himself from top to toe in red paint.

c) A Manchester United fan celebrated his team's win by painting himself red from top to toe.


3. Accuracy is very important. This means you have to choose individual words with great care. The wrong word could even land you in trouble with the law. Which of these sentences would you use to describe this bus crash?

a) Three passengers were seriously injured when their bus hit a tree

b) Three passengers were seriously injured after their bus hit a tree.

c) Three passengers were seriously injured because the bus driver hit a tree


4. Journalists have to show they get their information from reliable sources. Otherwise who will believe what they write? Which of these sentences would you use?

a) A man from Yorkshire holds the record for the largest number of pegs on his face.

b) A man from Yorkshire made it into the Guinness Book of Records for clipping the largest number of clothes pegs on his face.

c) A Yorkshireman has clipped a record-breaking number of pegs onto his face.


5. When you are writing down what people say it is important to use quotations. You have started a story about a new Blue Peter presenter. So far you have written:

Zoe Salmon has leapt into her new role as the 30th person to become a presenter on TV show Blue Peter. The 24-year-old will take over from current presenter Liz Barker while she has a baby, and then will stay on the team when Liz comes back.

Now you want to add a quote but how to you let your readers know Zoe is speaking?

a) "I'm so excited and I'm really looking forward to all the mad stuff I know they throw at you on Blue Peter," said Zoe.

b) Zoe said: "I'm so excited and I'm really looking forward to all the mad stuff I know they throw at you on Blue Peter."

c) "I'm so excited," said Zoe, "and I'm really looking forward to all the mad stuff I know they throw at you on Blue Peter."


6. Avoid stating the obvious. Your readers don't want to be told what they already know. Which of these sentences should you use?

a) With sirens blaring, fire engines rushed to put out the blaze.

b) Fire engines raced to put out the blaze.

c) Fire crews were at the scene of the blaze within minutes.


7. People use words in different situations. In a children's newspaper you wouldn't use technical sounding words or jargon. It is better to use words you put in a letter about the story to a friend. Which of these sentences would you choose?

a) The man died from his injuries.

b) The man sustained fatal injuries.

c) The man sustained terminal injuries.


8. Some words look very similar and are often confused like affect and effect. Here's a good way to remember this: The e in result stands for effect and the a in make a difference stands for affect. Which of these sentences is correct?

a) Many children are affected by allergies which can have a negative effect on their health.

b) Many children are effected by allergies which can have a negative affect on their health.

c) Many children are affected by allergies which can have a negative affect on their health.


9. It is important to spell correctly. Spellings of some words have different meanings like curb and kerb. Which of these sentences is correct?

a) Buses which lower themselves to the curb at bus stops have been designed to kerb the number of accidents involving wheelchair users and young children in push chairs.

b) Buses which lower themselves to the kerb at bus stops have been designed to curb the number of accidents involving wheelchair users and young children in push chairs.

c) Buses which lower themselves to the kurb at bus stops have been designed to cerb the number of accidents involving wheelchair users and young children in push chairs.


10. It is important to follow the rules of the language you are using. In the English language, people are responsible for what happens but things aren't. Which of these sentences would you use?

a) A fire killed a teenager in Newcastle.

b) A teenager from Newcastle was killed by a fire.

c) A teenager died in a fire in Newcastle.