Journalist Tina Daheley explains how to gather information for writing a news report. Pupils are presented with ways to conduct research and introduced to the key concept of news sources. The 2017 Trump immigration ban is used as a focus for this film and the importance of using a range of sources is explained. Daheley explores the need to find contrasting opinions to present a balanced news report and looks at how quotation marks and ellipses can be used. Several online and text sources are explored and presented clearly with key words highlighted on the screen. The process of interviewing is also presented with an emphasis on preparing good questions to get the most out of an interviewee. Using open and closed questions can affect responses, and pupils are shown how to rephrase questions to make them more useful. Finally, the value and credibility of social media messages is looked at with an emphasis on fact checking. Real examples will engage pupils with the research process, encourage them to verify their sources and demonstrate how important it is to use a range of fact and opinion in report writing.
This could be used as the basis for writing a ‘How to’ leaflet about researching a news report. Pupils could be given a range of sources on a current news topic – including websites, news articles, videos of people speaking on the topic. They could sort these into facts and opinions. In groups, pupils could decide which parts of the research they will use in their report. To practise interviewing, pupils could use a hot-seating technique with a teacher-in-role as an expert, or use pupils to play the parts of people with opinions on the topic being reported on. Pupils could look at three news reports and decide which sources might have been used to compile the final report. This could be used to write a news report about a recent school event – perhaps a school production, or fundraising event. Invite them to find facts and opinions that will ensure a balanced report. Pupils could be given a list of key words from the film and asked to explain these. Could also be used for a charades type game where pupils act out the meaning of a word to a team who have to guess the word. After watching, pupils could write a ‘Day in the Life’ story about a news reporter preparing a news item, or hold a whole class debate on the pros and cons of social media as a news source. They could discuss the risks involved as well as the positive aspects of social media. They could be given two versions of a news report that show different angles, and asked to explain how the news is presented differently and for their thoughts about how and why this happens.