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Reporting real news stories with your class

Teacher guidance on generating ideas for news stories about real people, events and issues

The importance of real news stories

Giving pupils the opportunity to write news reports about genuine stories gives their writing a real-life purpose and audience, especially when the story involves their own community.

Feedback from teachers is that children take greater ownership of their writing, are motivated to write, and feel a greater responsibility to write in an appropriate, factual and fair way about the people in their report.

Their writing is of higher quality because they really care about the subject matter.

Your role as chief editor

It is really empowering for pupils to have input into the story they are writing about. A teacher in role as chief editor can structure this process, giving pupils the freedom to contribute ideas, while maintaining guidance over final story choices.

Consider how to ensure that pupils are effectively ‘distanced’ from the story on which they are reporting. This is explored in NewsWise lesson 3.

Ask pupils – your reporting team – to write down or pitch suggestions for stories, then:

  • Select one that you think should be reported.

  • Select a range and allow children to choose or vote on the story.

Alternatively, offer a range of stories from which pupils can choose.


An important part of news reports is interviewing real and relevant sources. Here are some ideas:

  • Family members: relatives who have a connection to the issue; parents with community links or jobs in a related industry; grandparents who remember an important event; older siblings who might have different experiences/ viewpoints of events

  • Teachers and other staff at school: If you are writing about a school issue, who are the most relevant people to talk to? The headteacher? Kitchen staff? Caretakers? Other pupils? Remember the school is also a great source of experts; use subject specialists. You may not be able to get NASA on the phone, but you could interview your science lead.

  • Local community sources: try talking to local businesses, services and charities relevant to your chosen story. Could you invite someone into school to be interviewed?

  • Politicians: MPs, councillors, mayors, local government: send a class set of letters to the relevant official. Explain who you are and why you are writing, and why your class think the issue is important. You could also try sending emails and contacting them on social media from the school’s account.

Additional tips

  • Support pupils to take photographs during their interviews so that they can use real photos in their news reports.

  • If the whole class is writing on the same issue, compile research banks/factsheets to help pupils find additional key facts to include in their reports.

  • If reporting on a local/community issue, organise a class outing to the relevant site, eg a new housing development/local business.

  • When arranging interviews, involve the pupils in the process. Invite pupils to send emails and letters/speak on the phone to possible interviewees and welcome their visitors on the day.

  • Support pupils to create their own risk assessments for interviews. Involving pupils in the organisational processes of the project will help them to feel even more involved, engaged and empowered!

Inspiration: example of stories from NewsWise schools

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