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Lesson 1

How is news produced?

Journalist training school background:
Journalists report news stories to inform (and sometimes entertain) their audience. There are different types of journalist, who each have a different responsibility in news production

NewsWise values

This lesson focuses on the NewsWise value: interesting.

Learning objective

To understand the purpose of news and how it is produced.

Learning outcomes

  • Define what news is.

  • Describe the different roles in a newsroom and the skills needed for those roles.

  • Identify the main purpose of a news story.

  • Summarise a news story using the 5 Ws.

Starter/baseline assessment

  • Kick-start the unit by welcoming pupils to Journalist Training School! Play the mission video and give pupils their training journals. See creating a newsroom resource for ideas on how to turn your classroom into a newsroom.

  • News or not? Pupils sort the headlines into ‘news’ or ‘not news’, considering the reasons for their choices. What counted as news and why? What didn’t count as news? How did you make your decision? Are things which happen to us individually ‘news’?

  • Create a class definition of news, considering the difference between personal, local, national and international news.

Learning activity

  • Pupils read Report 1 and identify the most important information using the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why). Can pupils describe the main purpose of the story: what is this report informing its reader about? 

  • Challenge: why do you think the story’s main purpose is important for the reader to know? Why might this be interesting for the reader?

  • Pupils take part in a carousel of activities, each providing the chance to experience the main Roles in a newsroom:

  • Reporters: decide who to interview to find out more information about the story. Write questions to gather the most interesting details.

  • Subeditors: proofread the report to find and correct spelling and punctuation errors. Write a subject-verb-object headline to highlight the most important and interesting information in the news report.

  • Picture editors: choose the most informative and interesting pictures to accompany the news report, justifying why some pictures are better than others. Write captions for the chosen pictures.


  • Discuss the pupils’ experiences of working in a newsroom. Which role did you enjoy the most and why? Which role did you find the most challenging and why? What skills do journalists need to learn? Why is it important that news stories are interesting?

Questions for assessment

  • What is news? 

  • What is news for? 

  • Where do you see, hear or read the news? 

  • How is the news is made?  

  • What are the different jobs in a newsroom?

  • What are the NewsWise values and why are they important?

Core knowledge and skills

  • News is new information that people want or need to know. 

  • The main purpose of news is to inform; it tells us what is happening in the world, including natural disasters, conflicts, new discoveries and achievements, interesting events, or incidents which occur to people we’re interested in. 

  • News is accessed via TV, radio, newspapers, online news sites, podcasts and social media channels. News can be read, listened to or watched. 

  • The key roles in news production are: chief editor, desk editor, reporter, subeditor and picture editor (see the News glossary).

  • All news publications have a set of values, which can influence the news stories they report on.  

  • NewsWise aims to uphold the highest standards of journalism through four NewsWise values: truthful, fair, balanced and interesting. These values will support pupils to check for and produce good quality journalism throughout the unit.


Curriculum links

Reading comprehension

  • Identifying the purpose of a text; summarising key information; asking questions to find out more information    


  • Vocabulary: selecting appropriate vocabulary to change and enhance meaning

  • Editing: proofreading for spelling and punctuation errors

More lessons
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