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Lesson 10

Reporting real news stories

Journalist training school background:
Journalists must find interesting and newsworthy stories to report. They also have a responsibility to be fair to the people in their stories. When planning their reports, journalists should always consider how to make them truthful and balanced

NewsWise values

This lesson focuses on all of the NewsWise values.

Learning objective

To identify and plan a real news story to report.

Learning outcomes

  • Justify why a news story is newsworthy for a chosen audience and fair to the people involved.

  • Use the 5 Ws to summarise a news story.

  • Decide who to interview for a story.

  • Generate questions to obtain balanced and interesting information about a news story.

Important note: you may wish to complete this lesson earlier in the unit to allow more time for organising real interviews, particularly where this involves inviting guests into the school or arranging a class trip. 

Starter/baseline assessment

  • Find a story: in groups, pupils mindmap ideas for real news stories to report. It could be a local issue affecting the school community or a wider issue which pupils would like to investigate within their own community. Pupils use the News criteria to rate the newsworthiness of each option, considering their target audience in all decision-making.

Learning activity

  • As a class, discuss pupils’ ideas, considering the newsworthiness and appropriateness of the stories. Is this an interesting story for our audience? What is this story informing our audience about? Is this story fair to share; will the people involved be happy for us to share this information? Will we be able to report this story in a balanced way? You may wish to hold a class vote on a news story, or allow pupils to select a story individually or in groups from a list of possible options (note that the chief editor of a news publication will always have the final say!).

  • Having chosen a news story to report, pupils identify the 5 Ws of their story. Pupils then decide what further information they need to ensure their story is truthful, fair and balanced, and generate key investigative questions to guide their research.

  • Pupils carry out research in order to answer their investigative questions, gathering facts and evidence about their chosen issue or event. This could include statistics, official reports and statements, photographs, or similar news stories that have been reported in the past. Pupils begin to record their findings using the News report plan.


  • Drawing upon their research, pupils identify who they need to interview, remembering the importance of balanced reporting, and devise their interview questions. See ‘Extension opportunities’ for ideas on how to support pupils to write effective questions and prepare for interviews.

Questions for assessment

  • What school events could you report? 

  • What bigger issues could we investigate within our school? 

  • Are there any stories in our local communities that we want people to know about? 

  • How can we make sure that our reports are truthful, fair, balanced and interesting? 

  • What are the 5 Ws of your story? 

  • Who do we need to interview to find out more? 

  • What further information do we need to find out? 

Core knowledge and skills

  • In this lesson, pupils will identify and begin to research a real news story to report for a chosen audience (ie your school community). You may wish to act in role as ‘chief editor’ of your class’s news publication.  See Teacher guidance: reporting real news stories with your class for practical support about how to research and report real news stories in the classroom.

  • Pupils will begin to plan their reports in this lesson, but you will need to allocate more time before Lesson 11 for conducting interviews. You may also decide to give pupils more time for research outside of this lesson, depending on the subject matter of their news stories.    

Extension opportunities

Following on from this lesson, pupils will need time to conduct interviews, as a whole-class activity or an individual homework task. Below is a selection of pre- and post- interview activities:

  • Complete a risk assessment including the possible risks before, during and after interviews, highlighting what to do to minimise these risks.

  • Practise interviewing a partner using both open and closed questions. Which questions gave the most detailed answers? Create a list of questions to ask interviewees, using knowledge of open and closed questions.

  • Select the most useful and interesting information from interviews. Write a bank of direct quotes and reported speech to use in the reports.

  • Carry out additional research online, or through a visit to a place of interest, to find out extra facts and details to include in the reports.


Curriculum links

Planning for writing

  • identifying audience and purpose; noting initial ideas; drawing on research; asking questions    

PSHE education

Living in the wider world

  • living in the wider world: value the different contributions that people and groups make to the community

  • value the different contributions that people and groups make to the community

More lessons
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