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Lesson 11

Structuring news reports

Journalist training school background:
The structure and layout of a news report is important as it ensures that readers can find the most important information quickly

NewsWise values

This lesson focuses on the NewsWise values: truthful and interesting.

Learning objective

To analyse the structure of a news report.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain why news reports follow the inverted pyramid structure.

  • Order a news report using the inverted pyramid structure.

  • Plan the order of a news report including paragraphing.

Important note: ahead of this lesson, pupils must have completed their news report plans, with key facts and quotes from their research and interviews.

Starter/baseline assessment

  • Give pupils two minutes to read a news report, either printed or online (see list of Model news reports for examples) and consider: what did you read or see first in the report? Which parts did you read or look at the most? Draw out the idea that the first 5 W paragraph is the most important; often readers do not finish reading to the end! The headline and pictures draw your attention and add further information.

  • Introduce the Inverted pyramid structure and compare it with the report. Why do news reports provide the reader with all of the key information at the very beginning? Contrast this to narrative writing, which often holds information back to create suspense.

Learning activity

  • Mixed-up report: pupils read a selection of mixed-up paragraphs from a news report and place them in the right order, using the Inverted pyramid structure for support. How did you identify the introduction? Which of the 5 Ws does it begin with? How did you find the conclusion paragraph? How did you identify that this was the final paragraph? What do you find in the middle section of a news report? What helped you to order the paragraphs? How do the paragraphs begin? What do you notice about each paragraph?

  • Challenge: pupils note down language clues which helped while ordering the paragraphs, such as conjunctions that denote a contrasting or chronological point, or the use of pronouns to avoid repetition.

  • Begin your own class ‘news report toolkit’ by adding the structural and layout features of news reports, considering the purpose of each feature.

  • Pupils plan the structure of their own reports by plotting information from their news report plans into the Inverted pyramid template, making sure to start a new paragraph every time a new piece of information is given. Which of the 5 Ws will you mention first in your introduction? Why is this the most interesting or important information? What will you include in your conclusion?


  • Paragraph puzzle: pupils read the news report and mark where they think a new paragraph should begin. Remind pupils that every time you give a new piece of information about the story, including quotes, you should begin a new paragraph.

  • Ask pupils to return to their pyramid plan. Have you planned your news report so that every new point is a new paragraph?

Questions for assessment

  • What is the first thing you look at when reading a news report? 

  • Why do you think ____ is an important feature of a news report? 

  • Why do news reports follow an inverted pyramid structure? 

  • What is the most important paragraph of a news report and why? 

  • How might you end your news report? 

  • What do you notice about the paragraphs in a news report?

Core knowledge and skills

  • See the News report toolkit for a full list of structural (layout and language) features of a news report. 

  • The information in a news report is organised in an inverted pyramid shape. The first paragraph answers the 5 Ws, giving key information. The very first thing mentioned should be the most important information, often ‘who’ or ‘what’, but not ‘when’! The middle section adds detail and evidence including quotes from those involved. A concluding paragraph might look to the future, compare the story to similar events, or provide a final quote.  

  • News reports are written in short paragraphs; with every new piece of information, a new paragraph begins. Sometimes paragraphs will begin with a conjunction or an adverb to create cohesion, particularly when adding a chronological or contrasting point (see the sentence starters in News reporting language).  However, most paragraphs will begin immediately with a new piece of information such as a quote; cohesion across paragraphs is mainly achieved through the use of pronouns or synonyms to avoid repetition.  

  • The layout features of a news report are called ‘page furniture’ (see Page furniture notes). Each of these features a) grabs the reader’s attention and b) adds to their understanding of the story.


Curriculum links

Reading comprehension

  • Identifying how structure contributes to meaning   

Planning for writing

  • Planning the structure of writing using similar models; using paragraphs to order and separate information 

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