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Lesson 8

Producing balanced news reports

Journalist training school background:
Journalists should try to include all relevant points of view in a news report to make sure that their reports are balanced: all sides of the story are heard and all the people involved are represented. Unbalanced reporting is one way in which news can be biased

NewsWise values

This lesson focuses on the NewsWise value: balanced.

Learning objective

To analyse whether a news report is balanced.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify points of view that are included within a news report.

  • Infer points of view that might be missing within a news report.

  • Compare different points of view and consider why people’s opinions differ.

Starter/baseline assessment

  • Whose point of view? Provide pupils with the headline: ‘School bans homework’. Pupils identify the different points of view in the story, completing thought bubbles for each (eg teachers, parents, pupils).

  • As a class, consider the following: Do you think all pupils/teachers/parents would feel the same way? Why might ____ feel differently to ____? Why would it be important to include as many viewpoints as possible in a news report of this story? Whose points of view should be included to ensure balance?

Learning activity

  • Pupils read unbalanced news reports: Report 1 and Report 2, identifying whose points of view are heard and whose are missing.

  • Provide pupils with context of the story, using Background and context notes and links 1 and 2. Can pupils summarise the story using the 5 Ws?

  • As a class, look at Different viewpoints: for and against. The resource includes a montage of interviews with different people involved in the story. Ask pupils to consider the range of opinions involved: who is supportive? Who disapproves? Why do ___ and ____ feel differently?

  • Divide the class into two. Provide one half with Report 1 and the other half with Report 2. Pupils read their allocated report, evaluating whether it is balanced. Can pupils identify whose viewpoints are heard in the story and whose are missing? For additional support, provide a list of suggestions of people who might be involved, eg commuters, general public, drivers, protesters, transport companies, police, mayor of London, government.

  • Challenge: encourage pupils to consider what the viewpoints of those not represented might be. What might they think or feel about the situation? Why might they think or feel these things?


  • As a class, compare the two reports and ask pupils to share their evaluations. How do they differ? Are they balanced? Why/why not? Whose points of view were heard? Who else is involved in this story that you haven’t heard from? What might they think or feel about the situation? Whose side do you think the reporter is on? Why do you think this? What does the writer want you to feel or think?

Questions for assessment

  • What is a point of view? 

  • Why do people have different points of view? 

  • What would happen if a news report didn’t include all sides of the story? 

  • How can a journalist make sure their report is balanced? 

  • Why is it important for journalists to report news in a balanced way? 

  • What could you do if you don’t think you’ve been given all sides of the story in a news report?

Core knowledge and skills

  • Every story has more than one side, so can be told in different ways. To give readers an accurate report, journalists should make sure their reports are balanced by including different points of view, always representing both sides of the argument. 

  • Sometimes journalists write unbalanced reports by not including everyone’s point of view, which can be seen as being biased. They might only include one side of the story because it’s the side they agree with, or they may be trying to influence how the reader feels about the story.

  • When reading/listening to/watching the news, it is important to consider whose point of view is included and whether there are any missing points of view, in order to evaluate whether the story is balanced.

Extension opportunities

  • Pupils rewrite the news report, ensuring it is balanced. This could also be a drama or a speaking & listening activity, with pupils producing a TV or Radio news bulletin.

  • Role-play a whole-class press conference for the ‘homework ban’ story in the starter activity. Some pupils act as the people involved in the story (a teacher, a parent, a pupil etc), while remaining pupils act as reporters asking questions. After the conference, pupils practise producing a balanced news report, including all points of view.


Curriculum links

Reading comprehension

  • Drawing inferences, making comparisons across texts   

PSHE education

Living in the wider world

  • how to assess the reliability of sources of information online; 

  • how text and images in the media and on social media can be manipulated or invented; strategies to evaluate the reliability of sources and identify misinformation.

More lessons
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