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Writing the News

Practical newspaper-based writing activities, expanding on reporting and creative writing skills for Grades 5-7.

Writing the News by Sally Murphy
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Writing the News is a media and writing program aimed at 10-12 year old students working at Challenging level in Grades 5-7.. The book’s aims are twofold: • For Teachers: To provide a range of newspaper-based writing activities which can be used in literacy and media lessons. • For Students: To build greater awareness of the techniques used in constructing the various parts of a newspaper; and to develop writing skills. The media plays a big role in not only keeping the public informed of what is going on in their own town, across the country and around the world, but in also shaping their opinions on these events. One of the most studied forms of media is the newspaper, partly because of its ease of use in the classroom setting. Each unit of work in Writing the News examines how a different feature of the newspaper is written. Beginning with news articles, and moving on to editorial, sporting articles, advertisements, letters, entertainment and more, activities include studying examples of each, as well as hands-on writing exercises. Related Standards:

• Students read a wide range of texts with purpose, understanding and critical awareness.

• Students write for a range of purposes and in a range of forms, using conventions appropriate to purpose, audience and context. Using the Activities Writing the News is all about reading newspapers and writing for newspapers. What better way to
understand how a newspaper is written than to actually have fun writing part or all of it in class? The pages which follow include a variety of activities. Some involve comprehension, others involve writing, whilst others ask students to consider their own attitudes. This book can be used sequentially, working through the different parts of the newspaper, from news articles to competitions, and finishing with a whole class newspaper project. Alternatively, each activity stands alone – allowing you to focus on the specific parts of the newspaper appropriate for your teaching program. Many activities refer to ‘your daily newspaper’. In some areas there is only one daily, in others you may choose to focus on one, or may use this as an opportunity to compare and discuss the differences between various daily papers. Local weekly papers and weekend papers are also appropriate for most activities. In addition, most newspapers have websites which may be of use in lesson planning. As well as being ideal for media studies, the class newspaper task could be used to focus on a specific theme studied in other subject areas, with all sections of the class paper focusing on this theme in some way. A whole-class newspaper could also be the local paper for the town in a class novel, with all news reports and other content relating to the events of the novel in some way.

Ready-Ed Publications; January 2001
43 pages; ISBN 9781863975605
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Title: Writing the News
Author: Sally Murphy; Melinda Brezmen

Human Interest Stories
News stories deal with matters of news – incidents or events that effect the local community, the country or the whole world. Sometimes, newspapers include articles which are not really news, but are about things that might entertain or interest some or all of their readers: a story about a man who has a big collection of model trains, or a dog that had thirteen puppies, for example. These stories are known as human interest stories.

Sort the following article topics into human interest and news stories.

  • a. A man is murdered. 
  • b. A duck builds a nest near a swimming pool.
  • c. A volcano erupts overseas. 
  • d. A war breaks out in Africa.
  • e. A lady gives birth to quintuplets. 
  • f. A school is closed down.
  • g. A girl is hit by a car. 
  • h. A lost child is found.
  • i. A bank is robbed. 
  • j. Twins celebrate their hundredth birthday.

Human Interest News

Now, find a human interest article in your daily newspaper, and use it to answer the following questions.
1. Where abouts in the newspaper did you find the human interest story? How much space did it take up? 
2. Did the article answer the six questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?

3. In what way is the human interest article different from a news article?