SchoolJournalism.org

Understanding what makes a good news story

Chalida Anusasananan
Mount Eden High School
Hayward, California

Overview and Rationale

  • Journalism students need to become aware of the news sources at their school in order to write stories that reflect what’s going on it all communities.
  • Journalism students need to know what makes a good story.
  • Journalism students will have an ample list of real possible stories for the first issues of the school newspaper.

Goals for Understanding

  • Where do we go for news? Where can we go at school?
  • What makes a good news story?
  • What makes a story news worthy?
  • Why does it matter? Why is it important?
  • Who does the story affect? Who cares about it?
  • How does the story cause people to make decisions (create democracy)?
  • What will this story cause the people who read it to do?

Resources/Materials

  • Whiteboard/blackboard
  • Markers/chalk
  • News article from local paper

Overviews and Timeline

Day 1

  • Activity 1- Journal (10 min)
    • Have students write about the following:
    • What makes a good news story? What is something you remember in the news? Why do you remember it? How did that story affect you? What did that story make you want to do?
  • Activity 2- Whole class shares (10 min)
  • Activity 3- Teacher leads a discussion on what makes a good news story based on what students have said. Teacher puts the following questions on the board. Students copy on paper.
    • Why is it important? Why does this story matter? Why does it matter right now?
    • Who is affected by this story? Who is going to care about it?
    • What are possible reactions to the story? How does this story give people the ability to make decisions? What will people do after reading the story?
  • Activity 4- Teacher passes out a news story from a local paper. In pairs, students are to work on answering questions above after reading the article.
  • Activity 5- Share as a class.
  • Activity 6- Have students think of three possible story ideas for homework. Pass out the following table.
Possible Story Idea Why is it important? Why does it matter? Why does it matter now? Who is affected by this story? Who is going to care about it? What are possible reactions to the story? How does this story give people the ability to make decisions? What will people do after reading the story?

Day 2

  • Activity 1- Have students share their story ideas to the class. Create list for the class.

Assessment

  • Collect homework to grade.
  • Follow up activity- for each possible story, have each student write down three people that would be good to interview for the story. For each possible interview person, have them come up with two questions they would ask.
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