Day 3 What is News? lesson

Prepared by: Jami Williams, Mexico High School, Mexico, Missouri

Students will apply the eight news values to determine which stories are the most important and generate a litmus test for the class to use the remainder of the year as the criteria for making decisions about news stories.


  1. Teacher will review criteria
  2. Cooperative project to create a rubric for decision making


  1. Level 3 (Proficient) analysis of news values in application to story potential
  2. Level 3 (Proficient) generation of association of combinations of news values to current media stories (teacher will need to generate these resources based on current events)


  1. Access to computers
  2. Definitions or a list of the eight news values

Steps to check for student understanding

  1. FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT – Each student will create a “rating scale” using the eight news values. This scale will be used in application to determine what stories are most important or front page news.


  1. Suggested bell ringer: Draw and Define: Students will draw from a deck of the eight news value cards and write as many synonyms AND antonyms as they can for each.
  2. Teacher should introduce this formative assessment by reviewing some of the points of discussion that have come into play over the last couple of days.
  3. Teacher will explain the activity and give students the hour to work on developing their litmus test – use of Google classroom/drive is suggested for this activity.
  4. Teacher should give students most of the hour to complete their assignment and instruct them to share their completed assignment with all of their classmates.


  1. OUT OF CLASS WORK: Students should review their classmates’ criteria at home and select two that they feel are the most effective and be ready to explain why.

This assignment is the beginning of your student guide to writing for the upcoming year. When the students return to class, it would be worth using a day to review the litmus tests created by the students and utilize it as a cooperative learning activity to create the classroom/publication scale for newsworthiness.