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Lesson | 50 Minutes

Find Your Story


Introduction

Students explore new topics and people to develop a compelling news story.

This lesson will help students understand how journalists decide what kinds of stories to pursue and help them sharpen the focus of their own story ideas.

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Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to answer this question: What makes something newsworthy?

When Would You Use This Lesson?

Use this lesson at the beginning of your news-gathering journey and before students do pre-interviews or write a pitch.

Media Literacy Connection

Lots of media and news literacy lessons ask students to think about the decisions that reporters make without asking them to step into the journalist’s shoes and experience the decisions that go into every story -- from the idea to the research, the pitch, framing, and production. This lesson will deepen students’ understanding of media, especially visual media, and help them be much more discerning and savvy media consumers.

Civics Connection

Decisions about money, priorities, and policy are affected by decision-makers’ understanding of an issue. Ideas and opinions often come from the research, information, and media that decision-makers consume and the media that shape the general public’s understanding of complex topics. A stronger understanding of where stories come from gives students power over the messaging and information, and an understanding of the connection between media, community issues, policy-making, and civic life.

Journalism

Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.

Source: American Press institute

Journalism Ethics

Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Source: Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics

Community

A group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood). It can also be a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

Source: Merriam Webster

Timeliness

Immediate, current information and events are newsworthy because they have just recently occurred. It’s news because it’s “new.”

Proximity

Local information and events are newsworthy because they affect the people in our community and region. We care more about things that happen “close to home.”

Solutions

Investigating and explaining, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people try to solve widely shared problems. Solutions journalism focuses on responses to problems.

Source: Solutions Journalism

Human Interest

People are interested in other people. Everyone has something to celebrate and something to complain about. We like unusual stories of people who accomplish amazing feats or handle a life crisis because we can identify with them.

Relevance

People are attracted to information that helps them make good decisions. If you like music, you find musician interviews relevant. If you’re looking for a job, the business news is relevant. We need to depend on relevant information that helps us make decisions.

Story Angle

In news, it’s a story’s point or theme. It's the lens through which the producer or writer filters the information they have gathered and focuses it to make it meaningful to viewers or readers.

Source: ThoughCo.

Audience

The people who read, watch and consume news. Often, journalists think about audience and newsworthiness in similar ways. How will the news story serve their local or national audience? Who am I writing the story for and why?

Writing - Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Reading - Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)

Determining Helpful Sources

Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration multiple points of view represented in the sources, the types of sources available, and the potential uses of the sources. (NCSS D1.5.9-12)

Historical Sources and Evidence

Historical inquiry is based on materials left from the past that can be studied and analyzed. (NCSS D2.His.9.9-12 - D2.His.13.9-12)

Demonstrate writing processes used in journalism and broadcasting media.

Demonstrate the use of basic tools and equipment used in audio, video and film production.

Language - Conventions of Standard English

Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)

Gathering and Evaluating Sources

Whether students are constructing opinions, explanation, or arguments, they will gather information from a variety of sources and evaluate the relevance of that information. (NCSS D3.1.9-12 - D3.2.9-12)

Reading - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Speaking and Listening - Comprehension and Collaboration

Topics

Journalism

Media Literacy

Levels

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Materials

Internet

Notebook

Estimated Time

50 Minutes