TOPIC: Understanding news and newsworthiness.
- What does a journalist do? What does a journo need to be?
- Asks questions to which public want answers
- Perseveres to find the truth of events
- Is accurate and balanced when constructing a story
- Presents a story in the clearest and most powerful way
- Has an extensive network of sources
- Being a journalist
- Tell real-life stories
- Explain the world beyond a person’s direct experience
- The job
- Gather facts
- Decide which to include and what to omit
- Structure the story
- Decide which words to use and how to package the story
Discussion: Do people trust journalists? Why or why not?
What makes a good journalist? (Sissons, p4)
- Curiosity! Be nosy
- Being a people person – people watchers, listeners
- A questioner – full of questions, intent on establishing as many facts as possible. Having courage to ask. No question is stupid!
- A verifier – verifying facts. Question people, but also question what they tell you.
- Accuracy is vital
- Courage – in a war zone, or covering local council. Don’t reveal sources
- Good news judge – recognise news
- Able writer – you need to be able to express ideas and information in writing. A clear, grammatically correct writing style is critical
- Creativity – use language in an original way. Think of new ways of using pictures and sound. Cover stories creatively
- Competitiveness – be first and fastest
- Ethics – do the ends justify the means? Should you knock on the door of a family who has just lost two children in a car accident? Call first? Leave a note?
- Cultivation of contacts – keep an up-to-date contact book – hard copy or electronic – and back it up.
- Well-read – stay informed and up-to-date
Knowing the news
- List the news organisations that you know of
- Who reads what, and why?
- Analyse the readership
- Which do you read regularly?
- Identify the top stories in the news today.
- List stories
- Why are they the top stories?
- Why do you think they are news?
- Every time you read a news story, note how good writing makes it easy for the reader! Good writers use:
- Everyday words
- Short, simply structured sentences
- Active verbs
- Anecdotes and quotes
- Was it difficult to identify exactly what made the stories worthwhile?
- Find the same news story on two different news sites. How were the same stories treated in different newspapers?