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Supergirl's avatar

How do I teach how to write a news article?

Asked by Supergirl (1671 points ) February 28th, 2008

I teach 6th grade, and am trying to teach them the differences between news writing and essay writing. It is not clicking for some of them, any resources or ideas to make it more concrete? I have shown them tons of news articles online, but they still don’ recognize the differences.

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6 Answers

lifeflame's avatar

I taught a Journalism unit to a similar age group, and adapted a bunch of materials from here: www.highschooljournalism.org/Teachers/Lesson_Plans/Archive.cfm
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We started with the idea of “What makes News News”
(Recent, Proximity, Novelty, Prominence, Conflict/Human interest)

Then we did a game where they were split into teams and had to identify different parts of the paper – “Tell me the weather in Beijing”... “Give me a who-what-when-where from a sports article” “Who is the editor-in-chief of this newspaper”... etc
You can get them the same paper on different days, or even different papers (make sure your questions match..)
It’s also great for them to consolidate this by visually labelling different parts of the newspaper (get a bunch of post-its and a front page): Headline, lead paragraph, caption, ...

Next we tried out the different writing styles for different parts of the paper. For example, a news article is structured very differently (inverted pyramid format, most interesting detail first (so that the editor can lop off the end if there is no space on that page) from a feature article. And of course it’s different from a editorial / letter to the editor, classified…

We also looked at interviewing techniques + a bit of ethics (e.g. do you want to ask leading questions? and when?) ..

Finally we put it all together, layout, wrote headlines, photos, etc so they would have a finished product…! Voila.
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There are tons of lesson plans in that archive I sent you. A good place to start would be to scroll down to the “Introduction to Journalism” section.
There are good handouts in this particular lesson plan that I adapted. I’m also happy to e-mail you my lesson plans if you drop me a line privately. Busy teachers unite!

nomtastic's avatar

are you able to list the differences yourself? (i’m not sure i could, as it has something to do with tone, i think. with topic?)

Val123's avatar

A news article answers Who, What, Where, When,and Why, and sticks to the facts. Opinions of the writer are not allowed, and neither is emotion, except when factually describing someone else’s emotion or opinion.

NewZen's avatar

Start with if it bleeds it leads. Even today’s 6th graders understand that. Maybe not in those exact words, but you get the jist. A missing kid in a balloon, or a killer on the loose will get the main headline – even before the President, if it isn’t a Nobel Prize.

Kids are online – and print media has changed dramatically. Are we talking Freelance Journalism? For a weekly, a monthly, for a freebie or for Time.com.?

The opening paragraph, the first line, has to have a hook.

The last line, the kicker. Best if there’s a“full circle” feel to the item as well, whenever possible.

Lastly, write what you know. If a kid is in basketball he could write about that; as opposed to doing a piece on soccer. He could add his own perspective (as an “expert”) and have a lot less leg-work to do.

This was asked over a year ago – wondering how the class went?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Talk with your local newspaper editor….bring him/her into your classroom. ..... This was asked over a year ago?? Wow.

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