• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


News Media Unit fall 2007

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago
This Unit is Also Availble in Word for better printing and formatting:Newspaper unit Final.doc
Final Project
Due: December 13, 2007
TV News & Newspapers Curriculum Unit
Unit Overview:
The following unit centers on TV news and newspapers. This unit includes classroom activities, discussions, videos, group work, and computer lab work. The unit is appropriate for many different classes, such as journalism, English, social studies, or current events. Also, this unit can be taught in whole, or each part of the unit can be a stand-alone lesson.
There are 4 major parts to this unit:
1)      Overview of media outlets and changes
a.       print to online to TV
b.      time = 1-2 days
2)      Newspaper types
a.       analyzing tones, audiences, purpose, and advertising
b.      time = 1-2 days
3)      Analyzing Newspaper Writing and Creating an Original Newspaper Project
a.       study the different sections of the newspaper and then create an original
b.      time = 2-3 weeks
4)      How TV Differs from Newspapers & TV News Skit
a.       study how TV news is different than newspapers and make an original TV new skit
b.      time = 3-5 days
Part 1: Overview of Media Outlets and Changes
Objective: Students will learn how the news media market has changed over the years. They
will examine trends and the future of this media and analyze how they themselves view news media.
Give students a survey asking them how they get their news.
·         There may be many suggestions, such as local TV, the internet, blogs, national TV, cable TV news, newspapers, etc. Talk about specific outlets and brands. What do students like the most and why? This could be a classroom discussion or think pair share.
·         Most likely, students will not read newspapers as their main source in the survey. Point this out, and ask them why. What do they like or not like about newspapers?
Watch sections of PBS Frontline Special Report: News Wars
available to watch online for free at
Watch the following chapters in this order:
21: The Story of the Los Angles Times (8 min)
22: The Fight For The Paper (10 min)
25: The End Game for the L.A. Times (4 min)
Then, ask students to think and discuss. Do they think newspapers are a dying business, especially given that young people are not reading them? Have students brainstorm some ideas that would make them want to read newspapers.
Part 2: Newspaper Types
Objective: Students will compare and contrast newspapers to find trends. Students will also begin to become familiar with the basic layout of papers. 
Divide the class into small groups (possibly 4 people to a group). Give each group 2 different newspapers. Newspapers should all be different and span a wide range of purposes and markets. If possible, use issues that were published on the same day. Ask them to compare and contrast and analyze these newspapers. If computers are easily accessible, they may want to do some research online to look up circulation information or other facts relevant to their newspaper. Have one student fill out the Newspaper Analysis Activity (this could be graded). After students are done with the analysis of their papers and have filled out the chart, have them give a short 5-minute presentation on what they found.

Suggested Rubric: Newspaper Analysis Activity

Class Period _____________                                                                          

Newspaper 1
Newspaper 2
Place of origin
What do you think the main purpose of the paper is?
What are the differences in writing style?
What are the differences in the layout or look of the paper?
What are the main front page articles?
What are the differences in the sections and articles throughout the paper?
What do you notice about the type of advertisements in the paper?
Any other notes or differences?
Which newspaper would your group prefer to read and why?

Part 3: Analyzing Newspaper Writing and Creating an Original Newspaper Project
Objective: Students will learn appropriate and valuable writing styles in order to create their own original newspaper.
This 2-3 week project (depending on level and age of students) walks students through the main sections of a newspaper. They will analyze what makes different sections unique in writing style and subject material and then write their own material to make their own section. By the end, students will have written their own newspaper with several different sections.
There are many software packages that could be used for this project. Many schools have access to Microsoft Word or Publisher, both of which would work well.
Day 1: Classroom
Letters to the Editor
Objective: Students will examine the characteristics of letters written to the editor and analyze qualities make them effective or powerful.
Begin the class by providing a newspaper for every student—ideally, not the same newspaper and issue for each student. Ask the students to find the “Letters to the Editor” page and have them read the first one to themselves. Go around the class and have each student tell in one sentence what the letter was about, and keep a running list on the board. Then, group all of the topics into categories—this can be teacher-led or student-led, depending on the grade level and ability of the class. You might find categories such as “politics,” “previous issue,” and “praise,” for example. After a thorough discussion, tell students that they will be responsible for writing their own “letter to the editor” about any topic that appears in an article in the newspaper they are working with. Give them time in class to read through the newspaper and have them find one topic that they are going to write about by the end of class. For homework, ask them to read the whole “letters to the editor” page of their newspaper and write a list of what they notice about the writing.
Day 2: Computer Lab
The next day, ask students to share their lists in groups and then have a full class discussion. Prompt them to talk about what kinds of details were used, how they were used, and what makes a really good letter stand out. Ask them to think about how they could incorporate these elements into their own letter, and give them time to write their letters in class.
Note: Their letters will be just one piece of the final newspaper project, so make sure they are saving their documents in a safe place.
Share this link with students, or use it in the classroom to offer suggestions about how to write a strong letter: http://www.ncte.org/about/issues/action/resources/122268.htm
Evaluation: When talking about what makes a strong letter, have the class vote on the most important elements and incorporate their ideas into a rubric.
Day 3: Classroom
Editorial Writing
Objective: Students will understand the format of a good editorial and research and write their own article about a current/hot topic.
After students have been introduced to the “letters to the editor” style of writing, an easy transition is to a longer, more developed form of editorial writing. As a whole class, read over an editorial from a newspaper. Try to find a topic that is particularly timely or of student concern—school or community issues would be great. Explain that editorials are the author’s opinion, but that doesn’t mean that the author can just rant about anything he/she wants—to be effective, editorials must be researched and well-thought out. Read another example of an editorial as a class and discuss the difference of the “topic” and the “slant”—in other words, explain that the topic itself isn’t innately good or bad, but the author puts his/her own slant on it to make a “regular” article become an editorial. Then, have students brainstorm what hot topics they would like to express their opinion about. School uniforms? Standardized testing? The driving age? Have them decide on a topic by the next class.
Day 4-5: Computer Lab
Spend the first day having students research and being to write the first draft of their editorial. When they’ve finished the first draft, have them revise it and write a final copy.

Day 6: Classroom
Feature Writing
Objective: Students will understand what makes a good feature story and effectively write about something or someone that interests them in the community or school.
Explain that a “feature” story is a little different than a “hard news” story, because rather than focusing on current events and situations, feature articles highlight something that is more “timeless”—often a prominent figure of a community, an organization that’s doing a fundraiser, or a place that carries some kind of significance or interest. Share some headlines of feature stories shown in the local newspaper, and look at a couple of online newspapers and ask students to locate what they think is a “feature” article. Then, explain that to write a “feature” article, students will report on something of interest to them—maybe give a brief history, explain the importance, and include details that would interest a wide range of audiences. Emphasize that it is reporting, not opinion. Have students browse newspapers to brainstorm an idea.
Day 7-8: Computer Lab
Have students write their feature story—this will likely be one of the longer articles to be included in their final paper, so emphasize drafting and revising. After they write a first draft, for example, have them do a peer review in partners before typing their final draft.
Day 9: Classroom
Headline News
Objective: Students will practice concise reporting language by writing their own news stories.
Explain that news writing is a distinct kind of writing, unlike writing a story, an essay, or a letter. Model for them how the language looks and sounds by demonstrating in class how to write about an event that happened that day—something silly and easy, like “the students came into Journalism class, and three people sharpened their pencils.” Show the difference between story writing, which has great detail, and clear, concise statements that would be found in a news report. Also, highlight the “inverted pyramid” of writing: basic/main points, essential details, and more detailed information. Refer to the graphic at http://www.enchantedlearning.com/newspaper/.
Have students look at online newspapers and note the categories that the articles are broken up to. Talk about the distinctions between local, state, national, and world news, along with the “consumer” or “entertainment” categories like weather, sports, celebrity news, etc. Ask students to choose two categories that they will write news articles about for their own newspaper. At least one has to be from the local/state/national/world category, and the other can be a consumer category (students can’t choose to write a sports and a weather report, for example, but they could write a sports story and a state story.) For homework, along with deciding on two categories, ask them to find online or in print newspapers two different examples each of the two types of story they will write and read them.
Day 10-11: Computer Lab
Have students brainstorm in class what they will write for each of their articles, keeping in mind that in must be a fairly recent event, and give them time to begin drafting the articles. Have them to either a peer review or revise their own individually and make sure that they are only stating the facts. Ask them to evaluate whether or not their language aligns with “news reporting language” that was discussed in class.
Day 12-13: Computer Lab
Caption Writing
Objective: Students will learn how to write a clear, concise, and appropriate caption for a photo of their choosing.
Before class, cut out samples of photos from various newspapers, keeping the caption attached. In class, put students into groups and have each group examine three or four photos and make a list of the information that is included. Share as a whole class, and then practice writing clear, concise captions as a class. Provide a few photos and project them in a PowerPoint presentation, and ask students to brainstorm what the caption should be. The photos should be pretty self-explanatory and include characters/people they would know, a familiar setting, and a clear activity, so the students could practice including all of those elements. Then, have students take their own pictures (or pick their own from a site like Flikr, if digital cameras aren’t available) to include in their final newspaper. After they have their photo, have them write a caption, do a peer review, and revise.
In their final newspaper product, assess the caption to be sure it includes information about “who, where, and when.”
Day 14: Computer Lab
Have students print out a rough draft of their projects and exchange with a partner. Give time in class for students to do a thoughtful and thorough peer review—tell them to pretend they are reading a “real” newspaper. Each student should give specific suggestions about what was done well and what could be improved and should note specific spelling or grammar errors. After the peer review, have students correct their papers and print out a final copy to submit for teacher grading.

When students have completed their final newspaper projects, ask them to write a reflection that answers the following questions: Which article did you find easiest to write? Which was the hardest? Why do you think that is? Students will be graded on the following rubric. (This could be adapted to any value of points that would work best for how the class is typically graded.)

Grading Criteria
Content information 40%
·         Paper contains all required sections of the newspaper:
o       Letter to the editor
o       Editorial
o       Feature news story
o       Two headline news story
o       Photo with caption
·         Paper contains appropriate content in each section
·         Paper contains accurate facts and news in reporting
Paper contains most of what is needed for a superior grade
Paper contains some of what is needed for a superior grade
Paper contains little of what is needed for a superior grade
Organization and Clarity 25%
·         Paper is easy to read and follows a logical format
·         Paper is appropriate length
·         Stories in paper follow their prescribed style and format.
Paper contains most of what is needed for a superior grade
Paper contains some of what is needed for a superior
Paper contains little of what is needed for a superior grade
Grammar and Mechanics 10%
·         Paper contains no more than 8 errors in the following:
·         Complete, varied, and interesting sentence structure
·         Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
·         Appropriate voice
·         Two headline news story
·         Photo with caption
·         The paper has been peer reviewed
Paper has no more than 9 errors 
Paper has no more than 10 errors
Paper has 11 or more errors
Creativity 25%
·         Paper is creative and interesting to read
·         The format, photos, and captions grab attention and are creative
Most of the paper is creative and interesting
Some of the paper is creative and interesting
Paper significantly lacks what is needed to being considered creative or interesting

Other resources for newspapers and newspaper writing:
http://www.highschooljournalism.org/Teachers/Lesson_Plans/Archive.cfm. This archive contains tons of lesson plans designed to teach high school students about various aspects of journalism.
http://www.readthetattoo.com/. This is an online newspaper, “The Tattoo Teen Newspaper,” written by and for teenagers. It’s well done, and it contains just a ton of information and different columns.
http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/. Use this site to search for newspapers from around the world—a great place for ESL students to read news in their first language.
Part 4: How TV Differs from Newspapers & TV News Skit
Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast different styles of TV news media and apply it to their own TV news skit. Student will also learn the history and speculate about the future of TV news.
Have students watch a half hour of TV news for homework. Assign them to different types or brands so they don’t all watch the same thing. Have them take notes and on what they observed and any trends notice—they should keep a list of the major stories covered and the style used. Some suggestions of types or brands that students could be assigned or grouped into:
a.       national evening news
b.      local 10 o’clock news
c.       cable news
d.      news magazines or primetime news
e.       satire or comedy news
In class, do a “jigsaw”: Have students meet with their common TV news type to discuss what they found, then move into new groups that have one member from each different TV news category. Have these jigsaw groups share what they learned, and then have them compare and contrast the different tones, stories, and audiences.
Watch sections of PBS Frontline Special Report: News Wars
Available to watch online for free at
Watch the following chapters in this order:
16: A New Definition for What’s News (10 min)
17: Network News: Then and Now (8 min)
18: Info Snaking (8 min)
19: The New Universe of Online Media (11 min)
Have a class discussion (either whole class or small group) after watching the clips. Prompt students to discuss the following:
  1. Should news programs give more “hard” news? What kinds of information can be considerednews?
  2. What do you think about news shows “dumbing down” their news because they think that’s what the people want?
  3. Do you think that the network need for profit has made news reporting less effective? Do you think news should be public service?
  4. Do you think shows like “The Daily Show” can be considered news shows?
  5. Do you info snack?
  6. What do you think the future of news is? Will any outlet disappear? Will any get bigger?
  7. Can anyone be a journalist?
Then, give each TV news group current event articles to read (possibly summary articles of more obscure stories form around the world). Their job will be to create a TV news spot in style of their assigned type of news. Students should summarize their news article, practice reporting it in their style, and perform it for the class. Provide a “news desk” and a projector to show photos or video. Students could also interview or people or do skits with actors. Give the groups time to practice, and then have each group perform in front of class. Grade students on the following criteria:
  1. accurate portrayal of news story
  2. use of appropriate style from their assigned TV news type
  3. evidence of successful teamwork
  4. school-appropriate content and delivery


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.