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Journalism. 12-2 English. What is journalism?. T he act of researching and reporting news (ranging from current events to recounting of historic events) It is factual – real events, real people It aims to be unbiased

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12-2 English

What is journalism
What is journalism?

  • The act of researching and reporting news (ranging from current events to recounting of historic events)

  • It is factual – real events, real people

  • It aims to be unbiased

  • It can take many forms: Print (newspaper, magazine), Radio, Television, Documentary Film, Online (multimedia, blogs)

  • At its core, journalism is


Why journalism matters
Why journalism matters:

  • Think about how you find out about what’s going on in the world. How much would we know about other areas of the world, or even our country, if we didn’t have news programs?

  • It’s our right to be informed about what’s going on in our country

  • How else would the public find out about product recalls, health risks, danger, war, (and also good things that happen!)?

A brief history
A brief history…

  • Curiosity is human nature

  • Egyptian hieroglyphics;’ Ancient Greek epic poetry, songs; oral story-telling traditions

  • The use of the printing press, 1456

  • First newspapers were used to defend a political party’s position, not to report in a balanced way

  • 1930’s – newspaper gets competition from radio/ film

  • 1950’s – TV news becomes popular

  • 2000’s – Game changer: Explosion of Internet access and social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) brings “citizen journalists”

News sources
News Sources

  • There are many local, national and international news sources. In small groups, make a list of as many news sources as you can. Think about the different platforms of print, radio, video and online.

  • 5, 432 bonus points to the

    group who comes up with

    the most news sources!

News values
News Values

Why do some stories/events deserve to be published?

What makes a story or event NEWSWORTHY?

Proximity (where the story takes place)

Timeliness (when did it happen?)

Prominence (Famous person/city/building)


Impact (who/how many does it affect/to what extent)

Human Interest (kids, animals, weird/wacky)

News value
News Value

Where a news story appears can tell you something about its news value.

How do you think important stories or especially newsworthy stories are shown in newspapers? How about online?

Visualization of news value
Visualization of News Value

Newspapers show news value by the placement of the story:

Front page – in national and provincial daily newspapers, big stories

“Above the fold” – stories that appear above the fold of the newspaper

Headline size – this can also show which are the biggest stories of the day


“Centerpiece Story”: story intended to be focus of intention, you see it before you have to scroll down the web page

News values and big stories
News Values and Big Stories

1. Briefly discuss in your groups the main stories that you found yesterday while exploring different news sources. Remember to think about the news values that we discussed yesterday: proximity, timeliness, prominence, impact, conflict, human interest

2. Share with the class

News values in a newscast
News Values in a Newscast

  • Watch the first part of the national newscast (CBC) from last night.

  • Take note of the stories and what order they appear in. What are they about?

  • After watching, we will discuss the stories and what news values they have. We will also think about their order of appearance.

Story ideas
Story Ideas

  • How do you think journalists come up with story ideas?

  • Remember, it is human nature to be curious, and that at its core, journalism is story-telling.

Finding your own story ideas
Finding your own story ideas…

Small group discussion:

  • Is anything in your life newsworthy?

  • Is there anything newsworthy in the stories you hear among your family, friends and in your community?

  • Come up with a list of 5 or more story ideas. Think about things happening in the community, profiles of people, things that you’ve always wondered about…

Exit slip
Exit Slip

Where do you get your news?

How often do you watch/read/listen to the news, if ever?

What is one question you have about journalism?


  • Conducting interviews is a HUGE part of journalism

  • Outside research can be conducted (and should be conducted especially before interviews) but speaking with sources and observing events is where journalists get the majority of the information that goes into many news stories.

    CTV Chris Hadfield:


Step 1: Prepare

  • Do as much research as possible before conducting your interview

  • Prepare your questions and decide which general order you will ask them in. It’s a good idea to keep difficult or possibly offensive questions until the end of the interview – if the interviewee is going to walk out, it’s better it happens at the end.

  • Try to imagine what some of the answers to your questions might be. That way you can write down some possible follow up questions. But, DON’T ASSUME that a source feels a certain way – it might be quite the opposite.


  • Ask one question at a time. If you ask more than one question, the source will usually always only answer the last one.

  • Ask simple, short questions.

  • Ask OPEN-ENDED questions. There is a time for closed-ended questions, but open-ended questions lead to more description, information and actual quotes.


  • Simple questions to keep in mind to help pull more information out of a source:

    - What happened?

    - What do you mean?

    - How would you describe that moment/feeling?

    - What did he/she/they say?

    - What was it like?


Step 2: The Interview

  • Try not to read the questions right from the page. Try to have an actual conversation.

  • LISTEN. Your source might say something that could lead to another question that you don’t have written down.

  • Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes a source will have something else to say if you allow for a pause after their first answer.

  • If you don’t understand something, ASK. If you don’t know, then the average reader might not either.


Try it out
Try it out…

  • You will be conducting an interview with a classmate about the most memorable/best/scariest/saddest event of their life.

  • First you should prepare a list of questions. Remember the tips we talked about. (5 mins)

  • Do the interview. Remember the tips about listening and coming up with questions as you receive answers. (10 mins)

  • Take notes as you listen, you will be presenting a summary of your interview.

Create interview questions
Create Interview Questions:

In your writer’s notebook:

  • Choose one of the story ideas you came up with yesterday.

  • Identify the sources you would interview. Don’t need exact names of people, but the titles of people you would interview.

  • Create a list of at least 10 questions that you use in your interview. Put them in the order you would ask them in.

Form of a news article
Form of a News Article

  • Read news article

  • What do you notice about what is being told in each part of the article?

  • Make notes in the margins of the article

Parts of a news article
Parts of a News Article

  • Headline – the title of a news article. In newspapers, headlines might be more intriguing and less telling. Online, headlines are a more straight-forward.

  • Byline – the writer’s name

  • “Lede”/ Lead – first line of a news story, usually attempts to hook the reader – try to answer 5Ws + H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How) as quickly as possible.

Your story ideas
Your Story Ideas:

  • Using the story ideas you came up with this week, select three to prepare for as if you would actually be doing interviews and writing a story.

  • Explain:

    - what research you would have to do before the interview

    - who you would need to interview (most news stories have more than one side or one voice)

    - list the questions you would ask and in what order (you should have at least 5 questions for each source). Some general questions are okay, but also make some specific to the story.

Writing style of news articles
Writing Style of News Articles

  • What do you notice about the style of writing?

    Newspaper writing is generally:

  • Active

  • Not fluffy

  • Simple language

  • One thought per sentence

  • Uses quotes to support or explain the story

Write your own article
Write your own article:

  • Watch the video by CBC on the Montreal Massacre of 1989. for link!

  • Take notes on the important information (5W’s & H). Copy down 2 quotes from sources interviewed in the story.

  • Using this information, write a 200 word news article. (This can be done by hand or typed.)


  • Remember the form of a news article:

    1) Newsworthy info: 5w’s +H

    2) Important details

    3) Less important details

    DUE: Tomorrow at the beginning of class. Must be printed BEFORE class!

Letter to the editor
Letter to the Editor

  • A letter to an editor is a letter that a newspaper reader or community member has written to the editor of a newspaper.

  • Selected letters to the editor are published in a specific section of the newspaper.

  • Letters to the editor express personal opinion, usually about something happening in the community or in the country (most letters tend to have a negative opinion – but some are happy!)


  • To speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way. To share your opinion on something that you feel strongly about.

  • Rants are similar to Letters to the Editor as the creator shares their opinion on something. But, rants are usually spoken.

  • Rick Mercer rants:

    Plastic Money:

    Canadian Weather:

    Flu Shot:

Create a rant or a letter to the editor
Create a Rant or a Letter to the Editor


- Work in groups of 2-3

- Together, write a rant about something you feel strongly about (It should be at least 30 sec in length)

- Record your rant (edit if needed)

- You shouldn’t be reading from a page for your rant. Memorize or work from basic discussion points.

- Groups of 3 must have at least 2 members in the video

- Present to the class

** bring recording device tomorrow

** you should have access to a computer/ editing software at home – school software might not work


  • Working on your own

  • Write a 400 word letter expressing your opinion on a community issue/something positive happening in the community/ something positive or negative you feel strongly about.

  • Present your topic to the class

Narrative non fiction
Narrative Non- Fiction

  • What is it?

  • Sometimes also called “Creative Non-Fiction”

  • It borrows literary styles and techniques from creative fiction writing to tell true stories

  • Considered a type of journalism: there is a lot of research, interviewing and digging that goes into narrative non-fiction

  • It reads more like a story than a news article

Narrative non fiction1
Narrative Non- Fiction

  • Scene reconstruction: asking questions, getting detail to write about a scene that you didn’t witness

  • Character development

  • LOTS of imagery

  • Language is much more detailed, “pretty”

  • Much more “show” than “tell”


  • Can range in lengths: from magazine articles - books

Popular examples
Popular Examples

  • Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

  • Eat, Pray, Love

  • Marley and Me

  • Friday Night Lights

  • Blind Side

  • Black Hawk Down

  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

  • Night – Elie Wiesel

Reading responding to narrative non fiction
Reading & Responding to Narrative Non-Fiction

  • As we read through the article, makenotes on:

    • Setting/character/scene development

    • Description

    • Emotion of the story and your reaction to it

    • Parts that you like/ don’t like

    • Questions you have about the reporting

    • Questions you might have about how the writer knows certain details

Discussion questions
Discussion Questions

  • What part did you find most interesting/engaging?

  • What writing techniques did you like?

  • How much research and interviewing work went into this story?

  • How do you think journalists deal with asking tough questions?

  • What if this story was fictional, would it affect you the same way?