About the Reporting Labs
PBS NewsHour Extra Student Reporting Labs are classrooms, after-school programs and clubs around the country producing original, inspiring reports about how national and global issues affect local communities.
PBS NewsHour Extra Student Reporting Labs
Lesson 2.1: Finding Story Ideas
Developed by Renee Hobbs
Students develop a short oral presentation to pitch a specific idea for a news story. In the process, they consider the relationship between news and lived experience and strengthen intellectual curiosity by developing ideas for news stories through identifying potential sources and gathering background information.
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
· Generate news stories based on research and personal experience
· Determine the newsworthiness of these stories
· Generate a list of sources and other information that can be used to turn these ideas into actual stories.
· Make a short persuasive oral presentation to pitch a news story idea to an editor
Make copies of the assignment worksheet and check your school’s filter to make sure you can view the videos, which are available on You Tube.
Ask: Is anything in your life newsworthy? Is there anything newsworthy in the stories you hear among your family, friends and in your community? Why or why not?
Encourage students to generate different responses to this question. Many students will not be aware that much news is generated from the ordinary and extraordinary stories of daily life.
View and discuss these videos to build students’ knowledge of how news stories get created from the events of daily life. Being a good listener and considering the five news values is the key to finding and developing local stories.
Ira Glass on Storytelling, Part 1
Ira Glass explains how TV and radio broadcasts develop from real-life anecdotes in story form and how a series of questions and answers keeps people’s attention.
Tips for Making the Local Global
Kwame Dawes shares his insight on how to tell a local story that has global significance, and how to make it resonate with a global audience.
Associated Press: How to Pitch a Story
AP editors Jon Resnick and Associated Press Editor Donna Cassata explain how to prepare your story idea and pitch it to a news editor.
Activity: Generate News Stories from Life
Pass out the worksheet and introduce the activity. Students can work on this in class or as homework. Set a firm but short deadline of perhaps one class period. This is an exercise to get students thinking, not a final project. Use the criteria on the worksheet to offer students feedback about their oral presentations.
Time for Performance
Each individual student performs a pitch. Offer “warm” and “cool” feedback. Warm feedback is positive and acknowledges strengths. Cool feedback offers comments and suggestions to help the learner reflect and improve.
Ask: What did you learn from working on this project? What did you like best about it? What did you dislike and why?
Ask: What might be the consequences of your news story actually getting into the public eye? What could be some possible positive consequences? What might be some possible negative consequences? Can a powerful and effective news story change the world? Why or why not?
Students will create a 2 minute video about the retention rates at their high school. Please see Worksheet B for a script and details.