Notice how the color pages in USA TODAY stand out. Then, analyze the black and white pages inside the paper. With a partner, list five ways that a graphic or layout artist can make a black and white page look more interesting.
When journalists include what another person has said in an article, they write the statement in quotation marks. For example: The singer said, “This is the best album I have ever made.” Using today’s paper, find examples of five quotes from five different people. Decide why each was used in the story.
News is always being updated, and stories are always breaking, so it takes many journalists to put a newspaper together. Choose one page of the paper, and count how many journalists contributed to the stories on the page. Then, pick one article, and count the number of people the reporter had to contact before writing it. What skills and other qualities must a journalist possess?.
An issue is a problem or question that people are talking about. Identify five current issues in today’s paper. Then, create a question about each, and ask three adults for their answers and opinions. Finally, explain your opinion on each issue.
Headlines should be interesting enough to pique a reader’s curiosity. Identify five attention-grabbing headlines in today’s paper. Cut the headlines out and paste them on a sheet of paper. In writing, explain what makes each headline compelling.
Flip through today’s paper and find a story that describes: 1.) a discovery 2.) an unusual event 3.) a struggle or conflict 4.) an important person’s actions 5.) something that just happened. What other kinds of stories did you see in today’s paper? Which interested you the most?
Help your students design a newspaper scavenger hunt. Have pairs of students develop 10 clues about articles, headlines, photos, maps, graphs, etc. in today’s paper. Then, have students switch clues and identify the other pair’s 10 items. Check to see if their answers are correct.
Look through USA TODAY and locate the following parts of the newspaper: the index; a headline; a byline; a dateline; a straight or “hard” news article; a feature or “soft” story; an advertisement; a classified ad. Cut them out, paste them onto a sheet of paper and label each.
One of the skills that journalists rely on everyday is news judgment — the ability to recognize why one story is more newsworthy than another. Excluding the front page of today’s paper, identify the story that you think has the most news value. Explain your choice in writing.
Look at the advertisements in USA TODAY. What is the purpose of advertising? How is information in an ad different from that in a news story? What techniques do the advertisers in today’s paper use to sell their products? List them on paper.
Newspapers are full of positive and negative news reports. Label two sheets of paper P and N. Cut out photos, captions and pictures that are positive and paste them on the sheet labeled P. Do the same for negative news items. After, discuss which type of news is more prevalent in today’s paper and why that is.
Find one photograph that shows a positive event and its impact on a person (or people) and another that depicts a negative event and its impact on a person, etc. With a partner, compare and contrast the feelings that the photos convey. Repeat the exercise with other photos.
Did you know that newspapers are full of facts and opinions, sometimes in the same article? A fact is the truth — something that is actually so; an opinion is a belief. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns, and label one “fact” and the other “opinion.” Find 10 examples of each in today’s paper.
Newspapers contain articles that consist of hard news stories and features. A feature is a story that appeals to an audience because of the human interest of its content, rather than the timeliness or importance of it. Find five features in today’s newspaper. Choose one to read with a partner.
Cut out five black and white and five color photos from today’s paper. Compare and contrast the photos, and describe the emotions that you feel when viewing each. Which type of photo illicits a more emotional response? Why might that be?
Newsline is a summary of the top or most interesting stories in the News, Money, Sports and Life sections of the day’s paper. Peruse each section, and pick out the story that you think is most important and/or most interesting. Summarize each story in two sentences.
Most people don’t read a newspaper from cover to cover; they look for information that interests them. Learn to navigate the newspaper by finding the following: today’s weather forecast, the name of a winning sports team, the topic of the lead story, the name of a politician and the name of an entertainer.
Why are interviews such an important part of journalism? Locate an article in today’s paper that contains an interview, and read it aloud. Discuss the types of interview questions that reporters ask their subjects. Next, interview a partner, and then have your partner interview you. Record both questions and answers.
Study an advertisement in today’s paper for several minutes. Then, answer these questions in writing: 1.) What is the purpose of the ad? 2.) Who do you think placed it? 3.) Who is the audience? 4.) Do you think the ad will convince people to do what it says or buy the product it shows? Why or why not?
A reporter often interviews people in the news. Compose 10 questions that you would like to ask a well-known figure, friend or acquaintance. Then, role-play the interviewee while a partner asks the questions. Switch roles. Finally, try to locate and read an interview in today’s paper.
A sidebar is a short news piece that presents additional information about a major story. (It is usually located to the side of the main story.) See how many sidebars you can find in today’s paper. Then, choose a story without a sidebar, and compile the information that a sidebar for that article might contain.
Cutlines are sentences or phrases that describe what is happening in newspaper photos. Choose five pictures in today’s paper. Cut them out and paste them onto separate sheets of paper. Then, write an original cutline for each photo.
Select photographs in today’s paper that depict the following emotions: happiness, sadness, excitement, fear, confusion, disappointment. In writing, explain how each photo illustrates that particular emotion.
On a sheet of paper, list the following words: who, what, when, where, why and how. Then, choose an article and read the first two paragraphs. Identify and record each piece of information (e.g., who= George Bush, when=last Tuesday, etc.). Do this for several different stories.
Read some of the letters to the editor found on today’s editorial page. Which letter do you find most interesting? Why? Why do people write letters to editors of newspapers and magazines? Try writing your own letter to the editor about an article in today’s paper.