Constructing the News Story
Looking at the Content of the News — Elementary
The “gatekeepers” or the decision makers are the people who determine what will be included in news broadcasts or in newspapers. For television these people include the director, the producer, the reporters and the anchorperson. For the press, we include editors, publishers and reporters. They are responsible for what is included or excluded and how much space or time is allotted to each story. Our knowledge of the world is sometimes limited by what we are told by these decision makers. We must be aware that the selection of content is the subjective choice of the decision makers.
Student will read an article and summarize the contents.
Language Arts, Writing, Applications
Grade 3, Benchmark D
4. Write informational reports that include the main ideas and significant details from the text.
News story from newspaper or from the web.
Select a current events story from a publication like Weekly Reader or from the Web. The best type of story would have several parts to it — several things that might be thought of as important.
Have the students read the story and write a one-sentence summary.
Compare the summaries of the students.
Discuss why different parts of the stories were selected by different students.
Show that just as this happened in their stories, it also happens in the production of news stories on TV or in the press. Individuals make personal judgments about what is important and what should be included.
A culminating activity would be to reach a consensus on what should be included in the summary of the story.
50 points for reading the article and writing the summary
50 points for participating in the discussion and coming to group consensus on the new news story.