Junior Lesson Plan #9
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Compare T.V. News Broadcasts
Grades 5 and 6
Language Arts, Current Events, Journalism, Media Studies
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
- Videotape of television news broadcast
1. Bring into class a videotape of the first ten minutes of a television news broadcasts from two or more local stations or from the CTV and CBC national broadcasts.
2. Let the students watch them in class and ask them to compare what each newscast did differently. Here are some questions to consider in the class discussion, depending on the age of your students and their level of media awareness:
3. Once students have analyzed both newscasts, ask them to act as the producer of a newscast. Get them to use their journal to note the answers to the following questions:
- Ask a couple of students to make a list of the stories that appeared in each newscast. Do you see the same stories on each list? Are there major differences?
- Look at the order in which stories were read, keeping in mind that more important stories are usually read first. What did each station feature as its top story? Was it the same?
- How long did the stories run? Ask one of your students to time the stories with a stop-watch or the classroom clock. Did some stories last for 25 seconds while others ran for three minutes?
- Ask your students to discuss why they think some stories get more air time than others.
- Look at the stories that were featured on the newscast. Is there one type of story that comes up more often than others? Crime, politics, business or human interest stories? Ask your students what they think of these choices? Are they interested in the stories? Would they rather see stories about other subjects?
- Ask your students to use their journal to keep track of the type of people who are featured in news stories. Are they mostly politicians, officials, celebrities and other well-known people? Do regular citizens make it into the news very often? If they do, how and when do they appear? What about women? People of various ethnic backgrounds? Disabled people?
Classroom discussion: have the students discuss their ideas on how they would have done the newscast.
- How would they organize the newscast?
- What would be their top story?
- What would they cut out?
- Is there a story they would add?
4. WRAP UP: At the end of your discussion, ask your students to decide which newscast best reflects what was going on in their community or the country on that day. Hold a vote!
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