Journalism: Analyzing Newspaper Leads and Articles
by Connie Casserly
This is a packet of templates for students to analyze various types of leads and articles studied in Journalism 1 (J1), the introductory course that supports the publication of a school newspaper. I also use them with the Journalism 2-4 classes to review and reinforce the standards for leads and types of journalistic writing.
It contains the syllabus I created for Journalism 1, following the Program of Studies (POS) for my district. If you would like this in a Word format, so you can adapt it to fit your school’s POS, please Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The printable handouts include
- an Analyzing Leads Sheet, and
- a separate analytical worksheet for: News, Sports, Features, Editorials, and Reviews.
After we discuss each type of news, students are to cut out a story from a variety of sources: the school’s newspaper, other schools’ newspapers, the local paper, a large newspaper like The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc., or from the teacher’s chosen source(s) for that genre. Next students must complete the corresponding Activity Sheet handout. They are to fill in the information on the Lead Sheet handout for each article, too.
The requirement for each lesson is: 5 stories cut from an accepted source-each with a completed Activity Sheet and a completed Lead Sheet handout- for each type of journalistic story. This makes the total: 25 activity sheets and 25 Lead Sheets. Although I collect and check the work after we study each type of writing, I also require students to put each packet in a bound folder-separated by writing type. They keep this for future reference after I check to insure that they have included each packet.
After they complete the handouts, each student writes a piece on any topic they choose for that genre. The only story requirements are that the piece must meet the Six Principles of Every Journalism Story (see below), and must be on a topic that would be of interest for the school newspaper.
Note: J1 students love to have their pieces printed in the school paper. This is quite a motivational factor for them to show their understanding of both the type of journalistic writing as well as their own writing prowess.
News Packet Example: students are to complete 5 Effective News Stories sheets and 5 Lead Analysis sheets, plus one original News article. They must attach each story they cut out to the corresponding Lead and Effective News Stories sheet. On top of those handouts, they are to staple their original story. They follow the same instructions for each genre we study. Their grade depends on the specific facts and details that they include on each handout.
These various activities are crucial to Journalism 1 as they prepare the students for Journalism 2, 3, 4, the class that actually creates and publishes our school newspaper.
The following principles-necessary to guarantee the newsworthiness of any article-make a terrific poster to pin up in the classroom. We refer to these points when discussing both print and broadcast stories.
Six Principles of Every Journalism Story:
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