View the news with a parent

Grades 3-12

Overview:
Students view local television news programs with their parents to analyze content and discuss current issues. Ask students to write with their parents comments on their discussion to be later shared in class.

Teacher Preparation:
You may want to make a discussion or instruction hand-out sheet.

Procedure Ideas:

* Time the duration of news stories, or news segments.
* Time the length and tally the number of commercials during the program.
* Categorize stories into groups, such as sensational, human interest, humorous, etc. For what reason are the stories included in the newscast?
* Have students discuss the targeted demographics of the audience: age, sex, income, residence, occupation.
* Note technical details of the broadcast, including lighting, camera angles and the use of teleprompters.
* Observe the delivery and appearance of the anchorpersons, and discuss the importance placed on them by station owners, including salaries.
* Discuss these topics with parents, including what they would do to change the way the news is presented.

Options/Variations:
Use a video camera to create your own news program in school, using techniques observed by the students on broadcast TV; take a tour of a television station including the news set; invite a reporter to your class to discuss their perspective of the news business.

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