Objective: Creating a critical awareness of various aspects of television news.
Age Level:
13 years and above.
Duration: Three hours.
Material Required: Clippings of news broadcasts from three to five different channels during a particular period of time.

Activity One - One and a half hour

Watch the clippings and discuss the following questions:

  1. What are some of the similarities and differences that you notice among the different television presentations of news?
  2. How do you think the news programmes select the stories to be aired? What are the kinds of stories that find space? What kinds of stories may not get a place?
  3. What stories make the lead news?
  4. What is the function of music (the signature tune) in a news programme?
  5. What function does film footage play in the news coverage? How does it influence the impact of the story?
  6. In what ways can the newsreader/spokesperson influence the tone and impact of the story?
  7. Who are the 'experts' whose views are aired and how do you think they are chosen?
  8. What are the kinds of feelings aroused in you as the viewer while watching different items of news? Is your thinking affected? How? Do you get swayed emotionally? If so what do you think makes you feel that way?

Activity Two - Two hours

These activities could be done in groups and the findings discussed later in the large group.

  • Identify and discuss the various sources from which you may get the same news (from different perspectives).
  • If you were a news editor what criteria would you have to select an 'expert' for a particular news story?
  • What differences do you find between the newspaper and the television news? Work in terms of selection and prioritization of news and the response of the reader/viewer.
  • Let each group choose a particular channel on television. Attempt to explore further and justify your presentation of the news.