Thursday, January 22, 2015

Journalism Lesson - “Analyzing Front Page Stories”

Newspaper Front Page
Before Middle and High School journalism students write their first news, feature, sports story or editorial...
Before Middle and High School journalism students even write a lead...
Before Middle and High School journalism students compose that mind-catching headline, they need to understand what they need to know to compose an effective news story.

The 6 Primary Points of Journalism Stories form the foundation of any journalism piece and are the bait that hooks readers.  They are
Location –where the story takes place
Timeliness - the relevance of the story to its publication date
Notable People/Places – the people/place(s) that make the story newsworthy
Conflict - the issues that make the story newsworthy
Extraordinary Elements – the details that make the story Front Page worthy
Arouses Emotions - the details that hook people into reading the story

No matter how powerful, how evocative a story might be, though, readers will ignore it if the newspaper editorial staff didn't pay attention to what their readers want. The how and why newspaper editors choose the stories that they print along with the 6 Primary Points of Journalism Stories create a winning newspaper that keeps people reading and asking, "More, please".

Analyzing Front Page Stories cover
This 6-page activity for Middle and High School journalism students, Journalism - Analyzing Front Page Stories speaks to both of these concerns.An essential for beginning journalism students, it also makes an excellent reinforcement tool for advanced journalism students.

These budding journalists will use the Front Pages section found on the Newseum site to choose front pages of newspapers from around the United States to analyze.

Here are the directions for the students
Activity Directions
  1. To begin this activity, go to and then scroll down the main page to Today's Front Pages and click on VIEW ALL. You should be on
  2. Under Gallery – go to Sort by Region, and then click on USA.
  3. Choose five Front Pages from newspaper around the country.  Select newspapers from a variety of states and from places of different sizes. 
  4. Complete one numbered Analyzing Front Page Stories Outline for each Front Page headlined story.
  5. For the Notes section under each Headline, just include the Basic: Who, What, Where and When information.  Because only the Front Page for each newspaper is shown and not complete stories, these notes will be brief.
  6. NOTE- space for 5 Headlines is included. Depending on the newspaper, anywhere from 3 to 5 headlines will be present.
  7. Each of you will share your headlines with the class.
  8. Closure, analyze your findings and summarize them in the What Does This Mean? space.

Analyzing Front Page Stories student handout
This activity encourages students to explore what stories newspapers choose for the Front Page and why. Also, students will develop their analytic and critical thinking skills which are essential in both print and broadcast journalism.

Download this 6-page activity that includes detailed Teacher Notes and the necessaryhandouts for the students from

Happy Teaching,

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