The Sea of Faith Network's Resources for Schools

40. A ‘Good News’ Newspaper – Part 2

Searching for ‘Good’ news – setting up a club/school community newspaper

INTRODUCTION

Give a very brief recap of the previous session after having a vote on the best / most interesting etc. item on the bulletin board this week. Remind the children that one aspect touched on in the last session was how much bad and sensational news there seemed to be in the newspapers that we looked at. Ask the children for their views on such questions as:

  • Why do you think that people like to read that sort of thing?
  • What would happen if we concentrated on looking for all the many GOOD things happening in the world?
  • Do you think that the good things might outweigh the bad?
  • Where might such material be found?

Explain that one place we might start to look for good news stories is online. If we Google “Good news stories” a number of things come up: new stories are uploaded all the time. Remind the children about internet safety and making sure that they do not automatically believe everything they read online. Ask them why this might be important. See, e.g., www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/

Read one or two stories with the children.

For example, a story from Thailand published on 15/1/2013 www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21016612 was headlined ‘”One million children” join Buddhist meditation event’.

An article published on 10/8/2016 told of a couple who wanted to avoid buying diamonds that had been mined – amongst other things – in a less than humane way. See www.goodnewsnetwork.org/couple-cant-find-cruelty-free-diamonds-make/

Another, published on 17/9/2016 states ‘Company Creates Win-Win by Repairing Good Clothing Designed for Landfills’. See the details under www.goodnewsnetwork.org/company-saving-planet-repairing-clothing-destined-landfills/

ACTIVITIES

Ask the children to get into small groups and to come up with suggestions for what should go in their own newspaper. What sort of school news might they track down to constitute ‘good’ school news? Who might be interviewed around the school? Encourage the children to think of involving as many people as possible, and share the following checklist of ideas to help them:

  • Who might make useful contributors with short pieces for the newspaper from the wider school community? viz. head teacher, other teaching staff, school secretary, caretaker, catering and lunchtime supervisory staff, parents, governors, community police liaison etc. Remember, you’re looking for good news or suggestions for how a bad situation can be improved.
  • Issues: What might be good topics for articles you could write yourselves? (e.g. playground and dining hall behaviour, bullying, school uniform, rules and punishments, homework etc. etc.)
  • Events in and outside school with which children are involved.
  • Hobbies enjoyed in and outside school.
  • Fundraising ideas for charity, reports from school council, of sports, games, individual achievements and results of team matches, jokes page, ‘Letters’ page, puzzle and competition page.
  • Write-ups about school productions/school trips/ club activities.
  • Book, film and games recommendations/reviews.
  • A serial story – next chapter/episode in next issue.

Raise some practical issues with the group:

  • How often should the newspaper come out?
  • How many pages and what size should it be?
  • What type of format and layout is to be used for the newspaper?
  • How many copies will be needed?
  • How much should be charged per copy?
  • How will we appoint an editorial board of volunteers?

Explain that the editorial Board should include a member of staff, newshounds, proofreaders, illustrators and people who will commission articles from members of the school community. A member of staff should support the proof reading team before publication. Encourage the group to start researching and writing their own material. Here are some suggestions for short articles:

  • A project I’ve been involved in (in or outside school), e.g., a report on this philosophy and religion (Solarity) Club!
  • Something that would improve school life.
  • Design a new school uniform.
  • Looking after my pet/s.
  • Design new equipment / features for our playground or garden area.
  • A hobby I enjoy and why.
  • A holiday I enjoyed.
  • My favourite place to go.
  • A challenge I’ve taken part in.
  • A new idea for raising money for charity.
  • A strange (interesting / eventful) day out.
  • What I hope to be doing in ten years’ time.
  • What I would do if I won £100.
  • How the area where I live could be made more child-friendly.

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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