Just the Facts…
In newspapers, we find reports and editorials. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between them. Reports are supposed to be unbiased (that means the writer avoids expressing an opinion on the subject matter). They should contain facts—not opinions—that allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusion about the subject.
A fact is something that can be proven to be true or false. An opinion can be supported with evidence, but it can’t be proven or disproven. Editorials are articles where the writer gets to present and support an opinion on a subject. Have a look at this quiz to test your fact vs opinion detector.
Now it’s your turn to be the reporter. I will give you the picture, headline, and some facts. You will have to combine these details to write a rough draft of a news report.
Headline: Ice storm leave hundreds without power in Barrie
|Who||Hundreds of residents and business owners.|
|What||An ice storm brought down powerlines and made travel dangerous.|
|When||January 18, 2016.|
|Where||Barrie, Ontario and surrounding area.|
|Why||Temperatures dropped below freezing during a record-breaking rainfall combined with high winds.|
|How||Hydro One crews are working to restore power but it may take several days before everyone has power restored.|
Brainstorm additional details you will include in your news report. For the purpose of this activity, we have made up the facts for you. You may have to invent some additional “facts” in order to write a complete news report. For example, you can invent details about other effects of the ice storm and invent people who can comment on the storm like a resident, business owner, or hydro worker.
In addition to the headline and picture, you will need to include the following criteria in your rough draft:
- lead that provides information about as many of the 5Ws + H as possible in a sentence or two
- write in third person (no “I” unless it’s part of a quotation)
- facts not opinions—unless you are including an opinion as part of a quotation from someone you are “interviewing”
- at least one quotation from a witness
- short paragraphs that provide additional details about the 5Ws + H: one-sentence paragraphs are acceptable in news reports
- paragraphs are organized from most important information to least important information