Theme I, M & A
How good a news reporter would you be?
This is a roleplay activity
• How can the same events be
interpreted differently by different people.
• The promotion of a broader
vision of the world.
• To experience reporting an
• To develop an understanding
about how reporting becomes biased.
• To be more aware of how our
own perceptions may be distorted.
Time: 90 minutes
Group size: 10
• Flip chart and pen.
• Tape for taping up flip charts.
1. Divide the group into two.
2. Ask one group to work together to develop
a short 5-minute roleplay based on an incident or event.
This can be a real event or one made up involving conflict
between two groups with different cultures or lifestyles.
3. When they are ready, ask the first group
to perform the sketch to the second who play the roles of
TV reporters who are covering the event.
4. As soon as the sketch is over ask the
reporters to leave the room. Give them five minutes to think
about what they have seen and to mentally prepare their
report as if for the evening news bulletin. They are not
allowed to write notes or to communicate with each other.
5. Then invite the reporters back into the
room one at a time. Give each 3 minutes to make their 'report'.
6. Record each report on a separate piece
of flip chart.
7. Once they have told their story, tell
the reporters they may stay and listen to the other 'reports',
but must make no comments.
8. At the end, when all reporters have told
their story, tape the flip charts up round the room.
9. Ask the participants to compare the reports
and talk about what they have learned.
Debriefing and evaluation
Start by asking the reporters:
• What did you find easiest to
remember and report?
• What was hardest?
• What did you do if you couldn't
remember something exactly?
Then ask the actors:
• Were there any significant
omissions in the reports?
• Did the reporters give an accurate
report of the event?
Then open up the discussion to everybody:
• What do you expect in the news?
Just a report of events or also comments and opinion?
• Do reporters generally make
it clear what is fact and what is comment?
• How reliable do you think the
news we get on the television is?
Tips for the facilitator
Be prepared to offer information and examples
of news, stories which have been shown to be biased.
Optional: Keep the activity alive by using
a large frame to represent the TV and something to represent
a microphone for the reporters.
The reporters represent journalists from
different newspapers e.g. a right wing paper, a left wing
paper, a tabloid, a foreign correspondent from another country
etc. who report the story accordingly. During discussion
talk about how the reports differed and whether the different
'view points' influenced the report.
Ask the question:
• What influence do the owners,
advertisers, links with political parties etc. have on what
is broadcast and on our understanding of the news?
Suggestions for follow up
Before the next session look at your own
local paper or watch the news on TV and discuss how accurate
the reporting is and which events were covered and which
left out? If you think there is some misreporting write
a letter to the editor to put your point of view.
If people want to explore this issue of
bias in the media further, do the activity 'Media
biases'. But also be aware that it is not just the information
in the press and on TV that contains bias, the history we
were taught in school was also biased, nationalistic and
ethnocentric. Why not take look at this in 'The
It can seem that we are facing an information-overload
on the Internet and judging what is fact and what is comment
is just as hard as with the other media. If you are interested
in raising awareness about the implications of the Internet
and access to information world-wide, then you may like
to do the activity, 'The
impact of the Internet' in Compass.