Lesson: News 8: Anchor Task: Press Conference and News Story

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All the pieces are in place.  It's time for the big day — the Press Conference — and writing the story.


  • To practice asking interview questions with a live source.
  • To generate quotes and other information for students Anchor Task writing assignment.
  • To write a news story



  1. Notepaper and pens out for all students (or laptops if they'd prefer to take notes digitally and have the resources)
  2. Appendix 10:  “Rubric for evaluating inverted pyramid stories”
  3. A glass of water and perhaps a thank you gift are often appreciated by guest speakers.



1. Thank your press conferee for agreeing to make himself/herself available.

2. Remind students that (1) They need to take notes; (2) News stories need quotations to bring them to life, so students should try to capture complete sentences; and (3) The focus of their notes — and their story — needs to be on what is newsworthy.  Reinforce this last point by saying something to the effect of: “The fact that (name of guest speaker) is here speaking with us today is not in and of itself newsworthy.  What is it that he/she says – that is what should be the focus of your story.”

3. Invite press conferee to make an opening statement and then open the floor for questions. 

4. Students may ask their pre-written interview questions from Lesson 5, and they should also be encouraged to ask follow-up questions to clarify their understanding of the speaker’s comments and also to check on the accuracy of their notes.

5. Encourage as many students as possible to get a chance to ask a question. You might pre-arrange with students that you'll give extra credit to students who ask questions — and always in the form practiced in Lesson 5 (with background information embedded explicitly).

6. With 10 minutes left in the period, bring the conversation to a halt and, with profuse thanks, excuse your guest speaker.

7. Debrief the experience with your students.  What do they need to know before you set them free to write their stories as homework (or in class the following day)?

8. After an appropriate amount of time, evaluate student work using the Rubric for News Stories.

9. Find a mechanism for publishing the best student work.  The school newspaper or Web site might be excellent options.

10. Pause for reflection/assessment of what students learned in this unit.




The story itself, or a reflective assignment you create, would be excellent homework assignments in case you don't want to have students write these in class.

Assessment Questions:

Did it all come together?  Which pieces did student seem well-prepared to do?  Which did they not?

Do the news stories score well on the rubric?  What seem to be the weak points?

Connections to Standards:

Teacher Notes:

Time needed to teach:

2-3 Sessions


Writing Activity


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