For all kind of reports, the same rules apply as for news: journalists have to stay objective. Their language must be precise and easy to understand. The words they choose have to be neutral, not loaded or emotional. The aim of a report is to inform the listeners objectively, to tell both sides of a story. This way, the listeners can form their own opinion based on the arguments and views presented.
In a report, the journalist tells the listeners about an event or issue and the various views and positions the key players have on it. Usually reports, like news, start with the most important core and proceed to other main facts, details, then background information. While reports usually focus on current affairs, in an explanatory report the listeners may get information about an issue that is not new (e.g. an epidemic that has already lasted for weeks). Despite this, the topic and the information should be relevant and beneficial for listeners, otherwise they won’t listen. This kind of report is more of a service for the listeners than a news story on current affairs.
The example below is the original text for a health information service around cholera. See what changes you would make, and then refer to the next example showing the changes we made.
Cholera is a very infectious disease which causes severe diarrhoea. Cholera is spread by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with Cholera germs. Once someone is infected, the symptoms usually develop within hours or days. The symptoms include extremely watery diarrhoea that is whitish in colour, like the colour of water from cooking rice. Cholera diarrhoea is painless, there are no cramps or other pains like other cases of diarrhoea. There is no fever associated with Cholera and vomiting is common. Cholera does not cause blood in the faeces. 80 % of infected people get either mild, normal diarrhoea, or do not show symptoms. The severe dehydration associated with Cholera can cause death. The best form of Cholera prevention is to establish good sanitation and waste treatment systems. In the absence of adequate sewage treatment, follow these simple rules: if you can’t boil, cook or peel it – forget it. Here are some other tips: Always try to defecate in a sanitary place, and far away from water people will use for drinking, bathing. washing or watering their crops. You save water to wash your hands and wash your hands after going to the toilet. Also wash your hands before cooking or preparing food. Don’t eat food that you can’t trust. Fruits that can be peeled, such as bananas and oranges are fine, but remember to wash your hands with soap before peeling them. Try to drink save water only. Ideally it will have been boiled for three minutes. If this is too difficult even filtering the water through a cloth greatly reduces the chance of Cholera. The ideal cloth is a fine woven cloth. But a cotton sheet or t-shirt folded over 8-10 times might be the best you can do. Most people who are infected with Cholera have no symptoms but are still excreting their germs in their normal stool. So always be careful.
Cholera information improved
What is Cholera?
Cholera is a very infectious disease that is spread when the stool of infected people contaminates food and water. This can happen if people relieve themselves near food and water sources. Another common cause of infection is handling food after handling food after without washing your hands. Cholera causes severe diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is uncontrollable watery shitting that can lead to death.
Signs of Cholera
Once someone is infected, the signs usually develop within hours or days. The signs include vomiting and extremely watery diarrhoea that is whitish in colour, like the colour of water from cooking rice. Cholera diarrhoea is painless. There are no cramps or other pains like other cases of diarrhoea. There is no fever associated with Cholera. Cholera does not cause blood in the stool. 80% of infected people get either mild, normal diarrhoea, or do not show signs. Dehydration, which is the excessive loss of water from your body, can cause death.
How to prevent infection
- Always wash your hands before cooking, preparing or eating food.
- Don’t eat food or drink water, if you can’t boil, cook or peel it. Examples of safe food are fruits that can be peeled, such as bananas and oranges.
- Safe drinking water should be boiled for three minutes.
- You can also filter the water through a cloth to reduce the chance of Cholera. Ideally use a fine woven cloth. If you don’t have one, use a cotton sheet or t-shirt folded 8-10 times.
- Always try to relieve yourself in a clean place well away from water sources used for drinking, bathing, washing or watering crops.
- Make sure to save clean water to wash your hands after using the toilet.
Most people who are infected with Cholera show no symptoms but can still spread germs in their stool. Cholera can kill – so always be careful.
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