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freedomfone

News Summary

Local news can be especially attractive for listeners – mostly because people are interested in what happens in their neighbourhood. Proximity adds value to the news.

There are two approaches to finding local news. Either something happens in your town/area, or you find the local angle on a national or international news item. For example, a government or diplomatic controversy between your country and a neighbouring country affects the citizens in your town who have origins in the other country.

Characteristics of news

  • They are topical issues
  • They are of general interest or of interest to a considerable audience
  • They are relevant to the listeners
  • Something that happens for the first time, or something that is the biggest or fastest, may also be news
  • News may be tragic, or arouse sympathy, anger, or laughter

What is news

  • Action taken by government, the opposition, parliament, political parties, NGOs
  • Political developments or decisions
  • Social developments, conflicts
  • Conferences, gatherings or demonstrations
  • Natural disasters
  • Accidents
  • Crime
  • Sports
  • The unusual or extraordinary
  • Human interest stories
  • The weather

Where to get news

  • Ministers, officials, political leaders
  • Police
  • Hospitals
  • Press releases
  • Internet
  • Newspapers, magazines
  • Radio programmes
  • Personal contacts
  • Through personal observation

Tasks of a local news editor

  • Select the news items
  • Check the news items
    • On a local level it might be necessary to research facts that might result in news
    • Ask yourself: is the source reliable?
    • Cross-check the information: mention your sources in the text, especially when the information is not fully confirmed.
  • Deciding the order of the news: the classical order is to start with political and economic topics and proceed with cultural topics, sports news and human interest stories
  • Write the news
  • Present or record the news and make it available for callers

News content

The core of a piece of news is information that answers 7 questions:

  • Who was involved?
  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • How did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What's the source?
This information is called the "lead" and is the beginning of the news. Then further details can be added, the background of the news explained – but often there is insufficient time for details and background.

The format of a Freedom Fone news bulletin

A Freedom Fone news bulletin has an overall length of about 2 minutes and includes 4 pieces of news, each about 30 seconds long. Each bulletin starts with the sentence "The news from … (town/area) on … (day, week)".

News content example

The text below is an original text to work with - try to implement the tips and tricks throughout the Content Production chapter to improve this text, then check it against how we improved it!

News headlines

In today’s news..Teachers threaten strike…Street vendors fight back…Evangelical churches ban TB Joshua …Crocs attack 2.

Teachers unions threaten to strike if salaries are not reviewed by government this month. Reports from The Daily News say that the unions differ about strategy but agree that long standing issues regarding the welfare of teachers must be addressed urgently.

Unions are demanding $538 a month for the lowest paid teachers, with additional allowances expected for those teaching in rural schools. Government has been slow to respond in the past and many teachers believe strike action is their only option.

There was chaos in Harare’s city centre this morning when municipal police clashed with street vendors. The municipality is on a cleanup campaign to drive out vendors selling at undesignated places. Some vendors resisted by throwing stones at the police as they confiscated goods. Several people were injured in the incident.

Evangelical churches in Zimbabwe say that controversial Nigerian prophet, TB Joshua, is not welcome in the country. They say that TB Joshua’s teachings are a “deviation from the Bible and more connected to occult practices”. The spokesperson for the organizers of the National Day of Prayer, Reverend John Chimbambo, yesterday said that the committee did not normally invite foreigners to the National Day of Prayer set for May 25 this year.

Zimbabwean fisherman, Frank Trott, was killed on Thursday by a giant crocodile after attempting to rescue a friend near the Chirara fishing camp on Lake Kariba. Trott’s friend was attacked by a crocodile whilst wading in the water late in the evening. Trott, aged in his seventies, was seized by a second crocodile while responding to his friend’s cry for help. This is the second dramatic crocodile attack in a month.

News headlines improved

Harare, May 10. In today’s news..Teachers threaten strike…Street vendors fight back…Evangelical churches ban TB Joshua …Crocs attack 2.

Teachers’ unions threaten to strike if salaries are not reviewed by government this month. Reports from The Daily News say that the unions differ about strategy but agree that long standing issues regarding the welfare of teachers must be addressed urgently.


Teachers’ unions are demanding that lowest paid teachers receive a monthly salary of $538. Additional allowances are expected for those teaching in rural schools. Government has been slow to respond in the past and many teachers believe that their only option is to strike.

There was chaos in Harare’s city centre this morning when municipal police clashed with street vendors. The municipality is on a cleanup campaign to drive out vendors selling at undesignated places. When the police confiscated goods, some vendors resisted by throwing stones. Several people were injured.

TB Joshua, the controversial Nigerian prophet, is not welcome in the country say Evangelical churches in Zimbabwe. TB Joshua has been invited by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to attend the National Day of Prayer set for May 25 this year. The spokesperson for the organizers of the National Day of Prayer, Reverend John Chimbambo, says that TB Joshua’s teachings are a “deviation from the Bible and more connected to occult practices”.

Zimbabwean fisherman, Frank Trott, was killed on Thursday by a giant crocodile after attempting to rescue a friend near the Chirara fishing camp on Lake Kariba. Trott’s friend was attacked by a crocodile whilst wading in the water late in the evening. Trott, aged in his seventies, was seized by a second crocodile while responding to his friend’s cry for help. This is the second dramatic crocodile attack in a month.

This is the news, Harare May 10.

What we did

  • We put the important stuff at the end of the sentence! This is what the listeners will remember most.
  • We shortened the sentences and changed the presentation of the news to make it easier for the reader. Do remember to type out the final copy for reading!
  • We timed our reading to ensure that we did not run over allotted time.

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