General Archive

Picture News Webinars – Autumn Term 2019

It may feel that summer is only just beginning, but at Picture News HQ, we’re already looking ahead to the Autumn term! 

We’re running three new exciting webinars to help you learn more about our weekly resources and how to use current affairs in school. The live web sessions will be open to everyone and every subscriber will receive a recording of the session – just in case you are unable to attend on the day!

Details and registration for each session can be found below. All of the sessions are limited to 100 places and places for the September session are already limited, so don’t hesitate to book your space!

 

Monday 2nd September 9.30 – 10.15am  – Using Picture News in your school

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EMcr4iCBQFS2V6i2C-hyzg

In this session we cover:
– Why and how to use Picture News;
– Picture News in the new Ofsted Framework;
– British Values and SMSC.

 

Wednesday 2nd October 4-4.45pm – Picture News and Early Years

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RRQtYBKnTW2R_5TsCH2HZQ

In this session we cover:

  • Why teach the news to EYFS;
  • How it links to the EYFS framework;
  • SMSC and British values.

 

Wednesday 6th November 4-4.45pm – How to embed British Values in the primary classroom

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rbRStJOvTTaOJ5PD_419Ww

In this session we cover:

  • What the DfE’s ‘Fundamental British values’ actually are;
  • Practical examples and ideas to show how schools have successfully embedded British values;
  • How to collect evidence and show impact across your school.

Meet Lisa!

I am the newest member to the Picture News Team, having been an Early Years Teacher for the last 12 years. After completing my BSc Hons degree in Primary Education 3-7 years at York St John University, I quickly discovered that Early Years was where my heart lied and found a job in a school in Garforth, Leeds teaching Reception. Being a Newly Qualified Teacher in a two-form entry school enabled me to learn so much from other experienced teachers. I really enjoyed planning for and engaging in child centred learning, seeing the children excited to explore and pursue their own interests. After having my own children, I decided to move to a school closer to home. My most recent school is an amazing school in Ripon. I began teaching Year 1 there, but soon found myself back in Reception!

Whilst teaching Reception, I was very fortunate to be asked by Picture News for my ideas on how the Early Years Picture News Resource could begin. This developed quickly and I have been writing the Early Years resource each week ever since. Teaching alongside writing the resource enabled me to teach the children in my class all about the different news stories Picture News covered. They loved it and their confidence to share their thoughts and ideas really improved. They really enjoyed linking the news stories to their own life experiences.

Now as the Early Years Picture News Resource has grown, so has my role at Picture News. I recently made the difficult decision to leave teaching. My exciting new challenge is now to go into schools and see how different teachers are using the Early Years Picture News resource, as well as leading Early Years teacher workshops, attending headteacher meetings and creating webinars to support other Early Years teachers.

Thank you, Picture News, for this great opportunity.

Does Your School Lack Emergency Planning? By John Dabell

Is your school ready for anything?

If there is one, big gaping hole in whole school training then it is emergency and contingency planning.

There is plenty of training for teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment, workload, wellbeing, etc but very little for when things go wrong.

An emergency, crisis or disaster, affecting the school community, could happen at any time, either in school, on a school visit or in the local community.

There is an awful lot that can go wrong and we need to be prepared but how many staff and children are?

This isn’t just something for senior management to know about, supposing they even do. Every member of the school community needs to be clued up and clued in.

[Tweet “How much emergency planning training have you had?”]

I don’t remember one training day in over 20 years where anyone has discussed what to do in disaster situations.

Would you know what your roles and responsibilities were and those of your colleagues?

Coordination, communication, welfare, media management, business continuity – who is doing what?

An emergency requires people to be hyper-focused and this requires hyper-planning for a spectrum of bad possibilities.

Training should be provided to ensure that everyone understands their role, they are confident to perform tasks assigned to them and have access to available resources and facilities.

Break Glass In Case Of Emergency

Schools do fire drills regularly and half the time staff know when they are going to happen. Some staff moan because their lessons get disrupted and children get excited because its time out.

They are not always treated seriously because they are expected. The failure might not be the drill but the culture and leadership around it.

[Tweet “Schools are well versed in fire drills but what about other emergency scenarios?”]

Children and staff might treat emergency drills more seriously if they widened to include other serious incidents.

What do we do if our school is caught up in a terrorist attack?

Do you have invacuation procedures in place? Some schools carry lockdown drills twice a year so why don’t all schools? Take a look at this video to see how Reinwood Junior School do it.

In emergencies people are more likely to respond reliably if they “are well trained and competent, take part in regular and realistic practice, have clearly agreed, recorded and rehearsed plans, actions and responsibilities.”

[Tweet “Schools are lacking emergency preparedness for a range of incidents.”]

School Emergency Preparedness involves contingency planning for critical incidents, risk and crisis management, health and safety, first aid and security.

Advice From Above

We do have official guidance available to us (last updated about three years ago) and this should be readily available.

There are some good links in here notably to a school emergency plan template and guidance from Nottinghamshire County Council. See also the classroom resources available from Essex County Council.

Many councils have adopted these guidelines and improved them so there is wide variation between schools.

Without training we run the huge risk of running around like headless chickens and making a situation worse. This could involve lives being lost.

[Tweet “Be honest, have you read your School Emergency Management Plan?”]

Don’t assume you know that others know what they are doing. If you don’t, chances are your colleagues won’t. Hand on heart, how many of us have read the School Emergency Management Plan? Would you know if it was comprehensive enough?

Would you know how incidents are grouped and what situations fall into what level?

Every year staff should be getting together to discuss and train for different incidents and situations that could happen. This is not only sensible but necessary. To pounce on a problem we need to know what to do and what not to do.

We just never know what will happen or how we will react. So why aren’t we taking the opportunity to simulate scenarios seriously?

What’s The Plan?

Training for a range of incidents is crucial and all staff need to know the procedures detailed in the Schools Emergency Plan.

Keeping your head in a crisis and responding effectively isn’t an instinct but comes with training. In a high-stress situation it is knowledge that comes to the rescue. If you have been trained what to do then you will know your job and be more in control.

Schools should devote regular training sessions throughout the year to bad-news scenarios so staff can act them out. This gives everyone the opportunity to intellectually and physically engage with incidents and how to handle them.

A little bit of training can go a long way because it takes people out of their comfort pits and injects challenge and confidence.

[Tweet “Emergency planning builds deliberate teamwork, collective wisdom and resilience.”]

Hypothetical situations have to have buy-in. There is nothing worse than someone mumbling “that would never happen here” but that’s dangerous talk. Anything is possible. Every school is at risk. Every school is vulnerable.

Follow The Seven Ps

Devoting time to risk and emergency planning allows a school to discover weaknesses in their responses and approaches. It helps us to consider how we can prevent, prepare, respond and recover.

[Tweet “Emergency plans need to be practiced on a regular and ongoing basis.”]

When we rehearse for emergencies we find gaps in our knowledge. Play-acting is a serious business when it involves human lives.

Thinking through practicalities helps everyone improve their problem-solving skills. When we think negatively this helps to drive positive responses so we formulate and deliver more effective responses.

If there is one area where over-preparation is a necessary then it is emergency planning. Making decisions are guided by knowledge and groupthink so we don’t get in a spin.  The Seven ‘P’s saves lives: “Proper prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance.”

Emergency procedures in schools should be a part of a school’s risk assessment. Has your school prepared you for if the unthinkable happens? My guess is that you’ll have the paperwork in place but not the contingency sim training.

Links

Cabinet Office Guidance for Preparing for Emergencies.

National Counter Terrorism Office guidance Recognising the terrorist threat

Security Service MI5 Threat Levels

Children need training too and need to be heard. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at the Save the Children Take Care programme, a resource designed to build children’s resilience to disasters.

 

What’s the point of display? By John Dabell

Why do we bother with classroom displays?

Some classrooms don’t really need their walls because they don’t actually do much. Okay, they might hold the school together and provide teachers with their own little habitat to teach in but why have walls if you don’t use them?

When you walk into some classrooms they scream at you. Apart from a few posters and a timetable, these are just spartan resting places for drawing pins to rust to death. They show little effort, are devoid of personality and are hardly inspiring.

Displays are important to any school but they are often abused or abandoned.

They are powerful points of reference in class and can make a huge difference to drab and dreary corridors.

Some teachers invest a huge amount of energy in their classroom displays but this can often be detrimental to learning. Some classrooms are drenched in displays and become so cluttered they bring about claustrophobia and get in the way. Too much display is harmful.

Getting the balance between being overwhelming and underwhelming is clearly important. Decluttering is one thing but sterilising a learning environment of displays, artwork and resources can be detrimental too. Heaven forbid that your displays include ‘data walls‘.

On Display

Dave Burgess (2012) in Teach Like A Pirate reckons that one of our secret weapons as teachers is being able to control the physical space. He suggests we use ‘interior design hooks’ to transform our classrooms to create the ultimate atmosphere for a lesson. He describes having special days where he creates a blank canvas by covering every wall in plastic sheeting and then adding decorations on top to a particular theme.

Some might argue that even when changed regularly, classroom displays have little educational value and pupils see them as just wallpaper or window dressing. I disagree that they are just mere decoration and it is nonsense they are there for the teacher to look and feel good about themselves. Displays can support the improvement of pupils’ learning, they create a mood and they can be shocking. Learning needs to shock sometimes to be memorable.

Hywel Roberts (2012) in Oops! Helping children learn accidentally says that “Display is to the teacher what the saw is to a carpenter: essential.”

There are lots of things to remember about display and he points to ten top hints. He says that display:

  1. should carry meaning to those who look at it
  2. isn’t the job of the teaching assistant
  3. is a reflection on you as a teacher
  4. needs to be managed in the same way you’d manage a flower arrangement
  5. can be personalised using photos of pupils
  6. can be used to celebrate success
  7. can be put anywhere
  8. should stimulate enquiry and be challenging
  9. should show processes as well as final and best pieces of work, but shouldn’t be dated
  10. is often ignored

Research tells us that Clever Classrooms are those where wall displays are lively without being chaotic and “As a rule of thumb 20-50% of the available wall space should be kept clear.”

It’s tempting to use every available bit of space on a wall and spread educational nuggets all over then like magic margarine. But that doesn’t work. Children need space to think and that mind space can’t breathe if the walls feel l

ike they are closing in.

A Display of Affection

Classrooms are the core learning spaces in a school and so they need to be exciting and dynamic. They also need to be ‘owned’ by the class so that children see their own work on the walls. If a classroom is largely the work of a teacher and decorated with commercial resources and ‘inspirational quotes’, it feels soulless and corporate.

Displays make an impression and so careful thought has to be given to what messages they are giving out. The main message from a pupil perspective is “Does my teacher value me and my work?”

Children like to see their own stuff and can feel proud as punch if it gets displayed. If something doesn’t make the grade then this can have a negative impact on children’s thinking and self-esteem. Always displaying the ‘best’ work is a no-no because this excludes children. Every child needs their moment of glory and a class with an inclusive and growth mindset will recognise not everyone can be the same but everyone needs to be included.

Tait Coles (2014) in Never Mind The Inspectors: Here’s Punk Learning says we should display everything and we shouldn’t be “frightened of displaying students’ work that is wrong. Students can learn so much from misconceptions and so can teachers.”

For true ownership, we need to think about who is responsible for the displays. As Jim Smith (2017) suggests in The Really Lazy Teacher’s Handbook we also need to get “students to design and put up the displays.”

Why not take this one step further as illustrated by Tim Brighouse and David Woods (2013) in The A-Z Of School Improvement and get older pupils as ‘display for learning advisers’ (DLAs) as “volunteers to do something to improve all aspects of display in the school”.

What to Include?

Displays don’t have to drive us up the wall.

Planning what to include on your wall space needs a Clever Classrooms mindset so that children aren’t distracted yet at the same time challenged and engaged. This means managing the visual environment systematically and keeping displays alive and well on a rolling basis. Some ideas include:

  • a Working Wall to support children in their current learning and enable them to become more independent
  • an Anchor Chart display to frame discussions and prompt learning conversations
  • a Feelings Board so children can populate it with their thoughts during lessons (Coles, 2014)
  • a ‘Heavy Duty Learning Wall’ where children write on a sticky note what they’ve learnt after each lesson (Coles, 2014)
  • a News Board displaying local, national and international news. Picture News is ideal!
  • a Celebration Board to display the achievements of children inside and outside of school
  • a Wonder Board that poses a question of the week or questions that children have they’d like answered
  • a Mugshot Board showing the photos of everyone in class using a Top Trumps style format
  • an Open Me Board showing pieces of work with covered-up information that can be opened
  • a Feedback Gallery to enable children to give and receive feedback on several pieces of work at the same time (Griffth and Burns, 2014)
  • an Interactive QR Board that link to video projects that students have created
  • an Inspirational Quotes board to fire motivation and fuel growth mindset
  • a Mistake of the Week board (Claxton and Carlzon, 2019) or an Alternative Conceptions of the Week board using Concept Cartoons.
  • turning windows into Word Walls using window crayons for brainstorming ideas
  • a Puzzle Board containing a variety of problems, mind-benders, conundrums, riddles, challenges and brain teasers
  • a Personal Best board showing examples of children’s best work so far

Displays need to be informative, interactive, accessible and creative so that pupils are inspired.

But being sensitive to the needs of particular pupils is crucial. Visually rich and dense displays can have a negative effect for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Displays also need to be colour-blind friendly so that children who are colour-deficient are not hindered in their learning.

Displays seem to be something of an after-thought in some schools and as for training, well it is non-existent. When did your school last use part of an Inset day to debate Clever Classrooms and the visual environment and its impact across the school? If displays are the bane of your life, then clearly there is a training need.

A Fine Mess

No one expects every teacher to be a master in the fine art of classroom feng shui but teachers should know the difference between a Pinterest classroom and a classroom with soul as an active museum of learning or think tank.

Displays don’t have to be perfect because as every teacher knows, learning is messy so displays need to reflect the business and busy-ness of learning including learning pits, learning ladders and riskometers.

Displays do have their place in schools and when managed intelligently, they make classrooms a place where pupils feel safe, welcome, and stimulated, and where highly focused learning takes place. Try Picture News for when of your displays and get children immersed in the world around them.

 

Meet Emma!

I have been with Picture News since November 2017 and my role has grown rapidly as the business expands. With a background in PA/Administration, PR and most recently motherhood, I bring a wide variety of skills to this amazing company.

My role within the company is Finance and Logistics, so my day to day work life can include anything from invoicing and answering your calls to proof reading and packing your weekly resources ready to post out. I will most probably be one of your first points of contact should you have any queries or require any assistance and I am always here and happy to help!

I have two primary age children and feel passionately about educating them on world issues and current affairs, to ensure that they understand how important it is for them to make a positive impact in life, whilst being caring and responsible. I rate the Picture News resource so highly that I personally gift it to my children’s primary school, to ensure that they don’t miss out.

When I’m not at work I love spending time with my family including my two gorgeous children, Henry 8 and Ava 6 and my mini sausage dog Margot (who is fast becoming the Picture News office security guard, sorry I mean office pet!). I love to go off on a travel adventure but equally enjoy chilling out at home watching a movie or listening to music. I’m quite creative and have recently learnt to sew, so am currently designing and making soft furnishings like a mad woman. My favourite foods are cheese and fresh bread and I have been known to be partial to the odd tipple of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

To sum up, I love my job and I’m super excited to see how Picture News evolves and where it will take me in the future!

 

Meet Ruth!

This week, we’d like to introduce our brilliant Finance and Marketing Officer Ruth!

“My role consists of writing the mini newspaper, helping to proof read, print and pack Picture News, dealing with enquiries and general office work. I enjoy working in the office as we have a great team and there are always interesting conversations about current affairs! I also enjoy going to showcase our product at head teacher meetings around the country and discussing the resource with the teachers who use it.

I believe it is very important to challenge yourself and try new things so my position at Picture News is perfect for me as my role is constantly evolving and taking me into new and exciting territory.

At University, I gained a BSc in Applied Biological Sciences leading to a career involving working in quality control, Forensics and in an NHS laboratory. I have coaching qualifications and have always been interested in helping people to develop and improve themselves and achieve their personal goals.

Becoming a mother and having a very curious and inquisitive three-year-old has led me to look at the world differently. Thinking about how events affect my child and others is why I think Picture News is such an amazing company to work for. We are so passionate about helping children to understand the world around them, process and communicate their responses, thoughts and opinions about the things that are happening around them.”

 

Taken On Trust by John Dabell

Some teachers actively encourage the children in their class to be independent learners and that’s a good thing. The 21st needs them.

You gotta have sole

In a Self-Organised Learning Environment (SOLE) pupils are given the freedom to learn by asking ‘big questions’ where they work collaboratively to find the answers.

This is called ‘minimally invasive education’ as children are basically left to learn for themselves, a concept made famous by Dr. Sugata Mitra and his ‘hole in the wall’ experiment.

In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues carved a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC and left it there. A hidden camera filmed children from the slum playing with the computer and it recorded them learning how to use it. Mitra went on to win the $1 million TED prize for his research.

SOLE does have a lot of supporters and is widely used.  If you are interested in finding out more about SOLE then take a look at this support pack and the University of Newcastle’s SOLE Central.

Careful how you tread

Promoting independence, research and self-learning is an important skill but then this needs to be combined with critical thinking, information literacy, media literacy and technology literacy.

One of the biggest myths in education is that children are ‘digital natives’. They aren’t. Like many adults, children can be easily hoodwinked because they aren’t information-skilled.

Unsupervised learning and computers doesn’t seem to be a very clever mix unless you have powerful protections in place. Thankfully most schools do but that won’t stop children stumbling across information when engaged in ‘research’.

Giving Wiki A Wide Berth

I have often seen children use the internet for research and they more often than not end up on a Wikipedia page. They frequently copy and paste from Wiki and treat everything within it as sacrosanct.

Wikipedia is a wealthy source of freely available ‘knowledge’ and ranks as one of the world’s most visited websites. It’s almost become the de facto source for knowledge but can it be trusted? Do we need to tell children to ‘hold your horses’?

Students use Wikipedia to support their research just as many teachers do but Wiki can’t be trusted because it doesn’t require an article writer or editor to have any credentialed knowledge.

The Wikipedia model is based on an open crowd-sourced structure which allows anyone to contribute. This means it is wide-open to creating bogus facts and fake news that can quite easily dupe a reader.

Wiki is full of holes and leaks and children need to know this. One way to illustrate its unreliability is to share with your class the story of Henryk Batuta.

 

Who is Henrky Batuta?

That’s a good question. If you looked on Wikipedia a few years ago then you’d get plenty of information about him.

You find out that he was born in Odessa in 1898 and participated in the Russian Civil War. He was also an ally of Ernest Hemingway during the Civil War in Spain. The page devoted to him said there was a street in Warsaw named Henryk Batuta Street. The article relating to him was also richly referenced and linked to 17 other articles.

Guess what?

Henryk Batuta never existed. The Wiki entry about him was all a hoax and the authors deliberately set out to show, in part, that web users mustn’t swallow information whole. The information relating to Henryk Batuta stayed on Wiki for 15 months without challenge.

Now imagine that children were researching him as a ‘real’ person. Their research would have be worthless. Unfortunately, some websites can make the outside world think they are authoritative and factual but they can also smell and taste a bit funny.

Wikipedia might be the “people’s encyclopedia” but it is wide open to abuse and fake ‘facts’. I’d agree with Steve Cuozzo when he says, “Believe nothing it says about anything.”

You can be 100% sure that Wiki will contain many other hoaxes and pieces of information that are monumentally dodgy. You certainly wouldn’t go there for medical information! This is a site that is “inherently unreliable”.

Our pupils need to see Wiki for what it is – the ‘Wild West’ of information. As David Barnett wrote for the Independent in 2018, “Wikipedia shouldn’t be anyone’s final stop when it comes to seeking knowledge.”

Don’t go there?

If Wikipedia is full of fake news, wide open to vandalism and the last place to find reliable information, should we tell children to avoid it like the plague?

No.

Children should go there but be discerning, critical and forensic. This means we need to teach them what open source websites are and why they need to question everything they read rather than accept things at face value.

Some of the information will be credible and by checking the citations and references and digging deeper children can see how the information has been mined. Some of that information will be spurious and full of fool’s gold.

It might be an idea to take them to Wikipedia itself – there’s a page on there called ‘Wikipedia is not a reliable source’.

Banning the use of Wikipedia just wouldn’t make sense. We can make intelligent use of it and support children to verify sources and understand the reliability of web materials. They can see first-hand just how easy it is to present information and misrepresent it too. Not all of it is junk but some of it is.

Do go there

Looking at Wiki with critical eyes gets children to ask questions around the biases of people writing entries, what they are leaving out and which communities are not included in a conversation.

Get your students to invent their own Wiki entry for something or someone that didn’t exist and let them test it on someone else. Mix some facts with fiction and see if others can spot which is which.

Wiki can teach children about gullibility and how easy it is to fall for pictures and information hook, line and sinker.

A healthy level of distrust makes children critical learners.  At least if they are asked to research a historical figure or event, they can question whether a particular person or incident actually existed or happened. If they did, how much can they really trust?

 

 

Meet Rob!

Next up in our meet the team segment is Picture News co-founder Rob Harrison.

Rob was raised on a farm in North Yorkshire, where he’s now living with his wife and three children. He is still a part-time farmer with around 100 sheep of his own – a very contrasting job to his role at Picture News! In his spare time, Rob is a keen runner, having completed several marathons, he also enjoys playing (and watching!) football whenever he can.

Rob is vital to the smooth running of Picture News, working relentlessly behind the scenes overseeing packing, finance, marketing and logistics.  It’s thanks to Rob, that everyone receives their poster on time each week via email and post!

Prior to Picture News’ launch, Rob completed a Wildlife Biology degree at Newcastle University. After graduating, he then worked as a farm labourer moving into farm sales where he spent 7 years in the agricultural sector, gaining experience in accounts, sales strategy and marketing. Rob is very passionate about the difference Picture News can make in schools, particularly coming from a small rural school himself, as he understands the importance and significance of challenging misconceptions, opening discussions and bringing world issues and events into the classroom and the powerful impact that this can have.

Meet the team…

Over the next few weeks we’ll introduce a new member of our Picture News team. First up…our Education Consultant Jo!

I am so excited to be working for Picture News. I have been a teacher for 14 years and loved every second of it.

It became apparent to me very early in my career that the real buzz and excitement I got was from supporting children who struggled socially, emotionally or behaviourally; working closely with them to transform behaviours and develop happy children, who learned to control negative feelings whilst accepting it was okay to feel this way. I was lucky to work for a fabulous headteacher in Scarborough who gave me the opportunity to be part of a study which looked at using social and emotional aspects of learning to drive the academic curriculum rather than children sitting at desks practising tests. The year 6 class I was working with at the time were given opportunities where they had to work as a team developing respect and communication skills, they had to overcome emotions such as excitement, fear, anger and they developed confidence, resilience and independence. We then applied these skills to their academic work. The children flourished both emotionally and academically.

When I had my first child, I sadly left my school in Scarborough as the commute was too much but have since worked in two fabulous schools, where I have continued to value the social and emotional areas through integrating SMSC throughout the curriculum and my teaching.

I have always loved Picture News, because of the opportunities it gives the children to develop everything that I have valued as a teacher. It inspires them, motivates them and allows them to feel passionate about something that is real. It opens their eyes to the world around them and gives them so many opportunities to learn to respect, value diversity and understand they each have a voice and it matters.

It was a difficult decision for me to leave a job that has not really been a job; it has been my life. In the end, I decided I wanted to be part of something that supported wonderful teachers, who also value these things, by working with the Picture News team.

Every day at Picture News is different. I write resources, take part in webinars, attend Headteacher meetings, run workshops at staff meetings, run children’s workshops and attend teacher conferences. I also get to think about other resources and ways to help teachers with delivering SMSC and BV – something I didn’t always have time for when teaching myself!

I feel very lucky to have this opportunity. I will give it everything I have got as I did to my teaching. Thank you Picture News!

What will news look like in the future? By John Dabell

They say that it’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future!

That’s certainly true when it comes to the news. Things change so fast and life is always throwing us curveballs which means events can often shock, surprise and bewilder. Breaking news can hurt.

Raw news is in a constant state of flux and that’s what makes it so exhilarating. We don’t know what will happen next but when it does, it’s the reporting of it that really matters.

Information inequality means that lots of newsworthy events just don’t get reported or go underreported. Some news is noisy, some of it is buried. News reporting is an art and a science.

In 2015 the BBC presented the first Future of News project and said

“The job of the news is to keep everyone informed – to enable us to be better citizens, equipped with what we need to know. In the exciting, uneven and noisy internet age, the need for news – accurate and fair, insightful and independent – is greater than ever.”

Their full report can be read here.

Trying to spot trends that are likely to impact on the news might be like predicting the weather but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Everyone has an opinion and leading BBC staff and celebrity experts say what they think in this video.

Extra, extra, read all about it!

News has always been a very selective experience. What might be news to you isn’t necessarily news to me.

We choose news as consumers and news consumes us. We let a lot of news wash over us and yet we also wash ourselves in news on a daily basis.

The news manipulates us even if we think it doesn’t and it shapes our world views. It misleads us, misinforms us, polarises us and disengages us.

We are fed it, we eat it and some of it makes us sick. Then there is news that we can’t get enough of, it entertains us and we enjoy binging on it. News is really rather personal but maybe that’s the future of our news.

Editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, John  Micklethwait says news is  “re-emerging as something more digital, more personalized, more automated, more paid for—and (eventually) less fake.”

There is so much news happening at any one time, it’s impossible to get access to it in one place.

Perhaps the next step in the evolution of the news is news tailored to us specially compiled to suit our individual interest and tastes.

Companies love collecting data on us. Supermarkets do it all the time and make purchasing suggestions and recommendations to us based on our shopping habits and the information we give them.

The news is no different. Websites can collect and read our news preferences and build a profile of what sort of person we are.

Personalised news is the future so let’s imagine what this looks like.

Data about our education, occupations, hobbies and socio-economic level could easily be analysed by computers. These can then scan and thumb through the world’s newspapers, websites, television programmes and radio broadcasts on our behalf.

Whenever these ‘News Computers’ come across anything that dovetails with our character profile they then extract it, compile it into a news bundle to make personalised newspapers, online or paper.

Every page of this newspaper would be guaranteed to interest us because we’ve disclosed what we like. If we are hungry for a particular type of news and gossip then they will find it and deliver it.

Such a newspaper might easily be made up of: the front page of The Wall Street Journal , letters to The Times, the culture pages of Le Monde, the sports page from The Sun and the fashion tips from Elle with a selection of local news from the Whitby Gazette, the Liverpool Echo and WalesOnline.

Does this sound scary or exciting? Is this the future?

The thing is, it already exists!

You can download news aggregation apps and services such as Flipboard, News360, Feedly, Google News, Apple News,  NewsNow and many more that pick out the news we are interested in or they compile news feeds from a variety of sources for users to customize and share with others.

Content Overload

News aggregation apps have been around for a relatively short time and they are gaining a lot of traction. They are popular because they are fully-automated and display breaking headlines linking to news websites all around the world on a continuous basis.

But even though news can be aggregated and personalised for us does this make us any better informed?

We can only ever receive a limited amount of information. There is simply no way of collecting every bit of news. So even though we can get news from a number of different channels this eventually just drowns us in information and we could just switch off.

If we limited the news to just one bulletin a day would that produce better and more thoughtful  journalism?

Selecting and presenting information, curating the news and aggregating content has always been part of the role of journalism.

At the end of the day, we might think we select the news but it’s the news that selects us.