1.en.1 Writing a newspaper article: A talk

Gonzalo Fanjul

This Monday we are attending a talk by Gonzalo Fanjul, an economist specialized in Development Policies and owner of the blog 3.500 millones de ideas irreverentes contra la pobreza.

He will talk about why the number of people in the world  suffering from lack of food is growing, while at the same time obesity and food waste is on the increase.


Listen to what he has to say and take notes during the talk in order to write a newspaper article (225 to 250 words).

Features of your Article

Headline: Font type: ARIAL; Font size: 28

Text Font type: ARIAL; Font size: 12

Text in two columns

Images: Include at least one image, don’t forget to add caption (and source if possible)

Here you are some guidelines on how to do it:

Structure of a newspaper article

Newspaper articles usually have a title (called the headline) that is set in large type. The writer of a newspaper article is often not credited; if the author is mentioned, this credit is called the author’s byline.

The beginning of each newspaper article (the first paragraph) is called the lead (one or two sentences long); the lead should summarize the main facts of the article, telling the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) and how. The first paragraph should also contain a hook, something that grabs the reader’s attention and makes the reader want to read the rest of the article.

The rest of the paragraphs form the body of the article. It can consist of several supporting paragraphs which go into more detail about the topic, often including quotes and interesting facts. The less important information should appear later in the article, since the article may be cropped (shortened) by the editor (the person who puts the newspaper together) to make the article fit on the newspaper page.

This layout is usually called the inverted pyramid layout:     

Task: Imagine you work as a reporter for an English newspaper. Your boss has sent you to cover the talk and write in the next edition of the paper. Use your notes and any extra information you can gather in the web to write a short article (between 175 and 200 words) reflecting the content and the development of the talk.

Don’t forget to follow the Inverted Pyramid layout and include all the different parts of a newspaper article.

To learn more about writing a newspaper article follow this link: Writing newspaper articles.

1.en.24 The Lights of Saint Martin and s’Almudaina outing dossier

1.en.16 Feedback on Gervasio Sánchez talk

This morning we went to la Caixa to listen to Gervasio Sánchez. I include here some parts of your compositions. So far, only 10 people have sent them to the Google doc I opened. Congratulations to all the students who finished their work and have done such a good job! We’ll comment them in class together.  From what I have read, I think you found it very interesting and learnt a lot.

“If you meet Gervasio in the street, you will never imagine he’s a war correspondent; I think he doesn’t have the look of them. His clothes are correct, he has grey hair, he doesn’t have beard… Gervasio is a nice person very concerned about injustice and the consequences of armed conflicts in poor countries.” Clara

“One hundred years ago the 90% of dead were militars, now the 90% of dead are civilian. One of five dead were children in Sarajevo.
Gervasio explained us the people who are our age have to kill other people to defend themselves.

Men can be criminals but at the same time can be heroes too. He has seen people who were murdered  because they didn’t want to kill anybody.” Paula Gomila

“He told us three stories. The first was about a boy of Sarajevo that was 13 years old. One day, he went to play football with his friends. He saw a mine and he took the mine, but it exploded and he lost one arm and parts of his face. The second story was about a girl called Sophia that lost her two legs. And the third story was about a boy that was with his friend. They found a mine, and his friend took it, but the mine slipped and the boy lost one leg” Vladis

“All of these stories are very sad and I can’t imagine how much they suffered but in one video that Gervasio showed us, these three people now, have family and the best thing: they smile.” Maria

“Three weeks ago he returned from Afghanistan. He has seen many people die in three weeks. He said that there they attack  the girls because they want to go to the school, and he said also that the things that we do here  every day in Afghanistan is a heroic act.” Silvia

“He doesn’t like answering personal questions.
Today Gervasio talked about Afghanistan, He visited Afghanistan 3 weeks ago approximately and he saw many people that died. He explained that the girls go with burka to school. “ Marga 

“Gervasio is a journalist and photographer who lives in Zaragoza with his wife and his son. He is very funny and I think very clever.  In 1995, started his photographic project Mined Lives on the impact of landmines on the population. I liked very much the conference of Gervasio Sanchez. I love one sentence that said the journalist: “life and death are found together.” Marina 

“Gervasio gave us  a talk on his work on the wars, mines, battered women… He
told us he likes to interact with others. 90% of war victims are civilians.” Sergio

“During the conference he highlighted three stories about three different persons: the first is a boy in Sarajevo, when he tried to remove a mine and it exploded and his arm was amputated  and was half blind” Ariadna

“The talk was very interesting for me, specially the photo series “Mined lives”. I liked the video of the end dedicated to people victim of mines, ten years later, and how they rebuilt their life.” Julia

1.en.11 Preparing our first outing: Gervasio Sánchez

In 2009, some students from our school who are now in 2n year Bax had the opportunity to take part in a series of meetings with journalists with first hand experience in areas of conflict all over the world. All the students felt they had learnt a lot from those meetings and that is reason why we have decided to include it again in our programe this year.

Gervasio Sánchez will be the first journalist you’ll have the opportunity to meet.  He won several awards as a journalist and as photographer. He has published books and is committed with many humnitarian projects, among them, one that tries to put an end to using land mines. Also, he has been in Afghanistan several times. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is again in the agenda, tension is building up and Gervasio was there last September.  You can have a look at the diary he wrote while he was there last September. http://blogs.heraldo.es/gervasiosanchez/

But, above all, he is deeply concern on raising awareness on the devastating effects of war. In this power point you can read the speech he gave when he was given an importan photography award a couple of years ago.

You are already familiar with the way we work in language lessons: we are connected, aren’t we? and this year the connections stretches to other areas, with Vicent you learnt about migration flows and city development. In Catalan, you are reading a book from Roald Dahl, Boy, an autobiography.  In the book you will find lots of descriptions of the characters that appear in the book as well as many anecdotes. With Magdalena, your Catalan teacher, you had to write a composition describing your mother. When we go to La Caixa ,  to listen to Gervasio Sánchez, he will give you details about  his life as a journalist and you will  also have the chance of meeting him live and observe how he talks, the way he looks and the kind of language he uses.

In Gervasio’s  talk, war conflicts will be in the background and he will mention very  often how children lived the experience of war. With your Catalan and Spanish teachers, you will be reading books set in the past, during great wars.

In Roald Dahl’s  Boy,War War I is in the background too. John BOYNE’s The boy in the striped pyjamas the  book you will read with Emili,  is set in War War II .

If you only had seen a picture of Gervasio Sánchez and read about his work, you could describe his looks and maybe guess some traits of his personality. But, after meeting him and having the opportunity to ask him questions,  you will have much more information: his voice, the way he  talks and, of course the things he will say.

You will have  to write a description of Gervasio Sánchez. You must include facts, such as age, job, looks, personality, and you must also talk about his life. Remember that when writing about someone’s life it is good to follow some kind of time line. You must also include some anecdotes and the parts of his talk that impressed you most. Imagine that you are writing a review of his speech, but you must also include some information about him.

Writing does not come out of the blue, you must think  about:

  • what kind of text  are going to write? a review, a personal impression, a summary, an interview
  • Who is your writing directed to? target audience
  • What is the structure of your piece of writing? number of paragraphs, content you want to include
  • What is the purpose ? What do you want to achieve. 

Organise your writing into paragraphs, use the spellchecker, check the power point on descriptions and the one on adjectives and comparatives to make your writing more inteeresting.

Homework: Thursday 20th October. You must write about 150 words and paste it in a Google doc I will share with you. 

If you need more information you can look in the Internet or visit   his blog or in the internet: http://photo-historia.blogspot.com/2011/04/vidas-minadas-por-gervasio-sanchez.html

Here follow some hints to help you write your composition.

Write a review of his talk. A review that could be useful for other students. Would you recommend his talk to other groups? Do you think he is an interesting person? 

  • Explain the connection with the topics you are dealing with in class
  • Why you are writing about him
  • Biographical facts
  • Looks and personality
  • What were the aspects of his talk that impressed you most.
Hints to write a good composition:
  1. Write a draft/ diagram (guión, esquema) before you start writing.
  2. you must structure your writing into clear paragraphs. Do not mix different aspects of Gervasio’s  life, personality and work in the same block of information.
  3. Visit his blog, or run a search on the Internet to find out extra details you would like to include.
  4. Do not try to include everything he said in his talk.
  5. Follow a time line when you write about his story: childhood, school, university, first job, current job, plans for the future.
  6. Leave at least one paragraph to talk about the content of his talk at La Caixa, conflicts around the world.
  7. End your composition with a personal comment on his job and on the kind of person you think he is
  8. Do not write the composition in Spanish or Catalan and then translate it into English. Write in English from the beginning. Simple sentences first, then try to link them using connectors or relative clauses.
  9. Use the spell checker to correct mistakes, not the translator.
  10. count the words. (you have the tool in your word processor)
  11. when you write, activate a bilingual dictionary such as http://www.wordreference.com/ and a monolingual dictionary such as http://dictionary.reference.com/ This way, you can look for new words or expressions and avoid repetitions. For example, do not repeat interesting many times, try to look for alternatives.