Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
What is Newsworthy?

Many important things aren't in the news. On the other hand, many not so important things are in the news.
Many of the stories below were true and important, but not well known. Why didn't we know them from the news?

Some reasons for 'newsworthiness':

Rare/ Unusual
Bad Acts of Enemy Nations
Bad Acts of Friendly Nations

Research Project:
Compare and Contrast
Find two stories; one that is important but not so famous, and another that is popular, but not so important.

Use the internet to research the stories.
Take notes with a pen and paper.
Later, in the classroom, each student will write an article about the stories they chose.

 Some 'Independant Media' links:

'Democracy Now!'


Amnesty International

Tokyo Progressive

 Some news links:

 BBC news (in easy English)

 NHK (English)
 BBC (normal)

 CNN (Asia)
 Literacy Net (old, for learning English)

 News now (South East Asia)
The Key Newspaper for New Readers - from Wisconsin

 Google (Look for yourself!)

  The stories from the activity:

1) In November of 2005, a Vietnamese woman was forced to return to Vietnam even though her husband (a refugee from Vietnam) and baby stayed in Japan.

2) The CIA sometimes kidnaps and tortures people in a foreign country. At least once they got the wrong person and kept him for 5 months. He had a common name.

3) Before the invasion, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. (Not true)

4) 2.5 million people died from aids in 2005 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

5) Prime minister Koizumi went to see the Kabuki theater in Dec.2005.

6) Most people in Iraq want the U.S. to leave.

7) Iraq helped the people who did the 9/11 attacks. (Not true)

8) University students around the world are protesting Coca-Cola for killing union leaders in Columbia.

9) In 2003, twin baby pandas are born at Shirahama Adventure World.

10) A Japanese man won the hot-dog eating contest in New York.

11) In 2005, the president of Zimbabwe destroyed the ghettoes and made close to one million people into homeless refugees.

12) In Japan, some people were locked up for 2 1/2 months for putting anti-war leaflets into the mailboxes of some members of the Self-Defense Force.

13) Japanese men are the largest percentage of sex tourists in Asia.

14) In 2004, the Israeli government killed 700 people including 150 children.

15) 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day.

16) Diamonds are mined in African countries like Sierra Leone. When there is a civil war, armies trade diamonds for weapons. People are dying for our diamonds.

17) A crazy man killed 2 sisters in Namba, Osaka.

  Difficult Vocabulary:
anti-war leaflets    ”½νƒŠ[ƒtƒŒƒbƒg
Cambodia    ƒJƒ“ƒ{ƒWƒA
civil war    “ΰν
communist    ‹€ŽYŽε‹`
East-Timor    “ŒƒeƒBƒ‚[ƒ‹
ghetto    ƒQƒbƒg[AƒXƒ‰ƒ€ŠX
invasion     N—ͺ
kidnap    —U‰ϋ
massacre    ‘ε‹sŽE
percentage    Š„‡
protest    R‹c
union    ‘g‡
uniqueness    “ΑŽκ«
refugee    ”π“ο–―
sex tourism    ƒZƒbƒNƒXŠΟŒυ
Sub-Saharan Africa    ƒTƒnƒ‰»”™ˆΘ“μ‚ΜƒAƒtƒŠƒJ
torture     ‰–β
weapons of mass destruction    ‘ε—Κ”j‰σ•ΊŠν

   Example Essay:


1) Introduction
2) Story 1(Not important)
3) Explanation of story 1.
4) Why it is in the news.
5) Story 2 (Important)
6) Explanation of story 2
7) Why it is not in the news.
8) Conclusion

Find the steps in the essay below:

  I researched two stories on the Internet. One was famous but the other was not so famous but important. The famous story was about a dress worn in a commercial by Fujiwara Norika, a famous television personality. The dress showed her belly button. The story was famous because she is very famous in Japan. The commercial will probably be famous too. The not famous story was about a bad banker in Africa. He stole millions of dollars from the government. Because of that, the country will not have enough money for education. The story is not so famous in Japan because Africa is far away. Also there are many stories like that in Africa so itfs not rare. I think stories about problems around the world are more important that stories about dresses worn by TV personalities. We need better news. (139 words)