This module covers Section 3 of the toolkit. Section 3 includes the following sections:

Part 1: Story Assessment

Part 2: Write a story, step by step

Part 3: Review

Training outcomes

By the end of Module 3, trainees will have written or scripted a human rights story for the media of their choice. They will be able to:

Critically assess human rights coverage in the media

  • Write / script a story, using a step by step approach
  • Assess the quality of their work

Process guidelines

To complete this module, small groups of trainees will pick a story idea, evaluate it for newsworthiness, and follow it. This is a real-life exercise - the story to be investigated will involve a real local issue. Trainers will therefore have to play the role of news-editors and manage this practical exercise extremely carefully to ensure that respect for the values and ethics of good journalism are observed, and to keep the needs of the training module in mind. Where trainees' choice of topic is too difficult, or too sensitive for a practical exercise, trainers will have to step in and guide them to an alternative (no matter how newsworthy the original choice!).

For most of the time, trainers will be available to give advice and guide trainees as they follow their stories. The technical support trainer will provide support when trainees need to use cameras, recorders, editing and playback systems, etc.


Set aside at least four days to cover this module.

The proposed times for sessions and activities are a guide, and trainers will arrange time according to their needs, and depending on the length of the course.

There are only two formal sessions in this module, each lasting about 3 hours (total: 6 hours). For the balance of the time, at least 18 hours (excluding breaks), trainees will be researching, writing, editing and producing their stories.


Session 1

Story assessment; selection of story to follow (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • To introduce Module 3 and ensure the practical session is properly understood.
  • Assess a human rights story
  • To review the following steps of good human rights journalism:
    • Choose, decide on, pitch a human rights story idea
    • Develop a plan to research and follow the story
    • Conduct background research
    • Decide who to interview, assess interviewees, develop interview guides
    • Conduct interviews, assess results
    • Structure and write / script the story
    • Check facts
    • Rewrite and revise
    • Submit
    • Consider follow-up
  • Practice pitching a story


Lead journalism trainer, supported by human rights trainer and technical trainers.

Key materials

Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; Internet-enabled computer and projector; variety of digital recording and other media production equipment as needed; mobile phones.

Summary Duration Activity

Introduce the module

15 min

Key points — this is a real life exercise. Trainees should be able to take away with them a story that is ready for broadcast/publication. Stress the seriousness of this — values of journalism, ethics, the need to respect interviewees. Also explain logistics (any transport, equipment use, etc.)

Activity — Story assessment

45 min

Story assessment. Trainers can either use the example in the Toolkit, Section 3 Part 1, Story Assessment, or choose one or two local examples and use the questions in the toolkit as a guide. Trainees should work in groups, assessing for about 25 minutes, then sharing and discussing answers for 20 minutes.

Step-by-step guide to writing a story

45 min

Lead journalism trainer works though step-by-step guide to writing a human rights story with the trainees, using the toolkit.

About 30 minutes of presentation,15 minutes questions.

Activity — Select and decide on a story to follow

40 min

In small groups, trainees find and decide on a local human rights issue for a story. This involves:

  • Thinking of one or more ideas
  • Checking the idea/s for news value
  • Conscience checking
  • Making a decision.

Note: the guide to these steps is in the Toolkit, Section 3 Part 2: Human rights reporting — Step-by-step, Steps 1-3.

Activity — Pitch the story

35 min

This activity follows from the previous one. Each group prepares a "pitch" for a news-editor. The trainer will act as news editor, accept or reject the story, and brief and guide each trainee group about the next steps. Those whose stories have been rejected will have to reconsider and choose and assess an alternative idea.

Note: the guide to these steps is in the Toolkit, Section 3 Part 2 Human rights reporting — Step-by-step, Step 4.

Session 2

Getting the story (18 hours)

Broad aims

To successfully follow, write/script/produce and submit a good human rights story


The lead journalism trainer, supported by the human rights trainer and technical trainer, will guide the trainees.

Key materials

Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; Internet-enabled computer and PPP projector; variety of digital recording and other media production equipment as needed; mobile phones.


Trainees will work in groups, guided by the trainer, who will allocate tasks according to their experience and capacity. Trainees will use the training venue as a base, and the equipment provided for research, communication (email and phone), and transport. They will use the trainers as "news editors" / peers, reporting back, getting advice as needed, etc. At the end of the session, each group will write/script/produce a story and submit it to the trainers.

Session 3

Story assessment (3 hours) / Concluding the course

Broad aims

  • To critically assess their own and each others' stories
  • To reflect on the experience
  • To review learning
  • Closing
Summary Duration Activity

Activity — What is a good human rights story?

45 min

In plenary, trainees brainstorm key quality assessment criteria for a good human rights story.

Activity — Assessing the stories

90 min

Each group presents the story they have produced, and the group critically assesses the story, using the criteria generated in the previous session.


45 min

Lead trainer reviews the course; checking key learning against expectations. Discussion of the course, feedback on the course and the toolkit, suggestions for future courses.