Teachers Network | Teachnet-Lab

Create an on-line newspaper based on:  Witness for the Prosecution, a play by Agatha Christie


  • a minimum of four newspaper articles: news, feature, obituary, opinion.
  • a banner or title of the newspaper
  • an advertisement
  • volume, date, number and also mention the fact that the on-line newspaper is based on the play
  • headlines for the four articles
  • photographs or images that belong with the articles (Hint: You may have your photo or other students' photos taken digitally to use in your newspaper or you can take photos from the Internet.)

For a sample page click here.

For directions on how to use Microsoft Front Page for this project click here.

News and feature article characteristics

Obituary article characteristics

Opinion article characteristics

Checklist on how your on-line newspaper will be graded

Examples of student work: Chris, Lorena, Amaryllis

Assignments to help prepare you :

Act 1

  • a) Describe the important characters b) Describe the setting c) Describe contradictions d) Write if you have any questions 
  • Read 1 news article and answer questions on analysis worksheet.
  • Write questions you would ask each character.
  • Write a transcript for several characters including the police.
  • Write a news article as if you were a reporter gathering information from interviews and based on Act 1. 
Act 2
  • Describe the witnesses and the evidence presented at the trial.
  • Read a 2nd news article and answer questions on analysis worksheet.
  • Write a news article based on your observation of the trial in Act 2.
Act 3
  • How did Leonard and Romaine fool almost everyone?
  • Read the feature article and answer questions on analysis worksheet..
  • Write your own newspaper feature article on how  mistakes were made in the justice system in the play.
  • Read obituary article and then write an obituary article for either character who died.
  • Read an opinion article and analyze using worksheet.
  • Write your own editorial,commentary, or letter-to-the-editor based on the play.
News  and feature article characteristics and links:
 New York Times reporters analyze a feature articlehttp://nytimes.com/learning/teachers/NIE/SSNB/
Obituary article characteristics and links:
New York Times reporters analyze an obituary articlehttp://nytimes.com/learning/teachers/NIE/SSNB/
Opinion article characteristics and links:
New York Times reporters analyze an opinion articlehttp://nytimes.com/learning/teachers/NIE/SSNB/
Checklist on how your on-line newspaper will be graded:
How should on-line newspaper be graded?
I. 4 articles (news, feature, obituary, opinion) each need to use correct newspaper form:



_______quotes and paraphrases

________no bias or opinion of news and/or feature article

_______answer 5 W's and H

_______most improtant facts are first and are all correct based on Witness for the Prosecution

II.  Student shows ability to use Microsoft Front Page:

________student makes tables with colors , columns and rows

_______student puts in text and can change fonts and colors

_______student can save an image to the hard drive and students can insert an image

______Student can make hyperlinks

III.  Interesting page design

News or Feature Article Analysis Worksheet

Write the newspaper or source, title of article and author (if available), date and page (if available) and then answer questions:
1.Does the headline use a verb and is it good?  Why or why not?

2.What kind of lead (summary, modified summary  or novelty leads: question, shocker, quotation, action, reaction, description,  and contrast) is it and is it good?  Why or why not?

3. Attribution

a. Who did the reporter paraphrase and were the paraphrases good?  Why or why not?

b. Who were the people the reporter quoted and were the quotes good?  Why or why not?

4. Background- What does the reporter tell about background information?

5. How well does the reporter answer the 5w's and H?

6. Bias

 a. Does the reporter favor one view over another or does he give the views of both or more sides?  Give examples.

 b. Does the reporter give his opinion?  Why or why not?

7.Is the most important information first? (Does the writer use the inverted triangle?)  Explain.

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Opinion Article Analysis Worksheet

Write the newspaper or source, title of article and author (if available), date and page (if available) and answer these questions:

1. What is the opinion of the writer that he or she is trying to persuade the reader to believe?

2. A. What is the opposite opinion of the writer, the one he disagrees with?
    B. Is this mentioned in the essay and does the writer try to discredit this opinion? or is it implied?  Explain.

3. How does the writer try to convince the reader?
 A. Does the writer use appeals to reason?  Explain.
 B. Does the writer use appeals to emotions?  Explain.

4.  What important background details does the writer include?

5. A. Did you learn something from reading this commentary ?
    B. Did you change your mind because of reading it or did you come away unconvinced?  Explain?

6.  How well-written is this commentary, whether you agree with it or not?  Explain why you have the opinion you wrote.

Design your on-line newspaper! 

Please open Microsoft Front Page by going to Start--Programs--FrontPage 

There are three "views" in FrontPage: Normal, HTML and Preview. You will use the first one to write and the last view to see how it looks on the
Internet if published. 


        Go to the word Table on the top and click on it and then move to insert table. 
        Write in the number 1 for row and 1 for columns. 
        For width write in 100 percent 
        Go to Table again. 
        Go down to table properties. 
        Choose a background color using custom or colors already there.  Make sure the colors are light so dark print shows up. 
        Put the cursor inside this table and hit enter several times to enlarge the table. 
        To make another table inside this main table, place your cursor inside the first table and repeat . 
        To make a new table put your cursor under the first table.  Make the second with 3 columns and one row. 
        Make the next table with two columns and 4 rows. 


       Please write  the headlines for your newspaper articles in the appropriate cells. 
       You can change fonts by going to format. 
       If you have finished your newspaper articles copy them from nicenet or in Microsoft Word and paste them at the bottom of the page. 


       Open Internet Explorer (a browser) or Netscape Navigator 
       Go to theweb site by typing in the address space THE URL- http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/fklane/pmaslow/marlene.htm 
       Position your arrow on the picture and click with the right side of the mouse. 
       Select save picture as and send it to your 3 1/2 floppy drive.  Save it as Romaine. 
       Go back to your FrontPage program and put cursor in the cell where you want the image. 
       The dialog box select file appears. Select the picture file Romaine saved on your disk. 
        You can center the picture or reduce it by going to cell or table properties. 


       Write somewhere on your page that the newspaper is based on the play Witness for the Prosecution. 
       Highlight the play title. 
       Select the button INSERT--HYPERLINK 
        EDIT HYPERLINK dialog box appears. In the space URL, type http://stmarymead.com/eng/e_witness.html,  then click OK . 
       Within the page create a hyperlink by highlighting the headline of your news article. 
       Select INSERT-BOOKMARK 
       Name the bookmark, news and click okay. 
       Go to the top of the news article and high light the first words. 
       Select INSERT-BOOKMARK 
       Name the bookmark, news article and click okay. 
       Highlight the headline again and go to INSERT-HYPERLINK. 
       Select the place where you want the link to go which is news article  and type it in also.  ( You will have to find the correct dialog box first.) 

Click on the SAVE AS  and save the document on your floppy drive A.  Call your file Index. 


       Go to FORMAT-THEME and select a theme. Try several themes. 
       Click SAVE 
       Insert HORIZONTAL LINE 
       Click SAVE. 


       Close your FrontPage program 
       Go to MY COMPUTER and then to 3 1/2 floppy drive 
       Select the file INDEX and double click on it 
       Click on the hyperlink to see if it works. 
       To edit your page again with FrontPage, open FrontPage Program again, and click on FILE--OPEN WEB. 
        Select 3 1/2 floppy drive and click OK 
       Wait to see the files and folders on the right side. Click on the INDEX file to open and edit your main   page. 


       You should be in FrontPage, normal view 
       Go to FILE-NEW-PAGE 
       Select Feedback form and click OK. 
       You may edit the text and/or different questions 
       Save the page 
       Create the link from your index page to your feedback form 
       See how the page looks by clicking on the preview or going to the floppy drive and clicking on your index page. 

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