Students learn the difference between fact and opinion

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 12:00am

Four popular characters on Songbirds - Ted, Bax, Daisy and Alysha - are asked to write a story about an HIV/Aids clinic in Hong Kong. But how do you write a story about a controversial issue like that?

In the extract below, the students' journalism lecturer Dr Lo explains the difference between factual truth and opinion.

Bax: But how should we start?

Dr Lo: You should always start with the truth. It is a good journalist's business to always report the truth.

Daisy: Huh! A lot of newspapers just tell a lot of lies!

Dr Lo: Yes, Daisy. That's true for some newspapers, but not for all newspapers and certainly not for our newspaper.

Ted: But if we write boring stuff no one will want to read it!

Dr Lo: Ted, telling the truth does not mean you have to be boring. Fact is often more interesting than fiction.

Alysha: So we have to write the truth but make it interesting.

Dr Lo: Yes, Alysha.

Bax: But how do we do that?

Dr Lo: Well, have an angle, a point of view. You are writing a story about an Aids clinic and how the local residents are against it.

Daisy: (Interrupting) So you want us to write about how dumb the residents are?

Dr Lo: A good journalist should always tell the truth, Daisy.

Daisy: But is my point of view the truth? OK, it's my truth but is it everybody's truth? Some people might sympathise with the residents.

Dr Lo: A journalist can report the facts and give a point of view based on those facts. But only hard facts are the real truth. Points of view may differ.

Journalists play an important role in society - they can help to expose wrong-doing and bring about positive change. Ted, Bax, Daisy and Alysha learn that facts can be reported as truth, but people's opinions may differ What do you think?

Tune in to 'Songbirds' on RTHK Radio 4 at noon tomorrow

Graphic: 2408P4GYO


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