25 Negative News Messages

Melissa Ashman

Activity Guidelines

Suggested Course Level

Lower level undergraduate

Activity Purpose

  • Students will discuss a scenario where a negative news message would need to be delivered.
  • Students will select and justify an approach (direct or indirect).
  • Students will select and justify a channel to deliver the message.
  • Students will develop/write a negative news message.
  • Students will analyze and provide feedback on messages prepared by peers.

Materials Required

  • Activity instruction sheet
  • Negative news scenarios
  • Justification document
  • Message document
  • Blank pages (for peer feedback)
  • Markers
  • Tape

Activity Instructions

  1. Divide class into 5 groups.
  2.  Distribute materials to students.
  3. State that each group will read and discuss the scenario they’ve been provided. As a group, they must decide on an approach to use to delivery their negative news message and a channel. They must write down their decisions on the “justification” page, along with their reasons for why they chose that channel and approach.
  4. They must then write their message on the “message” page.
  5. They will then tape their scenario, message, justification page, and a blank sheet of paper (11” x 17” paper works best) to the wall.
  6. Students will then move around the room on their own or with their group to discuss the other scenarios, messages, and justifications, with an eye to provide feedback on what works well, what could be improved, or questions they might have.
  7. After providing feedback on all the scenarios, students then reconvene back at their original station and review the feedback they’ve received.
  8. Debrief this activity with each group one-on-one or as a class.

Debrief Questions / Activities

  • You can debrief this activity one-on-one with each group, reviewing the feedback they’ve received and the work they’ve completed.
  • You can debrief this activity with the entire class.
  • You can debrief one or two messages only with the entire class.
  • The approach to take and the questions to ask will depend on the messages developed and the feedback each student has received.

Additional Resources / Supplementary Resources

Tags: negative news messages, discussion, hands-on, small group, creating a product or document, giving and receiving feedback


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