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Year 6 Model Text – Newspaper Report – Goldilocks (🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 P6 , 🇦🇺🇺🇸Grade 5 & 🇮🇪 5th Class)

example newspaper report y6

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This model text is a newspaper report based on the traditional tale of Goldilocks. It has been written to meet the Year 6 expected standard and comes with a handy annotated version detailing the text-type specific features (red), grammar (green), punctuation (purple) and spelling (blue) teaching opportunities should you wish to use this text with your learners.

This resource also comes with a ‘model text comprehension pack’ focusing on content domains 2a, 2b and 2d.

National Curriculum Objectives Writing: English Y5/6: Pupils should be taught to use further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader.  Pupils should be taught to identify the audience and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form, and using other similar writing as models for their own.

Level of this Pack: Age: 10-11 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 England & Wales: Year 6 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland: Primary 6 🇮🇪 Rep. Ireland: Fifth Class 🇦🇺 Australia: Grade 5 🇺🇸 USA: Grade 5

#Year 6 WAGOLL #Primary 6 WAGOLL #Fifth Class WAGOLL #Grade 5 #Year 6 Goldilocks #porridge #newspaper article #news #press #media #tales

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example newspaper report y6

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example newspaper report y6

  • How To Write A Newspaper Report Ks2 English Resources

KS2 newspaper report – Best activities & resources

Young kid reading large newspaper

Extra! Extra! Boost students' non-fiction writing skills with these newspaper report templates, guidelines, formats, tips, worksheets and more…


Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a fresh face in the teaching world, these creative and educational KS2 newspaper report ideas and resources will not only inspire your students but also make learning about news reporting an exciting adventure.

So, let’s dive in and transform your classroom into a bustling newsroom…

Newspaper writing activity ideas for KS2

Ks2 newspaper report resources.

Investigate word choice and non-fiction writing with your very own school newspaper project, explains teacher Karen Hart…

In my school, this KS2 newspaper report activity formed part of a ‘looking at information texts’ literacy project. The activity delivered great results. Children contributed imaginative language to stories that were both inventive and genuinely funny.

Preparing for the activity

Although many newspaper reports are not suitable for general reading at KS2, most local papers or specialist children’s newspapers contain plenty of suitable content.

Prior to this activity, look at some newspapers in detail and talk about their constituent parts, such as:

  • advice columns
  • sports section
  • business news

Information texts

Start with a whole-class activity. Look at a few news stories covering a range of subjects. Our session included a story about the London Marathon; one about healthy eating and a report of a T-Rex skeleton that was going to auction.

Lead a discussion. Encourage children to talk about why these subjects are interesting to people. How does the language used make the written stories seem both interesting and exciting?  

Exciting writing

Next, look at these stories in more detail. Write lists of the words children think were chosen specifically to add interest.

For example, our T-Rex story included words such as  menacing pose , and  bloodthirsty stance . Get the pupils to work in groups to write their own short news story using the title, ‘Giant, hairy creature spotted in [your location]’. Aim to make it as exciting as possible.

Each group might have a different take on the topic. You can also do this as a whole-class activity.  

Write a KS2 newspaper report

Now, working in groups of two to three, give the children an envelope containing two short news story cuttings, plus two unrelated newspaper picture cuttings.

We used stories about ‘King Charles visits Dunfermline’ and ‘Twins grow record-breaking pumpkin’, plus pictures of a squirrel and a wedding cake. 

Support the pupils to write their own short news stories combining at least two of their given cuttings.

KS2 newspaper report example

Remind them to consider elements they’ve already covered, such as language choice, and to think about how they can combine seemingly unrelated things (such as a squirrel and King Charles’ Dunfermline visit) in a funny or unexpected way.  

Structuring writing

To help structure their stories, give children a simple framework to work with, and display it on the board.

  • headline  (title)
  • byline  (names of people writing the article)
  • location  (explains where the story takes place at the beginning of the story)
  • story  (the main part – who, what, when, why, and how
  • supporting information  (any extra facts that are relevant)

Make sure to talk about all these terms and what they mean. 

Newsreader activity

Pupils can create their own images to accompany their news stories, and then finish off the workshop with a fun newsreader activity.

Staying in their groups, ask children to pretend to be newsreaders, taking turns to read their stories to the rest of the class. Be mindful that not everyone likes to read in front of others.

For the finale, work to combine all the news stories into a class newspaper.  

Karen Hart is an independent drama teacher, author and freelance writer.

Newspaper front page template

KS2 newspaper report template

When it comes to writing a KS2 newspaper report, a great place to start is to have a free, printable template to work from. So we’ve created one for you to download and print.

BFG newspaper report

KS2 newspaper report BFG lesson plan

Roald Dahl’s beloved BFG story provides the perfect opportunity to tackle newspaper report writing. This engaging activity involves acting as journalists to investigate and write a newspaper report about Sophie’s disappearance based on evidence found at the scene.

Write a magical Harry Potter report

Newspaper reports for KS2

Enliven the process of teaching newspaper reports for KS2 by imagining you are journalists reporting on a magical story within the world of Harry Potter with this free lesson plan .

Topical Tuesdays with First News

example newspaper report y6

If you want to expose children to the language and layouts of newspaper but you’re worried about them coming across unsuitable material, try a specialist children’s newspaper such as First News.

Literary resources website Plazoom has a large collection of news story clippings from the paper that you can download for free , alongside Topical Tuesdays activity sheets that help you explore the chosen news report as a class.

‘Hack’ and edit websites

KS2 newspaper report lesson plan

This free lesson plan uses a free tool called  Hackasaurus , which allows you to change the content of other people’s websites.

Using Hackasaurus, you can ‘hack’ any website and change it to display the content that you provide (this works particularly well with news providers). It is extremely easy to do and will look more authentic than creating a whole website from scratch.

But don’t worry, although it will look genuine, the website won’t really be hacked – it’s just a very real-looking copy. The internet police won’t be knocking on your door.

Newspaper report presentation with video

KS2 newspaper report video screenshot

In this lesson from Oak Teacher Hub’s Spiderman unit , pupils will revise all the features of a newspaper report and write their own. The resource contains a presentation and a video.

Layout devices teaching sequence

KS2 newspaper report layout lesson plan

This KS2 grammar teaching sequence for layout devices from Plazoom helps children familiarise themselves with different types of newspaper report layouts, before trying the techniques out themselves to present three key facts about a topic they know well.

Features of a newspaper report

example newspaper report y6

This BBC Bitesize guide goes over all the basics about newspaper articles in a short, snappy video, plus there’s a quick interactive activity where children label a front page with the correct terms such as ‘headline’, ‘caption’ and ‘title’.

News report writing tips

example newspaper report y6

This post from First News features ten top tips for writing a newspaper report to help pupils perfect their articles.

Fact or opinion worksheet

example newspaper report y6

This simple worksheet is divided into three sections. The first presents a number of statements for pupils to decide whether they’re fact or opinion.

The second asks them to write their own facts and opinions on various things. The third features three passages where they need to pick out the facts and opinions.

Plus, there’s an extension activity that asks them to write their own newspaper article and then underline the facts and opinions in different colours.

Analyse the presentation of newspaper articles

example newspaper report y6

This lesson plan was designed for a mixed-ability Year 7 class, so should be easily adaptable for upper-KS2. It involves looking closely at a newspaper article and identifying language and presentational features that support meaning in non-fiction text.

Opening lines

example newspaper report y6

This Word document features a number of headlines and opening sentences to newspaper articles and tasks students to match them together.

It then gives them a number of important questions to answer and tasks to do, from picking out keywords to considering what they think each article will be about or what the main photo might be.

Click here to download.

Use drama to explore the stories behind newspaper headlines

example newspaper report y6

This free unit of work lets KS2 pupils use drama to explore the stories  behind  newspaper headlines. It focuses on creating story, looking at pivotal moments, exploring character and feelings, reporting, representing and recording news items.

The scheme is presented as one long unit but you can easily divide it into shorter lessons.

Newspaper reports example articles

example newspaper report y6

For a wealth of free downloadable reports and recounts, head over to  Literacy Wagoll  where you’ll find reports of dragons on the loose and Jack climbing the beanstalk, as well as reports on topics such as WW2 and the Rugby World Cup final.

More activities

example newspaper report y6

Over at Teachit Primary there’s a great selection of newspaper-related activities for KS2.

There’s this one that explains the concept of the  inverted news pyramid , where all essential information is stacked at the front of the article.

There’s this one on  avoiding ambiguity , and one on  refraining from repetition , plus this one on  the art of alliteration in headlines .

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Watch CBS News

Is Trump's $175 million civil fraud bond valid in New York?

By Katrina Kaufman

Updated on: April 4, 2024 / 4:18 PM EDT / CBS News

When former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million bond in New York on Monday, it appeared that he had evaded a financial crisis. He had paused enforcement of the more than $460 million judgment against him following a civil fraud trial , while his appeal is pending. 

But the surety bond was missing vital information typically included in those filings, experts say. These standard elements include documents related to power of attorney for the bond provider, Knight Specialty Insurance Company, a financial statement from the company and a certificate of qualification from the Department of Financial Services.  

New York Attorney General Letitia James indicated in a filing Thursday, after the original publication of this story, that she, too, has concerns about the bond.

James took "exception to the sufficiency of the surety" given by Trump and the other defendants. She objected to the fact that the bond was issued by a company that is not an admitted carrier in New York, and lacks the certificate of qualification required by New York Insurance Law Section 1111. 

Donald Trump Holds Presidential Campaign Rally In Green Bay, Wisconsin

Trump attorney Christopher Kise on Thursday alleged James' filing was  "another witch hunt" and accused her office of "hiding out in silence" after an appellate court reduced the defendants' bond from more than $464 million to $175 million.

"The Attorney General now seeks to stir up some equally baseless public quarrel in a desperate effort to regain relevance," Kise said.

Within 10 days, Trump or the company must file a motion to "justify" the bond, meaning Knight must prove that it is financially capable of paying the bond.

"There seem to be serious issues," said Bruce H. Lederman, an attorney who has filed many bonds in New York, including for a real estate developer challenging a judgment. Lederman said he was struck by "glaring errors" in the bond.

"In all the years I've been doing this, you always have to have a certificate from the Department of Financial Services saying that you're licensed to issue a surety bond," he said, referring to the missing certificate of qualification. 

Lederman also noticed that Knight Specialty is not listed on New York's Department of Financial Services website. 

The company refiled its posting, as directed by the New York Supreme Court clerk, after CBS News published its report on Thursday and before James' took exception to the bond.  

On Wednesday, the clerk's office had returned to Trump's attorneys the bond filing "for correction." There was no reason publicly specified in the request.

Adam Pollock, a former assistant attorney general in New York, said, "This bond is deficient for a number of reasons." 

"Including that the company doesn't appear to be licensed in New York and doesn't appear to have enough capital to make this undertaking," Pollock said.

Knight Specialty is not licensed in New York to issue surety bonds, and Lederman noted the company's absence from the Department of Financial Services database. But the company contends it is nevertheless authorized to issue the bond.

The company also does not appear to meet a restriction under New York insurance law barring companies from putting more than 10% of its capital at risk.

Amit Shah, the president of Knight Insurance, said the restriction does not apply. He said Knight has over $1 billion in equity.

"Knight Specialty Insurance Company is not a New York domestic insurer, and New York surplus lines insurance laws do not regulate the solvency of non-New York excess lines insurers," he said. "So we don't believe we need the 10% surplus." 

The billionaire behind Trump's bond is Don Hankey , the chairman of Knight Insurance, which owns the subsidiary that wrote the bond. 

Hankey said that Trump used "cash" as collateral for the bond, a total of $175 million. 

"First he furnished about $120 million worth of bonds that we OK'd, so we assumed it would be investment-grade bonds and cash. But as it turned out, it was all cash," he told CBS News in a brief phone call on Tuesday. 

But Trump retained that $175 million cash collateral, according to Shah. He said the money is in an account that is "pledged" to the company. He would not specify the type of account. Trump paid a premium to the company that Shah declined to disclose. 

"It seems to me that the underlying case is about the [New York] attorney general requiring strict compliance with the law," said Lederman. 

"The law requires an insurance company posting a surety bond to be authorized in New York," he said. "And there are serious questions about if this bond was properly posted."

Under a New York law known as CPLR 2502, an "insurance company [shall be] authorized to execute the undertaking within the state." 

When CBS News asked Hankey about Knight Specialty's authorization to issue bonds in New York, the company's net worth and potential deficiencies in the bond filing for Trump, he deferred to Knight's president: "I'm chairman of that company. I've got several other companies that I own. Amit Shah would be the person to talk to."

Shah explained that the company is authorized to issue a surety bond in New York through the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY). He said the company is approved by ELANY to issue bonds from its home domicile state of Delaware, where it is allowed to write surety bonds. 

"Our position is we're compliant," said Shah. 

Knight's compliance officer, Mike Pepitone, said that there are a number of insurance companies that do not hold a license in every state, but a company is able to write a bond in other states where they are not licensed on what he said is called "an excess and surplus lines basis."

"For court bonds, as regulated by the CPLR, the law is clear about in-state license requirement," said Pollock, who noted that there are surety bonds used in other industries like construction that would not be subject to that rule.

Shah initially said that the company had in fact submitted a financial statement with the bond. In its initial bond filing, Pepitone said the financial statement was not supposed to be included, but later, in its updated bond filing Thursday, the company shared its financial statement.

If Knight Specialty does not have Trump's cash collateral for the bond in its possession, Lederman questioned whether the company "could or would pay immediately" if Trump loses his appeal. Lederman said James should investigate to determine if the company is in compliance with state law requirements.

"The attorney general would have ample grounds to push back here," said Pollock.

The New York Attorney General's office declined to comment. But Lederman said, "The attorney general is now requiring Trump to follow the law and have the court approve the bond because as filed, the bond is not acceptable."

Knight's updated filing included a financial statement showing that the company's surplus to policyholders is $1 billion and a joint limited power of attorney signed by Hankey and Shah.

  • Donald Trump

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Ending many of his rallies with a churchlike ritual and casting his prosecutions as persecution, the former president is demanding — and receiving — new levels of devotion from Republicans.

A rally for former President Donald J. Trump in July in Erie, Pa. At many of his recent rallies, Mr. Trump delivers a roughly 15-minute finale that evokes an evangelical altar call. Credit... Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

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Michael C. Bender

By Michael C. Bender

Reporting from Conway, S.C., and Washington

  • April 1, 2024

Long known for his improvised and volatile stage performances, former President Donald J. Trump now tends to finish his rallies on a solemn note.

Soft, reflective music fills the venue as a hush falls over the crowd. Mr. Trump’s tone turns reverent and somber, prompting some supporters to bow their heads or close their eyes. Others raise open palms in the air or murmur as if in prayer.

In this moment, Mr. Trump’s audience is his congregation, and the former president their pastor as he delivers a roughly 15-minute finale that evokes an evangelical altar call, the emotional tradition that concludes some Christian services in which attendees come forward to commit to their savior.

“The great silent majority is rising like never before and under our leadership,” he recites from a teleprompter in a typical version of the script. “We will pray to God for our strength and for our liberty. We will pray for God and we will pray with God. We are one movement, one people, one family and one glorious nation under God.”

The meditative ritual might appear incongruent with the raucous epicenter of the nation’s conservative movement, but Mr. Trump’s political creed stands as one of the starkest examples of his effort to transform the Republican Party into a kind of Church of Trump. His insistence on absolute devotion and fealty can be seen at every level of the party , from Congress to the Republican National Committee to rank-and-file voters .

Mr. Trump’s ability to turn his supporters’ passion into piety is crucial to understanding how he remains the undisputed Republican leader despite guiding his party to repeated political failures and while facing dozens of felony charges in four criminal cases. His success at portraying those prosecutions as persecutions — and warning, without merit, that his followers could be targeted next — has fueled enthusiasm for his candidacy and placed him, once again, in a position to capture the White House.

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‘He’s definitely been chosen by God’

Mr. Trump has long defied conventional wisdom as an unlikely but irrefutable evangelical hero.

He has been married three times, has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault, has been convicted of business fraud and has never showed much interest in church services. Last week, days before Easter, he posted on his social media platform an infomercial-style video hawking a $60 Bible that comes with copies of some of the nation’s founding documents and the lyrics to Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the U.S.A.”

But while Mr. Trump is eager to maintain the support of evangelical voters and portray his presidential campaign as a battle for the nation’s soul, he has mostly been careful not to speak directly in messianic terms.

“This country has a savior, and it’s not me — that’s someone much higher up than me,” Mr. Trump said in 2021 from the pulpit at First Baptist Church in Dallas, whose congregation exceeds 14,000 people.

Still, he and his allies have inched closer to the Christ comparison.

Last year, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican and a close Trump ally, said both the former president and Jesus had been arrested by “radical, corrupt governments.” On Saturday, Mr. Trump shared an article on social media with the headline “The Crucifixion of Donald Trump.”

Donald Trump speaking on a stage in front of a large image showing the American flag.

He is also the latest in a long line of Republican presidents and presidential candidates who have prioritized evangelical voters. But many conservative Christian voters believe Mr. Trump outstripped his predecessors in delivering for them, pointing especially to the conservative majority he installed on the Supreme Court that overturned federal abortion rights.

Mr. Trump won an overwhelming majority of evangelical voters in his first two presidential races, but few — even among his rally crowds — explicitly compare him to Jesus.

Instead, the Trumpian flock is more likely to describe him as a modern version of Old Testament heroes like Cyrus or David, morally flawed figures handpicked by God to lead profound missions aimed at achieving overdue justice or resisting existential evil.

“He’s definitely been chosen by God,” said Marie Zere, a commercial real estate broker from Long Island who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in February outside Washington, D.C. “He’s still surviving even though all these people are coming after him, and I don’t know how else to explain that other than divine intervention.”

For some of Mr. Trump’s supporters, the political attacks and legal peril he faces are nothing short of biblical.

“They’ve crucified him worse than Jesus,” said Andriana Howard, 67, who works as a restaurant food runner in Conway, S.C.

A political weapon and vulnerability

Mr. Trump’s solid and devoted core of voters has formed one of the most durable forces in American politics, giving him a clear advantage over President Biden when it comes to inspiring supporters.

Forty-eight percent of Republican primary voters are enthusiastic about Mr. Trump becoming the Republican nominee, and 32 percent are satisfied but not enthusiastic with that outcome, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll . Just 23 percent of Democrats said they were enthusiastic about Mr. Biden as their nominee, and 43 percent were satisfied but not enthusiastic.

The intensity of the most committed Trump backers has also factored into the former president’s campaign decisions, according to two people familiar with internal deliberations. His team’s ability to bank on voters who will cast a ballot with little additional prompting means that some of the cash that would otherwise be spent on turnout operations can be invested in field staff, television ads or other ways to help Mr. Trump.

But Democrats see an advantage, too. Much of Mr. Biden’s support comes from voters deeply opposed to Mr. Trump, and the president’s advisers see an opportunity to spook moderate swing voters into supporting Mr. Biden by casting Mr. Trump’s movement as a cultlike creation bent on restricting abortion rights and undermining democracy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a top Democratic ally of Mr. Biden, pointed to an increasingly aggressive online presence from the president’s re-election campaign, which has sought to portray Mr. Trump as prone to religious extremism .

“There’s a huge opportunity here,” Mr. Newsom said in an interview. “Trump is so easily defined, and he reinforces that definition over and over and over again. And Biden has a campaign that can weaponize that now.”

‘Does he really care about evangelicals? I don’t know.’

Mr. Trump’s braiding of politics and religion is hardly a new phenomenon. Christianity has long exerted a strong influence on American government, with most voters identifying as Christians even as the country grows more secular. According to Gallup , 68 percent of adults said they were Christian in 2022, down from 91 percent in 1948.

But as the former president tries to establish himself as the one, true Republican leader, religious overtones have pervaded his third presidential campaign.

Benevolently phrased fund-raising emails in his name promise unconditional love amid solicitations for contributions of as little as $5.

Even more than in his past campaigns, he is framing his 2024 bid as a fight for Christianity, telling a convention of Christian broadcasters that “just like in the battles of the past, we still need the hand of our Lord.”

On his social media platform in recent months, Mr. Trump has shared a courtroom-style sketch of himself sitting next to Jesus and a video that repeatedly proclaims, “God gave us Trump” to lead the country.

The apparent effectiveness of such tactics has made Mr. Trump the nation’s first major politician to successfully separate character from policy for religious voters, said John Fea, a history professor at Messiah University, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

“Trump has split the atom between character and policy,” Mr. Fea said. “He did it because he’s really the first one to listen to their grievances and take them seriously. Does he really care about evangelicals? I don’t know. But he’s built a message to appeal directly to them.”

Support from local pastors

Trump rallies have always been something of a cross between a rock concert and a tent revival. When Mr. Trump first started winding down his rallies with the ambient strains, many connected them to similar theme music from the QAnon conspiracy movement, but the campaign distanced itself from that notion.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement: “President Trump has used the end of his speeches to draw a clear contrast to the last four years of Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency and lay out his vision to get America back on track.”

But the shift has helped turn Mr. Trump’s rallies into a more aesthetically churchlike experience.

A Trump rally in Las Vegas in January opened with a prayer from Jesus Marquez, an elder at a local church, who cited Scripture to declare that God wanted Mr. Trump to return to the White House.

“God is on our side — he’s on the side of this movement,” said Mr. Marquez, who founded the American Christian Caucus, a grass-roots group.

And at a rally in South Carolina in February, Greg Rodermond, a pastor at Crossroads Community Church, prayed for God to intervene against Mr. Trump’s political opponents, arguing that they were “trying to steal, kill and destroy our America.”

“Father, we have gathered here today in unity for our nation to see it restored back to its greatness,” Mr. Rodermond continued, “and, God, we believe that you have chosen Donald Trump as an instrument in your hands for this purpose.”

But some Christian conservatives are loath to join their brethren in clearing a direct path from the ornate doors of Mar-a-Lago to the pearly gates of Heaven.

Russell Moore, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public-policy arm, said Mr. Trump’s rallies had veered into “dangerous territory” with the altar-call closing and opening prayers from preachers describing Mr. Trump as heaven-sent.

“Claiming godlike authority or an endorsement from God for a political candidate means that person cannot be questioned or opposed without also opposing God,” Mr. Moore said. “That’s a violation of the commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain.”

Michael C. Bender is a Times political correspondent covering Donald J. Trump, the Make America Great Again movement and other federal and state elections. More about Michael C. Bender

Our Coverage of the 2024 Presidential Election

News and Analysis

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., expressing sympathy for Jan. 6 rioters, vowed to appoint a special counsel  to investigate the Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute them. A vaccine skeptic running as an independent , he has emerged as a wild card in the 2024 presidential election. Donald Trump has privately floated the idea of choosing him as a running mate , but those close to the former president don’t consider it a serious possibility.

Melania Trump, who has been mostly absent from public view while her husband campaigns for president, will appear at a fund-raiser at Mar-a-Lago , marking a return of sorts to the political arena.

The centrist group No Labels has abandoned its plans to run a presidential ticket in the 2024 election, having failed to recruit a candidate. The group had suffered a string of rejections recently  as prominent Republicans and Democrats declined to run on its ticket.

Trump’s falsehoods about mail voting have created a strategic disadvantage for Republicans, who must rely on Election Day turnout . The group Turning Point Action has a $100 million plan to change voters’ habits to encourage early voting.

The focus of Trump’s hotel business is shifting from big cities to his golf resorts,  after a deal to host tournaments for LIV Golf , the upstart league sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, another example of the ties between the Saudis and the Trump family.

Biden and Trump are the oldest people ever to seek the presidency , challenging norms about what the public should know about candidates’ health.

Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist and consultant, has spent the past two years telling Democrats they need to calm down. His Biden-will-win prediction is his next big test .


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Gmail revolutionized email 20 years ago. People thought it was Google’s April Fools’ Day joke

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin unveiled something no one would believe was possible on April Fool’s Day 20 years ago: Gmail, a free service boasting 1 gigabyte of storage. Gmail now has 1.8 billion active accounts worldwide. (AP Video: Terry Chea)

Paul Buchheit, the former Google engineer who created Gmail, works at the company's offices in Mountain View, Calif., in Dec. 10, 1999. Buchheit was the 23rd employee hired at Google, a company that now employs more than 180,000 people. (April Buchheit via AP)

Paul Buchheit, the former Google engineer who created Gmail, works at the company’s offices in Mountain View, Calif., in Dec. 10, 1999. Buchheit was the 23rd employee hired at Google, a company that now employs more than 180,000 people. (April Buchheit via AP)

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FILE - An ad for Google’s Gmail appears on the side of a bus on Sept. 17, 2012, in Lagos, Nigeria. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin unveiled Gmail 20 years ago on April Fool’s Day. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

Former Google executive Marissa Mayer poses for a photo on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Menlo Park, Calif. Mayer helped design Gmail and other company products before later becoming Yahoo’s CEO. (AP Photo/Mike Liedtke)

FILE - Google co-founders Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page pose at company headquarters Jan.15, 2004, in Mountain View, Calif. Page and Brin unveiled Gmail 20 years ago on April Fool’s Day. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin loved pulling pranks, so much so they began rolling outlandish ideas every April Fools’ Day not long after starting their company more than a quarter century ago. One year, Google posted a job opening for a Copernicus research center on the moon. Another year, the company said it planned to roll out a “scratch and sniff” feature on its search engine.

The jokes were so consistently over-the-top that people learned to laugh them off as another example of Google mischief. And that’s why Page and Brin decided to unveil something no one would believe was possible 20 years ago on April Fools’ Day.

It was Gmail, a free service boasting 1 gigabyte of storage per account, an amount that sounds almost pedestrian in an age of one-terabyte iPhones. But it sounded like a preposterous amount of email capacity back then, enough to store about 13,500 emails before running out of space compared to just 30 to 60 emails in the then-leading webmail services run by Yahoo and Microsoft. That translated into 250 to 500 times more email storage space.

Besides the quantum leap in storage, Gmail also came equipped with Google’s search technology so users could quickly retrieve a tidbit from an old email, photo or other personal information stored on the service. It also automatically threaded together a string of communications about the same topic so everything flowed together as if it was a single conversation.

FILE - Various Google logos are displayed on a Google search, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in New York. On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Google announced that it is introducing its artificially intelligent chatbot, Bard, to other members of its digital family, including Gmail, Maps and YouTube, as part of the next step in its effort to ward off threats posed by similar technology run by Open AI and Microsoft. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

“The original pitch we put together was all about the three ‘S’s” — storage, search and speed,” said former Google executive Marissa Mayer, who helped design Gmail and other company products before later becoming Yahoo’s CEO.

It was such a mind-bending concept that shortly after The Associated Press published a story about Gmail late on the afternoon of April Fools’ 2004, readers began calling and emailing to inform the news agency it had been duped by Google’s pranksters.

“That was part of the charm, making a product that people won’t believe is real. It kind of changed people’s perceptions about the kinds of applications that were possible within a web browser,” former Google engineer Paul Buchheit recalled during a recent AP interview about his efforts to build Gmail.

It took three years to do as part of a project called “Caribou” — a reference to a running gag in the Dilbert comic strip. “There was something sort of absurd about the name Caribou, it just made make me laugh,” said Buchheit, the 23rd employee hired at a company that now employs more than 180,000 people.

The AP knew Google wasn’t joking about Gmail because an AP reporter had been abruptly asked to come down from San Francisco to the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters to see something that would make the trip worthwhile.

After arriving at a still-developing corporate campus that would soon blossom into what became known as the “Googleplex,” the AP reporter was ushered into a small office where Page was wearing an impish grin while sitting in front of his laptop computer.

Page, then just 31 years old, proceeded to show off Gmail’s sleekly designed inbox and demonstrated how quickly it operated within Microsoft’s now-retired Explorer web browser. And he pointed out there was no delete button featured in the main control window because it wouldn’t be necessary, given Gmail had so much storage and could be so easily searched. “I think people are really going to like this,” Page predicted.

As with so many other things, Page was right. Gmail now has an estimated 1.8 billion active accounts — each one now offering 15 gigabytes of free storage bundled with Google Photos and Google Drive. Even though that’s 15 times more storage than Gmail initially offered, it’s still not enough for many users who rarely see the need to purge their accounts, just as Google hoped.

The digital hoarding of email, photos and other content is why Google, Apple and other companies now make money from selling additional storage capacity in their data centers. (In Google’s case, it charges anywhere from $30 annually for 200 gigabytes of storage to $250 annually for 5 terabytes of storage). Gmail’s existence is also why other free email services and the internal email accounts that employees use on their jobs offer far more storage than was fathomed 20 years ago.

“We were trying to shift the way people had been thinking because people were working in this model of storage scarcity for so long that deleting became a default action,” Buchheit said.

Gmail was a game changer in several other ways while becoming the first building block in the expansion of Google’s internet empire beyond its still-dominant search engine.

After Gmail came Google Maps and Google Docs with word processing and spreadsheet applications. Then came the acquisition of video site YouTube, followed by the introduction of the the Chrome browser and the Android operating system that powers most of the world’s smartphones. With Gmail’s explicitly stated intention to scan the content of emails to get a better understanding of users’ interests, Google also left little doubt that digital surveillance in pursuit of selling more ads would be part of its expanding ambitions.

Although it immediately generated a buzz, Gmail started out with a limited scope because Google initially only had enough computing capacity to support a small audience of users.

“When we launched, we only had 300 machines and they were really old machines that no one else wanted,” Buchheit said, with a chuckle. “We only had enough capacity for 10,000 users, which is a little absurd.”

But that scarcity created an air of exclusivity around Gmail that drove feverish demand for an elusive invitations to sign up. At one point, invitations to open a Gmail account were selling for $250 apiece on eBay. “It became a bit like a social currency, where people would go, ‘Hey, I got a Gmail invite, you want one?’” Buchheit said.

Although signing up for Gmail became increasingly easier as more of Google’s network of massive data centers came online, the company didn’t begin accepting all comers to the email service until it opened the floodgates as a Valentine’s Day present to the world in 2007.

A few weeks later on April Fools’ Day in 2007, Google would announce a new feature called “Gmail Paper” offering users the chance to have Google print out their email archive on “94% post-consumer organic soybean sputum " and then have it sent to them through the Postal Service. Google really was joking around that time.

example newspaper report y6

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WAGOLL Newspaper

WAGOLL Newspaper

Subject: English

Age range: 7-11

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

Sabrina's School Shop

Last updated

22 February 2018

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