Plucky - The Paper for Inquisitive Kids

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The paper for inquisitive kids

Picture Stories

True or False?

Fixing the news

Happy to read you

We get to know Graphic Journalists and why they prefer to draw the news

How to tell when someone’s pants are on fire. Who’s fibbing?

People’s ideas of how to make journalism more useful and more trustworthy

The girl who created a newspaper to make us smile


The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020


Reinventing Journalism


1,652 people were asked what they thought about TV and newspaper journalists (research poll by YouGov). Although more people are following the news media than ever, the poll found that many do not trust journalists. Why this mistrust in journalists when they do such important work? More importantly, what can journalism do to change this?

Welcome to Plucky, the paper for kids like us who don’t want to be talked down to. We’re curious to explore the planet we live in and we like to ask questions. This edition is all about journalism: the gathering of information and reporting of events based on true facts. Truth is an important part of journalism if it is to be respected and believed. There are many different kinds of journalists. Some we are very familiar with, such as the ones reporting on TV or writing on newspapers. On Plucky we will introduce you to some less known aspects of journalism. We talk to journalists who tell their story through pictures, and others who insist on taking their time. And don’t forget to check out our True or Fake game. This issue is dedicated to the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and was originally published on paper on 18 October 2020.

Fearless D. Find out more about journalism on our website Reproduction of editorial is strictly prohibited without prior permission. © Gattaldo 2020

May I Help You? Journalism at people’s service.

As we look at ways to improve journalism, one reporter in Detroit (USA) has found an extraordinary way of being more useful. Sarah Alvarez wanted to do something about poverty in the city she lived in, but realised that, as a reporter, she could only do so much.

Sarah’s reporting could be far more useful if she could bring that information to them. The problem was how to reach them. These people didn’t buy the paper or listen to her radio station. Sarah figured that the best way to get her message to them would be through mobile text messages because most people have phones. Sarah set up a company called ‘Outlier Media’. Apart from sharing information with those who need it, the company also teaches them how to search for it themselves. ‘Outlier Media’ is not a one-way communication like traditional news media. Its public can respond to its messages and ask for more information. It’s a real dialogue.

Sarah worked for a local radio station. Her listeners were wealthy while the people she reported on were poorer. Her listeners would sympathise but this did not make things any better for the poor. The people who really needed Sarah’s help were not getting it so she kept on thinking about how to assist them. Sarah had a brilliant idea! She noticed that if the people she wrote about had the right information at hand, Can you think of other ways journalism they could have avoided their money problems. can be made more useful?

Slow Down Please! News that thinks before it speaks. A few years ago, the first 24 hour TV news station was born. It broadcast news every hour of the day. It was new and exciting because it reported news as it happened. Then came the internet and journalists were competing to be the first to report on a story. This wasn’t all good. In their haste, sometimes journalists didn’t check their sources well and mistakes were made and some people lost their trust in journalists.

For this reason, some think the solution is ‘slow news’, longer investigative stories prepared with a great deal of reflection and research. Rather than simply reporting the news, they try to explain what the story means and what could happen as a result. Let’s say, for example, that an elephant named Sally stood and blocked the road leading to the village, what does it mean for the people in the next village? Perhaps the truck which was delivering milk did not make it to the local shop because of Sally and many had to do without for their breakfast. That makes it more personal and interesting. Would you rather know the whole story or to be the first to know?

The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020


Picture Stories Most journalism uses words to describe events sometimes accompanied by images to help readers get the full picture. Graphic journalists have turned things on their head. They primarily use images to tell the story, and words play second fiddle. Most of us are familiar with ‘comics’; stories in pictures such as The Beano, or The Adventures of Asterix and Obelix. The difference is that Graphic Journalism deals in real facts. Sometimes it’s also referred to as comics journalism, illustrated journalism, visual reportage or nonfiction cartooning. In this type of journalism the storytelling would be incomplete without the illustrations. Let’s check out some of the most well known graphic journalists.

E.H Shepard Graphic journalism became popular when magazines and newspapers covered the American Civil War using illustrations in the 1860s. An early example of graphic journalism was the work of artist and illustrator E.H Shepard. You’ll be more familiar with his illustrations for the Winnie-thePooh and The Wind in the Willows books. When he was sent to serve as officer in World War 1 (1914-1918), he took a drawing pad with him and started drawing what he saw. He made hundreds of sketches, paintings and drawings of life in the war trenches. Some of them were funny and lighthearted but others showed wounded soldiers, wrecked battlefields and refugees. His illustrations gave us an idea of what really went on in the war. He and others of his time have been the inspiration for graphic journalists of today.

Joe Sacco Just like Shepard, Joe’s work in journalism started with visits to war zones such as Bosnia, and telling people’s stories through cartoons. We follow his adventures because Joe draws himself into the story. This gives him the opportunity to tell the story in a more personal way. He meets both the good and the bad and leaves it to us to decide who is who. After studying Journalism at the University of Oregon in the USA, Joe found it hard to find jobs telling the stories he was most interested in. He found himself doing the thing he enjoyed most, drawing cartoons. He started with romantic comics (Eww!) and then worked for a while on satirical comics (that’s funny and critical at the same time) - Joe even published his own comics magazine for some time. Joe’s travels inspired him to report on the problems between Palestine and Israel in his first journalistic graphic book Palestine. He drew a collection of stories which he then put together in a book which sold more than 30,000 copies in Britain alone. We met Joe Sacco and asked him a few questions.

Detail from Joe Sacco’s book ‘Palestine’

You studied Journalism at university but was your cartoon design self-taught? I studied journalism but I’ve been drawing since I was a kid and simply never stopped. So, yes, you could say I’m self-taught. You are one of the characters in your stories. Why is this? I started out doing stories about my life so when I first travelled to the Middle East. I thought I’d just illustrate my adventures. But while I was there my journalistic training kicked in and the work became more focused on interviews and gathering information. I kept myself as a character without thinking too much about it. Now I realise that including my character is a way of signalling to the reader that they are seeing things from my perspective and that’s not the standard journalistic way of going about things. How do you prepare before visiting places? I read all I can about a subject. But you always learn ten times more when you’re actually there. Some places you visit can be dangerous. What kind of precautions do you take in such places if any? I’m as careful as I can be. I’m not a particularly courageous person, as those closest to me can tell you. I stick with guides who know the conditions on the ground and they’re usually good about keeping us safe. > pg.4

4 Your stories are about people. Is it always easy to get people to trust you enough to share their personal lives with you? I enjoy talking to people and I like to listen to their stories, and perhaps they pick up on that. The great secret to journalism is that people like being asked about themselves so you just have to give them the space to speak. Part of a journalist’s job is to get to the bottom of a story. Can it be hard to make people tell you past experiences they do not wish to remember? Yes, it can be hard for people to talk about their difficult experiences. I never push people to continue, and if I see someone is becoming uncomfortable, I always give them the option of stopping. But usually they want to overcome their emotion and tell the story anyway. You started with romance and satire in comics. Do you think these influenced your later work in graphic journalism?

The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020

I don’t think the romance comics had much influence, but certainly the satire showed that I always had an intentional point to make. Do you think a graphic story is capable of changing someone’s opinion on an issue? I don’t try to think about that too much. Some people have told me they’ve learned something from my work so I do think individuals can change what they think based on what they read. But I don’t necessarily think I can change the world. I think of myself as chronicling (recording) my times. Which journalist and illustrator inspired you most? The journalist that most inspired me is George Orwell because I feel he had integrity. My biggest influences in art are Pieter Bruegel the Elder, whose Flemish paintings from the 1500s open up a window into his world, and Robert Crumb, the American underground cartoonist who makes even inanimate objects like a cup or a lamp seem to jump off the page.

Wendy records details by sketching them. In the picture on the left, she’s sketched what’s on the table in front of her. Sketch what’s on your table and colour it in. Add little notes with a little arrow to give more information on the things in your drawing.

What is special about telling a story with illustrations? Drawing adds a whole new layer of storytelling. Add words with pictures, and you don’t just get words and pictures, you get a third thing - this cool world or moment or idea that goes directly into the eyes and brain of the reader and connects with their hard and sparks their imagination.


Divide a page into four or more rectangles and draw a conversation with your friend in the school playground. Don’t forget to place your words in speech bubbles



histories, and perspectives to see and hear.

Wendy MacNaughton

Wendy doesn’t deal with war torn countries. She finds inspiration closer to home, in her own city - San Francisco, America. She believes everyone has a story to tell and they’re eager to share it with her. Wendy creates illustrated documentaries. We talked to her about how she spends time with people to draw and interview them, then puts their words and pictures together to tell a story.


Joe draws each stage of a story in a different square to tell the story as it happens.

Do you take pictures or do you draw from life? Both! I prefer to draw from life because when I do, I’m not just drawing what I see in front of me, but how it feels. I’m trying to capture the feeling of a moment. Also, it makes me work fast and be loose - no way to be a perfectionist. Finally, it says to the viewer, I was here. I saw this. From a reporting perspective, it creates a very different type of story than if I draw away from the subject, from the comfort of my own studio. In your book Meanwhile in San Francisco you document the city. How did you go about doing that and what is most special about the city ? My family has been in San Francisco for five generations but there was still so much about it I didn’t (and still don’t) know. I wanted to learn about the San Francisco you don’t read about in guide books. So I started hanging out with my sketchbook and talking to people. I followed my curiosity. There is always so much more to learn about a place. So many different stories,

Do you research your subject before you start? A little, but not too much. I assume the reader has as little knowledge as I do, and since I work with my subjects own words, I like them to share context and background with me so I can share that with the reader. Often I have to research AFTER to make sure what I include in a story is accurate. That’s called fact checking. Do you go about getting to know people who’s stories you tell by interviewing them or by hanging out? Both! A good interview should feel like a hang out. But sometimes I have to be more formal. It depends on the situation. What was the favourite subject or theme you investigated ? SO MANY. I can’t choose. But I do love hanging out with older folks. Every single senior everywhere in the world has so much to share - so many great stories. I always learn something. Who inspired you to do graphic journalism? I studied social work and art. When I started drawing stories, I didn’t want to put words in people’s mouth - I wanted to give them a voice. By putting the ethics of social work together with the practice of drawing and storytelling, I ended up with Graphic Journalism. But I didn’t know I wanted to do that. I just wanted to tell meaningful, respectful human stories. Do you also do fiction? Not really - most of what I do is drawn from life in one way or another. Even all the charts and diagrams and stuff that I do. But I think it’s really important for all of us - kids especially - to draw from imagination. It teaches us to dream up a new world. If we are going to make this world a better place, the first step it to imagine what that could look like. When I teach kids in my DrawTogether class, we talk about that - first we draw the world we want to see, then we make it come to life. One exception! The Gutsy Girl is a book I did with my wife, the author Caroline Paul, and it was about her adventures in the outdoors. The book inspires kids, especially girls, to be brave and take risks. Much of that was drawn from my imagination, with some reference material for support. That was a special project in every way.


The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020

Olivier Kugler Olivier Kugler is a graphic journalist and lives in London. He studied graphic design and has a masters in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. When Olivier sets out for the destination where his story is, he makes sure he’s carrying his trusted camera and voice recorder. He gets to know the people he’s writing about while also taking pictures to use as a reference later. Back home he takes out a large pad and uses a pencil to draw the scene in black and white before colouring it in on his computer. He likes to draw the big picture, drawing the details that surround the people he’s interviewing. As we look at one of his finished pieces, the entire scene before us with little notes written here and there to explain what’s happening in the picture, we start to see a story emerge. The more closely we look at the picture, the more things we learn about the story. Right: illustration from Escaping Wars and Waves by Olivier Kugler ©

We met Olivier near his studio in Dalston, London and asked him a few questions. Does telling a story with your illustrations make it different to a news story on TV ? I guess producing an illustrated reportage takes more time than creating a news story on TV. My process is quite an elaborate one and isn’t suited to a news story. I spend a long time finding the right people to talk to when I’m on location. I conduct the interviews, take photos of the people and scenes I want to draw later. When I am back in my studio I go through all this material, create rough sketches and then I work on large pencil drawings. I scan them and colour them digitally. I listen to the recordings of the interviews and transcribe them. Then I hand-write the texts and speechbubbles, scan them and place them in the layout. I love to include a lot of details and really enjoy getting into colouring high-lights and shade. Working on a double page spread can take me several days, more likely a week, sometimes longer. I guess what I am attempting to do is a ‘slow’ form of journalism, looking at the detail and letting the people I meet do the talking. It might be interesting for the kids to know that I am not a trained journalist. I am an artist/an illustrator who likes to draw people. When I was a kid I didn’t enjoy writing essays. The idea of adding words to the drawings came about later, when I was more confident with my drawing. I felt that adding text to my drawings would improve my work and make it more engaging. The journalistic aspect of my work is very much trial and error. I am learning on the job and there is a lot to learn! Your drawings portray people and what they say. As a journalist, how important is it that the quotes are precisely word for word? I only write what the people tell me. I find it important to use their own words. Of course I chose the bits that I find most interesting. I often include observations I made on location.

Do you research your subject before you start? Sure. I read online newspaper articles as well as books. I listen to radio programmes about the subject and watch related news items on the TV and internet. You draw a lot of other things surrounding the people. Why are they important? Ha, ha, I love to draw details! They are very important to me. Drawing a recognisable portrait of someone is a start, but if you also include what surrounds them, the portrait is more complete. It also more fun for me to draw. Have you ever changed your mind while reporting on a story? I don’t think I have ever changed my mind completely but I have learnt more. I have become more sensitive about certain subjects. Most importantly I have learnt to look at a story from more than just one angle. Who is your favourite graphic journalist? It’s Joe Sacco. I love his books ‘Palestine’, ‘Safe Area Goradze’ and ‘The Fixer’. His work is both fresh and

also ridiculously elaborate and detailed. His drawings take you to these places and they make you feel like you are meeting all these people he met in person yourself. What are you working on at the moment and what would you wish to report on next ? I am working with my friend - journalist Andrew Humphreys on a book about ‘Fish and Chips’, the most British of all dishes. The book takes us on a journey around the United Kingdom, from the Orkneys down to Cornwall. We visit fish & chip shops and talk with owners and customers. We get to meet fishermen, crabbers, lobster catchers, chefs, environmentalists, historians and boat builders and we invite them to tell their stories. There is so much to talk about: History, migration, fishing, farming, international trade, the decline of industry, Brexit and more. Olivier surrounds his portrait of Rezan and his niece with details from their story. Draw a portrait of your best friend and surround it with things you know and like about them.


How to find out Fake news on the internet and elsewhere is sometimes published deliberately to make people believe something the writers know to be untrue. At other times a story may be true in part but its writers have not checked all the facts before publishing the story. That means some of the facts are not true.

Trueo The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020

How do we learn to tell the difference between true and false stories? Cross Reference Always talk with your parents. It’s good to go online together and discuss with them what you’re looking for, and how you go about looking for it. Discuss with grownups what is real and reliable, and what is not.

Look up the story on other websites, publications or books. If the story appears on trustworthy sources such as well known news sites, there is more probability that the story is true. Fact-checking websites like can also be particularly helpful. See who else is reporting the story by searching on the internet. Professional global news agencies such as Reuters, CNN and the BBC have strict rules and lots of highly trained reporters, so it’s a good place to start.

Propaganda This is like advertising but for politicians and powerful people. Some newspapers, TV and radio stations are financed by a government or by political parties. These are meant to sell their ideas and gain power. They aren’t always honest. It’s always better to get your news on sources which are independent.

Let’s play a game Journey to The Edge of The World

Malaysian student Zackrydz Rodzi had his mobile stolen while he was sleeping. His father found the phone by a palm tree in the jungle next to his home. Zackrydz was surprised to find that a monkey had taken photos of itself (selfies) before abandoning the phone.

People who still believe the Earth is flat claimed they were planning a cruise to what they believe to be “the ice wall that holds back the oceans”. They insist that our planet is a pancake-shape disk with the North Pole in its centre and surrounded on all sides by ice.

Source - ITV News - True. The monkey found the phone colourful and might have thought it was food. One of the videos found on the phone shows the monkey trying to put the camera in its mouth.

Tick True or False.

Monkey Takes Selfies

Source - The Telegraph newspaper - True. Despite the fact we’ve known the Earth is a sphere for 2,000 years, the Flat-Earthers advertised the cruise on their website in March of last year. PS. The World is not flat.

These are all stories that appeared on the internet. Guess which ones really happened and which ones are untrue.

orfalse The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020

Too Crazy to be True If you receive a message from someone who wants to give you a million pounds or euros out of the goodness of their heart, it is most probably not true. It might be a trap to get you to give them money or personal information.


Fake Images


Some people are very good at using computer software to create fake images or to change an existing photo. Look for things like jagged edges around a figure or shadows that shouldn’t be there.

Misleading Headlines

Sometimes an old news story makes a comeback. Always look at the date it was written or search for the source of the news through a search engine to check if it’s just old news.

People who sell products sometimes pay others to write nice things about their product. Always look out for words such as ‘Advertorial’, ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Promoted’ in small letters above or below an article. People who are paid to sell something might only mention the good things and not tell the whole story.

Robot waiter with no mask

Lottery Winner’s Revenge

Spider Makes its Home in Man’s Ear

Artificial Intelligence has just got a job as a waiter in a restaurant in South Korea. A trolley-like robot called “Aglio Kim” waits on customers to help ensure social distancing because of Covid-19. Customers order through a touch-screen and Aglio brings the food to their table.

After 54-year-old Brian Morris from Illinois, USA won the lottery, he quit his job and then dumped $224,000 worth of manure (that’s poo to you and me) on his former employer’s driveway. That’s over 20,000 tons of manure. He can’t have liked his job!

Doctors at a hospital in eastern China were surprised to find a spider inside a man’s ear, squatting (is that what spiders do?) by his eardrum. The tiny spider had spun a web in the man’s ear canal. The doctors eventually flushed the spider out with a squirt of salty water.

Source - Reuters - True. This serving robot has been developed by South Korean telecoms company KT Corp. Itis rather fast and can deliver food to four tables at once.

Source - World News Daily Report - False. The news site plays on fictional (that’s untrue) stories for laughs. This is sometimes called satire, the use of humour, exaggeration, or ridicule to show people’s stupidity or bad behaviour.

Source - - True. This kind of incident is luckily quite rare, and caused no harm to the man.


News headlines are short and may sometimes not give you the whole picture. Headlines are written to tempt your interest. Read the complete article to make sure you understand the whole story.

The Journalist - 18th Oct 2020

The Politician



(1)Propaganda (2)Coxhead (3)Shepard (4)false (5)graphic (6)computer (7)snopes (8)George Orwell (9)advertorial (10)reporter (11)investigative (12)trust (13)Plucky (14)Alvarez (15)true (16)voice recorder.


The Happy News Now here’s a great reason for going into journalism. Emily Coxhead, an illustrator from the town of Euxton (now try saying that!) in the British Isles, decided her job was to make people happy. After all, journalism is the way to make a better world. Emily created a newspaper with positive news, happy news. “That is what the Happy Newspaper is all about” says Emily, “It is a reminder that there are all these good things happening all over the world.” Emily launched the newspaper five years ago when she was 22 years old. She was going through a difficult patch and news on TV and newspapers only made her feel worse. She thought that if she sprinkled a bit of happiness all over the planet, some of it will rub off. The Happy News is read by over 20,000 subscribers in 33 different countries and comes out every quarter. The current issue includes an uplifting story about a new bionic eye which will help blind people see, and another about the lunar loo challenge launched by NASA (it’s a tough job pooing in space!). There’s another story about elderly residents in a care home in Brazil who have created a covid-safe ‘hug tunnel’; a plastic curtain specifically designed to hug your relatives through. The Happy News also informed us of a bank in Nigeria that handed out free smart phones to children from low-income families so they could still attend their lessons when their school closed due to Covid-19.

Across 3. What is the name of the British illustrator who documented soldiers in World War 1 but is also known for illustrating a popular children’s book? (7) 5. What kind of journalism has words added to illustrations? (7) 9. What word starts with ‘a’ and indicates an article is paid by a product or a company? (11) 11. What kind of journalist was Daphne Caruana Galizia? (13) 12. What journalism needs to inspire (5) 14. Who was the Detroit journalist who created Outlier Media to help her fellow citizens? (7) 16. What does illustrator Olivier Kugler take with him aside from his camera when he interviews people? (5,8)

Down 1. What do media owned by political parties produce? (10) 2. Who started The Happy News? (7) 4. What is another word for untrue? (4) 6. What do some people use to create fake images? (8) 7. A fact-checking website we mentioned (6) 8. Which journalist inspired graphic journalist Joe Sacco? (6,6) 10. Another word for journalist (8) 13. Having or showing determined courage in the face of difficulties. Also the name of your favourite newspaper (6) 15. Keeps to the facts (4) Answers on the right

The girl who wanted to right the world Fearless is a book that tells the story of an investigative journalist named Daphne Caruana Galizia. We have a beautiful signed print of one of the illustrations in the book to give away to the winner of this competition. All you need to do is draw a picture of Daphne and write underneath what you like about her story. To know more about her story or to buy Fearless, click here. Email your competition entries to before 15 June 2021

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