Although newspaper readership has declined over the past several decades due to the emergence of television and the internet as dominant news formats, the news article is still prominent in today's society. Whether read in print or online, the news article hasn't changed its format of using text and photographs to create a story for hundreds of years.
The newspaper article, also sometimes called a newspaper story, takes the facts of a particular event or situation, and is molded by writers/editors to create a cohesive story that has a beginning and end. Just like other forms of media, newspaper articles are crafted with people who want to send a specific message into the world about a certain topic.
Although we would hope that the people bringing us the news would have no bias when doing so, this is simply not possible. Everyone has a bias about something, even if they don't realize it. The best we can expect is to realize the bias exists and determine for ourselves whether we'll accept or reject the story being told to us.
Below are some ways to analyze newspaper articles or stories.
Note: You can learn a lot more about this topic by buying our book, Practical Media Literacy: An essential guide to the critical thinking skills for our digital world. You would be supporting our work so that we can bring you more great resources.
1. Who wrote the article? Is the author connected in some way to the issue being discussed? Is the newspaper or news organization affiliated with people who want to project a particular point of view (like a company or a political party)? Does the author's political affiliations conflict with the integrity of the story (surely it does). The author will take sides and project the values he/she believes in.
2. Why did the writer write the article? Is the purpose to inform the public? Is the purpose to ridicule someone or something? Maybe the purpose is to create fear? Or maybe the author wants to create controversy and sell more papers?
3. How might other people view the article? Are there stereotypes in the article about people of a different gender, race, social class, or religion? Would anyone be offended by what the author wrote about?
These are just a few things to think about. There are always more questions to ask about every topic. Below are links to some news organizations that might have current articles worth analyzing.
CNN (the original cable news network)
Fox News (a recognized conservative cable news outlet)
Yahoo! News (collects news from various sources and presents them together)
The Los Angeles Times (a local mass-market newspaper)
Want more ideas on how to analyze the news? Visit our forums and join the discussion.
You can learn a lot more about this topic by buying our book, Practical Media Literacy: An essential guide to the critical thinking skills for our digital world. You would be supporting our work so that we can bring you more great resources.