How to Critically Analyze Newspaper Articles

By Lisa Basile
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The media has an important role. Newspapers especially have a significant impact on society. They deliver information on a daily basis. This information is not only vital to relaying information to the masses. News articles document the world's history and provide an archive of the way people think, feel and behave at any point in time. It is important to analyze the way a news article is written because objective journalism is key in reporting events accurately.

Select A Newspaper

Step 1

The Media Has a Responsibility to its Readers
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Pick a newspaper that is of interest. It can be a major newspaper or a local alternative paper. Select a news article and read it from beginning to end with an eye the way the information is delivered. Pay close attention to the reason the news article is being written. Make sure that the article directly relates to the main point and that it provides additional information to help the reader understand the point of the article. The headline should not be misleading.

Step 2

Determine if The News Article is Biased
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Determine if the article is biased in any direction. Read for implications or judgment within the story. According to Media Awareness Network, the article should not be slanted in any one way or be written so that a corporation, idea or person is sponsored either directly or indirectly. The writer should not have a conflict of interest in regards to the piece and all the work should reflect all ideas within the story in a balanced fashion.

Step 3

The News Must Cite Its Sources
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Determine if the news article states its sources and attributes its information correctly. The Reuters Handbook of Journalism details the journalist's duty to report all information sources to the reader. The story cannot make a generalization or provide information without any way to back it up. Sources, too, must be balanced.

Step 4

The News Should Tell The Truth
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Determine if the material is accurate. Read for blatant exaggerations or hype and take note of any false information. According to the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, all news articles must be free from exaggeration or falsified information. Articles should use words that honestly represent the reality of the piece. Words should be chosen carefully and thoughtfully.

Step 5

Readers Should Not be Shocked Unnecessarily
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Determine if the use of unnecessary obscenity or graphic images of a violent nature are displayed simply for shock value. The news aims to alert readers to realities that may be graphic or violent in nature. However, there photos and information that are included should accurately reflect the situation at hand and not be used in a way that will offend or titillate the readers.

About the Author

Lisa Basile has been writing for magazines and newspapers since 2003. She has a Master of Fine Arts in writing and has contributed to local news and national magazines such as "Billboard," "Maxim" and "Cosmo!Girl." Basile also edits an online magazine and writes daily content for Alloy Media.