How to Analyze Newspaper Language

Newspaper articles (or 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. The author/s sometimes want to send a specific message into the world about a certain topic. Analyzing a newspaper or magazine article requires specific skills which few people acquire without deliberately learning and practicing. The following article provides the steps and instructions for analyzing newspaper language.

Instructions for Newspaper Analysis

  1. 1
    Find a newspaper article that interests you. Give the title and date. Use online databases to find articles in journals, newspapers and magazines. You can even use old newspapers. You can also go to a library. You can search for articles by the article author, title, or keyword.
  2. 2
    Summarise the main points of the article in your own words. It is much easier if you note down the brief and important points. Take notes on a notepad, usually as a bullet list or paragraphs.
  3. 3
    State the purpose of the article. You must note that many articles may have multiple purposes (e.g. to entertain and persuade). Identify what you consider to be the main purpose, explaining your reasons in the 4th step if necessary.
    • To entertain
    • To inform
    • To persuade
    • To examine/explore an issue
    • To describe/report
    • To instruct
  4. 4
    Explain your choice of purpose by quoting word(s) or phrase(s) from the article to support your answer to step 3. While quoting, present them in a creative idea to give your reader a good impression about your analysis.
  5. 5
    Identify the tone of the article. You must keep in mind that many articles will contain a variety of tones. You should identify one significant tone, or the tone which seems to pervade the article.
  6. 6
    Justify your choice of tone with evidence from the text. Quote words or phrases from the article and analyse how they create the tone you identified in step 5.
  7. 7
    Identify three techniques which have been employed by the writer. Analyse each technique and explain its purpose or effect. Basic techniques to comment on include: word-choice, imagery and sentence structure. Refer to the ‘Higher English Terminology List’ for more detail and further techniques
  8. 8
    Remember than newspaper articles are written in an “inverse pyramid” style, with the main detail up front. This is so an article can change between early and late editions, and be shortened, without affecting its essential content.
  9. 9
    Quote three words from the article that are unfamiliar to you. Define them using a dictionary or online dictionary. Many words have several definitions. Be certain to only provide the definition appropriate to this context. If you cannot find three words unknown to you, choose three which you think are particularly complex, sophisticated or interesting, and define them.
  10. 10
    Think about the ideas, opinions or issues involved in the article you have read. Write a short personal response to the article – what is your opinion or reaction to the topic/issue? What questions does it make you ask? Do you agree or disagree with the article’s stance? What did you find interesting, puzzling or informative about the article? What event led to the writing of the article?

Method2 Instructions for Comparative Newspaper Analysis

  1. 1
    Choose a news story which has been reported in any two newspaper and provide a link to each. It's better to choose an article from any two renowned newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Guardian, as they provide us with quality information
  2. 2
    Write a brief summary (4-6 sentences) of the incident/topic both articles are reporting on. Make sure you cover all the important points.
  3. 3
    Comment on the differences between the two articles under the following headings. Support your answer with quotations.
    • Content and detail: What extra details does one article offer over the other? What details have been missed out?
    • Vocabulary and complexity of language: How complex is the language of each article? What words in particular are usual or interesting? Is there any technical jargon?
    • Tone What is the tone of each article? If they are different, consider why.
    • Attitude/stance/bias of the writer: Does the writer of either article has an agenda or preference? How can you tell? Can you identify any newspaper bias in the article?
    • Accompanying pictures, illustrations, graphics and graphs: What graphics are included with each article? How does the choice of accompanying images reflect the articles' differences? Does the choice of photo/illustration influence the way the story is being presented?
  4. 4
    Explain which article you prefer and why. You may make your decision based on any criteria you choose (e.g. how entertaining/clear/informative/stylish the article was) as long as you make it clear on which criteria you have judged the articles. Support any statement you make with quotations.

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