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How to Annotate a Newspaper Article


An annotation of a newspaper article serves as a brief analysis of the original piece. Written in concise language, an annotation is intended to explain the article succinctly and illuminate the meaning behind the article. An annotation differs from a standard summary or an abstract in that the writer of an annotation is expected to use some of his own knowledge and judgment while annotating the article. An annotation should help the reader decide if reading the original article would be worthwhile.

Begin your annotation with the source citation, according the style guide you are using, such as MLA or APA. Your instructor might have specific requirements.

Using MLA for a print newspaper article, your citation should look like this:

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Print.

Using MLA for an electronic newspaper article, your citation should look like this:

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Title of article. Name of Site. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.

Note that your citation should be formatted in a hanging indent; Word has a hanging-indent function.

Using APA for a print newspaper article, your citation should look like this:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy

Using APA for an electronic newspaper article, your citation should look like this:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. pages.

Note that your citation should be formatted in a hanging indent; Word has a hanging-indent function.

Read the newspaper article carefully and with an analytical mind. Consider who wrote the article, when the newspaper printed it and the type of publication in which it appeared. For example, the author of an article published in a specialized trade publication might have a markedly different outlook from a writer for a general-interest daily newspaper.

Research the qualifications of the article's author and discern why he wrote the piece. Identify the main ideas and the overall message the article's author is trying to communicate. Begin to formulate a critical evaluation of the article's content.

Notice the article's level of reading difficulty and whether it contains any jargon, scientific terminology or arcane language aimed at readers in a specific business or industry. Compare the article to other works you have read on similar topics. Ask yourself what the article adds to the existing body of knowledge on the subject.

Write a concise one-paragraph annotation of the article, using the ideas you developed while reading and analyzing the piece. Begin your annotation by citing the author's name, the article's title, the name of the publication in which it appeared and the date it was published.

Explain the primary idea of the article and whether the author succeeded in conveying his message. Note any areas in which the article's author fell short of his goal and how those parts of the article could have been improved.

Keep your annotation short and remain on topic. Write at least three or four sentences in your annotation of a newspaper article, but do not exceed a length of approximately 150 words. Write your annotation in the third person, refraining from the use of "you" or "I."

Items you will need
Newspaper article
Word-processing program
About the Author

Steven Wilkens has been a professional editor and writer since 1994. His work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines, including "The Honolulu Advertiser" and "USA Today." Wilkens received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.

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