How to Cite an Article From CNN

How you cite a CNN online article depends upon two things: whether you're citing the article in your text or in a reference section and which style sheet you're following. The Associated Press has one widely followed stylesheet, but several newspapers have their own. Many academic associations, such as the Modern Language Association and the American Psychological Association, also have stylesheets. Each has different format requirements.

AP Style

If you're citing the CNN article in your reference section using AP style, you name the publication, followed by a full colon and the name of the article. Here's an article as it first appeared on the CNN website: "Obama pokes fun at GOP during State of the Union Speech." To cite it in your reference section, write, CNN: Obama Pokes Fun at GOP During State of the Union Speech. The title of the article as it appeared on the CNN site is written in sentence case: Only the first word, proper names and titles and references to well-known specific locations and events -- here "State of the Union Speech" -- are capitalized. AP style, however, calls for "title case," where most words -- nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and pronouns -- are capitalized. Articles and prepositions of three letters or less, such as "in" and "at," are not.

APA Style References

Chelsea Lee, writing on the APA's style blog, notes that the APA, unlike AP, does not recognize a format difference for printed content and online content. What determines the citation format is whether it's a journal article, book or e-book, newspaper story or blog. APA style uses sentence case and requires the publication date. Since the CNN article was found online, APA style recommends either a digital object identifier in the citation or, when the article does not have one, the URL. Two alternate citation forms for another CNN article on the same subject are: Obama goes on offense - (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from

Obama goes on offense. (2015, January 23). CNN. Retrieved from

MLA Style

MLA style is similar to the more formal APA style but eliminates the "retrieved from" wording before the URL and references "CNN" three times -- once as the immediate source -- -- and then twice more, identifying the company that controls the website by its initials -- CNN -- and then spelling out the abbreviation: Cable News Network. The "n.d." indicates that the website itself has no specified origination date. The web date of the specified article is then cited with a concluding period -- Web. 23 January. 2015.

"Obama Goes on Offense -" CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2015.

In-Text Citations

The format requirements for in-text citations are less rigorous, provided that the essential information is given: online source, plus the date and title of the article. A possible AP citation: "On January 23, 2015, in an online CNN article titled "Obama Goes on Offense," the cable news network maintained that…." APA style prefers that the citation is in parentheses: CNN maintains .... (CNN, January 23, 2016) or CNN maintains .... (Cable News Network, January 23, 2016). MLA in-text citations are similar, but they normally include the .com origin: CNN maintains .... (, January 23, 2016).

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