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How to Critique a Newspaper Article

Updated April 17, 2017

Step 1

Summarize the article. If you are writing a formal critique, this is an important step. A summary should be brief, and it should demonstrate that you know what the article is about. You cannot accurately or appropriately critique an article you did not understand. Summarizing helps you clarify what you did not understand at first. If you found an article difficult to follow, you might want to include that in your critique after your summary.

Step 2

Discuss what works and what doesn't. The balance of an effective critique of a newspaper article will be the discussion of its strengths and weaknesses. Talk about whether the article was engaging, whether the headline was accurate, intriguing or sensationalist and your overall impressions of the article. Be sure to use specific examples when making general observations and try to suggest how you would fix what you perceive to be negative aspects of the article.

Step 3

Analyze the article's slant and focus. Many articles have a slant, a unique way of looking at the subject. Even straight reporting of a newsworthy event has a slant that sets it apart from coverage in other outlets. You might also find, depending on the paper, a distinct bias in the article. Consider the language used and whether the article's writer treats both sides of the issue fairly. Consider the use of words like "claims" rather than "says" after a quote and its connotations — it suggests the writer does not believe the person quoted.

Step 4

Research the article's accuracy. If you suspect something in the article has been misstated or is outright false, research it yourself. Most major newspapers have strict fact-checking rules, but mistakes can be made. Multiple factual errors in the same article or paper could point to a strong bias, an issue with the paper's credibility or a lack of journalistic standards at the paper.

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About the Author

Jennifer Reynolds is a professional writer covering crafting, electronics and entertainment topics. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from York University.