As a developing journalist, critical analysis is very important to determine whether a news paper article is believable or not; whether it is based on facts or fallacies or whether it is based on hearsay or gossip or whether it is based on misleading information intended to blind people. As newspapers profoundly influence the opinion and awareness of the people in a city, it is important for a student to develop the skills of reviewing a news article in a critical fashion and to determine what news is credible and what news is not.
There is a particular format for writing a review of a news paper article. A typical review may be two to four pages long. You may be asked to review one or two reports as the case may be. A news paper article review consists of two parts: the summary and the actual critical review.
In the first part i.e. the summary part of the review, you need to briefly describe the salient features of the news article. The article could be about an incident, event, place or person. The summary should mention the writer’s view points and the position he takes, as well as the conclusions.
Reading the summary would provide the reader an understanding of what is being measured or tested in this paper. Through the summary, you would also demonstrate your own understanding of the content of the news article. This provides a foundation for your review. Summarising also helps you to identify and mention the key issues raised in the article.
Once you have summarised the article, you can then write about the impression, which the article, makes on you. You can elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of the article. You can explain as to what are the features which add to the trust-quotient and reliability of the article and what detracts from it.
You can determine the overall style of the article: Was it serious and objective? Was it exaggerated? Did it appear to be implausible (and if so, explain why). What was the slant of the article? Were there any bias? If so, you need to mention if you could you identify and specify the bias and why it decreases the objectivity of the article.
As a reviewer, you would need to judge whether the writer is considering all sides to the particular issue under consideration and is making a fair evaluation. Also, examine the uses of terms and phrases which convey use of facts, rather than use of speculations and assumptions in making opinions.
Check whether the writer is citing facts and quotations and verifiable evidence which strengthen his or her position on the issue. The quality of a paper can be checked by the number of factual errors in it. If there are a considerable number of factual errors and these can be verified, then it raises serious doubts on the quality and reliability of the paper. In your review, you would have to mention these.
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