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Information Literacy Modules
  • What is a newspaper?

    A newspaper is published daily or weekly (periodically) in print and online and contains:

    • Breaking news
    • Investigative reports
    • Photographs
    • Videos

    It may also contain:

    • Advertisements (display, classified)
    • Reviews
    • Editorials
    • Op-ed articles
    • Letters to the editor
    • Columns
    • Political cartoons
    • Comic strips
    • Crosswords and other puzzles
    • Weather forecast
    • TV and movie listings

  • How do I know it's a newspaper?

    Is this word in the periodical title?

    • Bugle
    • Chronicle
    • Daily
    • Dispatch
    • Enquirer
    • Express
    • Gazette
    • Guardian
    • Herald
    • News
    • Post
    • Supplement
    • Telegraph
    • Times
    • Weekly

    Does the title sometimes include a place?

    • The Times of India
    • Guangzhou Daily
    • St. Petersburg Times
    • Copenhagen Post

  • How does a newspaper article differ from a magazine?

    • Headline has a compressed main idea written in a subject-verb-object format with a present-tense, active verb
    • Neutral tone
    • Focuses on daily reporting rather than weekly or monthly summary and analysis
    • Online articles contain time stamp
    • Story is written as an inverted pyramid with essential facts (who, what, where, when and why) in the lead sentences

  • What if I'm not sure it's a newspaper?

    Search the publication's name

    • Does the Google search snippet describe it as a newspaper?
    • Is it listed in a newspaper directory?
    • IPL2 Newspapers

  • Does the database include newspapers?

  • Did I limit my search to newspapers?

    Tip: Search on popular (not scholarly) keywords:

    • frog fungus not Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
    • slow heart rate not bradycardia

  • What clues to a newspaper are in a database citation?

    • Unsigned
    • Catchy article title
    • Newspaper name
    • Month, day and year
    • Database exclusively for newspapers

  • How do I evaluate a reporter's authority?

    A journalist may be unnamed or have minimal credentials:

    • Member of the editorial staff
    • Free-lance journalist
    • Citizen journalist

    Click on the author's byline or search on the name to identify expertise like:

    • A reporting specialization
    • A long-form publication (e.g., a book or report) on the subject
    • First-hand knowledge of people and events
    • Prior relevant work experience

  • How do I fact-check an article?

    Follow the trail of evidence to see who the writer links to, quotes or references:

    • Has the journalist represented the original source accurately?
    • Is data presented fully or "cherry picked" to suppress contradictory evidence?
    • Are the journalist's sources credible and relevant? (Tip: If the sources are unnamed, e-mail the reporter.)
    • How strong is the evidence? If there is a study or poll, is the sample size large enough to represent the population accurately?

    Corroborate: Compare information from different media (e.g., magazines, reports, journals, blogs) to gather diverse viewpoints.

  • How do I evaluate the article's credibility?

    • Does the article describe an issue in neutral language?
    • Are multiple views fully and fairly represented?
    • Do the conclusions follow logically from the analysis?

    How does this source fit?

    • Does it add another dimension to the topic?
    • Does this make sense, given what I already know?

  • How do I cite a newspaper article?

    Gather elements for your citation from the online or print newspaper.

    • Author(s)
    • Title
    • Section
    • Pages
    • Newspaper name
    • City of publication
    • Month, day, year of publication
    • Edition