METHODOLOGY and VOCABULARY TO READ and ANALYSE A PRESS ARTICLE

 

I - LOOKING FOR INFORMATION

II - UNDERSTANDING THE ARTICLE

III - The journalist

 

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British and American Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I - LOOKING FOR INFORMATION

An article must be considered as a whole. So, before reading an article, you must look carefully at several important elements (peripheral information): name of the magazine/newspaper the article is taken from, date of publication, name of the journalist, title, accompanying picture(s)

 

1

the source of the article

When was the article published?

 

     Does the date have any special significance?

       Was it written before or after any special event?

Where was the article published?

       Is it an American / English newspaper / a magazine?

Who wrote the article?

       Is he/she a politically-committed journalist / a well-known politician /a supporter of women's rights/ ...?

2

The headline(s)

subtitle / subheading

        Do they reveal the subject of the article?

        Is there a pun (un jeu de mots) or a cultural allusion in the headline?

3

The illustration(s) 

- if any

       What is the nature of the illustration

    (photo / cartoon / painting / etc...)?

       Does the illustration give any information

    - about the content of the article?

    - about the approach to the problem?

       Does the caption reveal anything?

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II - UNDERSTANDING THE ARTICLE

Even if an article contains several words you do not know, you will certainly be able to infer (deduce) their meaning with the help of the context

1

The first paragraph

       Does it contain the gist (= the essential) of the information?

This is the case with many articles:

The first paragraph is either an example of the subject or a general introduction to it.

It contains the essential information and therefore must be read carefully.

       Does it recall an anecdote which serves as a starting-point for the article?  If so, what is it?

2

The content

and

organization

of the article

       What supplementary information is provided by the rest of the article? 

     details / examples / facts and figures, etc.

Most articles are divided into paragraphs. Each paragraph deals with one aspect of the subject. In general, the first sentence of each paragraph is the most important one. It summarizes what will be developed in the paragraph.

       What are the linkwords, the keywords?

They are essential in an article. They enable you to see how the journalist structures the various elements : information (facts and figures), examples, arguments.

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III - The journalist

 

1

the aim OF THE JOURNALIST

       The journalist wants  

--> to inform / to persuade the reader

--> to criticize / to denounce

2

the journalist's POINT OF VIEW

       Is the journalist objective / unbiased or biased?

    Does he provide facts and figures or does he remain very vague?

    Does he present different viewpoints? If so, does he take sides (prendre parti)?

When reading an article, it is important to make the difference between the objective presentation of facts and the subjective use of words (modals, adverbs, adjectives) and sentences that allow the journalist to give his/her point of view on the subject and thus influence the reader.

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Madame Yannick Guillet