Newspaper Analysis Worksheet

Journalism                                                        DUE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2007

Edina High School

Mr. Hatten

Newspaper analysis assignment


For this assignment you will be given a newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, New York Times or USA TODAY).    On notebook paper or word processed, write your name on your assignment, identify your newspaper and be specific about the rest of the information in the assignment.


Look at the cover page (Page 1) of your newspaper. 

  • What stories are above the fold (the crease that folds the paper in half)?
  • What stories are below the fold?
  • How many stories are there total? 
  • Summarize how the stories are broken up: how many are national, local, sports, entertainment, human interest, follow-up, etc.?  Classify them.
  • What picture is the largest picture (this is called the lede photo)
  • What other pictures or graphics are on the front page and do they correspond to a story?  If so, to what story?
  • Read each story in full – even if they “jump” to another page (ie. “Continued on Page 14A”)
  • For each story:
    • How many sentences into the story is the first quote?
    • Who is quoted and what is their significance to the story?
    • How far into the story is the nut graf?  What is the nut graf (write it out)?
    • How would you classify the story:
      • is it straight news in an inverted pyramid?
      • Is it presented as conflict? 
      • Is it explanatory (­those that reveal how things work, how they fit into larger trends, or describe a policy or historical context of an event)?
      • Is it local, national, world, sports, entertainment or business in nature (it may be two or these)?
      • What do you think “triggered” the story?  Where did the story come from?  Was it an event, a newsroom-generated story, from a press release, a need to analyze, interpret or to preview something, was it someone calling the newspaper and offering a story? 
      • What are the top two news elements involved in this story?



Look at the cover page of a different section of your newspaper and do the same analysis as above


Write a paragraph summary of your findings telling me something about the style and tendencies of this particular newspaper.