There are several factors to consider when reading news reports. For example, relevance, sources of information, ideological-based thinking, and how to separate opinion from fact. The title of an article can give you an idea of the content. Also, you may read the editorial section to get a general idea of the topic.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed participants’ media consumption habits to discover what influences the relevance of news. They found that people are more likely to engage with news that is relevant to their lives. For instance, if a story is about a recent disaster in their city, people are more likely to read about it than if it is about something irrelevant.
The relevance of a news report also depends on how a news story has been framed. Newspapers use a variety of framing techniques to make it seem more urgent or relevant. The framing process is guided by the news values of recency, proximity, urgency, and commonsense. Ultimately, news framing is about turning events into stories.
Sources of information
While reading a news report, it is important to consider the sources of information. Many sources of news are classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary. These classifications are based on the origin of the material and the proximity to the source. As a result, you should consider whether or not a source is reliable.
Primary sources are those who have firsthand knowledge of a subject. They may include witnesses to a crime or the union leader leading a wage negotiation. Primary sources are often the most accurate sources of information.
When reading a news report, you may be inclined to apply ideological-based thinking. This is because ideologies embody sociocultural values and norms. One example is equality. This social value is relevant to women, minorities, and other groups, such as anti-racist and feminist ideologies. Yet the same value may have a different function for a manager, a youth, or an immigrant.
Identifying fact from opinion
Identifying fact from opinion when reading a news report is an important skill to develop as a reader. While opinions are subjective and can change over time, facts are simple statements made to inform and make arguments. To identify whether a statement is factual, the reader must ask questions and consider whether it is observable in operation or practice. Moreover, a factual statement should be verified by witnesses.
A recent Pew Research Center study questioned 5,035 U.S. adults to identify five statements as either a fact or an opinion. Results showed that most of the respondents had difficulty identifying fact from opinion. The results revealed that only 32% of the survey subjects were able to tell fact from opinion. A good rule of thumb is to avoid media that stokes anger or fear.