These text-related questions are designed to help you interrogate the codes and conventions of the news.
Do not use them all, but choose as many as will help you assess your chosen news report.
What type of news story is this? (Local, national, international etc.)
Is the news story dated? Is it a current date?
What is its form? e.g., an official news report, a blog, tweet, social media post, press release, feature story, editorial/column (i.e., opinion), comment, review, or an ad disguised as news? Other?
How might its medium/form affect the credibility of this story? E.g., a Tweet vs a story in a mainstream newspaper website.
What are its explicit messages?
What are the codes and conventions used (or misused)?
Does the headline appear in FULL CAPS?
Are there spelling or grammatical errors?
Are there prejudicial words, e.g., ‘spics’ instead of ‘Hispanic?’
Are there dog whistle words (dog whistle words are coded terms that some groups use to refer to minority groups or issues), e.g., ‘Illegal Alien,’ ‘Shariah Law,’ ‘Welfare,’ ‘Food Stamps,’ ‘Law and Order,’ ‘Cut Taxes,’ ‘Inner City,’ ‘police brutality,’ ‘anti-feminist,’ or ‘workers’ rights.’
Does the news report use stereotypes rather than representing people as fully human?
Does the news report use verifiable facts and information to support and develop a point of view?
Does the news article cite sources? Contain links? Do the links support/verify the news?
Are the facts in the news validated or invalidated by FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, Snopes.com or Hoax-Slayer.com, etc.?
Whose point of view is/are represented in the news story?
Does this story represent multiple points of view?
Are significant points of view/voices omitted?
Does the news report include rebuttals or responses from the people/institution it is reporting on? (If not, does it explain that it asked for a response but didn’t get one?)
What might be its implicit messages?
What values are being promoted?
Can you find stories that contradict/invalidate this news or provide a different point of view?
Are the other news stories on the same website believable?
Do they reveal any biases?
Is there a comments section?
Do the comments challenge or support the news?
Is there a statement urging you to share this widely?
Are there any images, videos etc. in the news story?
What part of the news story is represented in the images/video?
What is omitted?
How do the images support or modify/interact with the text? The headline?
Does an image search (tintype.com) indicate that this image is real (not Photoshopped) and related to the news?