Elements of Critical Thinking for News Analysis

Some elements of critical thinking to use in analyzing news stories
Professor Beck
1) What is the basic information being presented – what is the key point? How
would you summarize it in one sentence?
2) How is the key point supported – what facts are listed? How are the sources for
those facts cited?
3) Is the story complete – have you been fully informed, or are there questions that
haven’t been answered?
4) Does the article make sense – is it logical?
5) If the article is a news story, are all relevant sides presented, or only one side?
6) Whose perspective is the story told from?
7) What information can be inferred from the story without making unwarranted
8) Who witnessed the events being reported – and are the witnesses credible?
9) Did the witnesses actually see the events, or are they relaying information they
heard from others?
10) Is the writer’s opinion presented? Does the writer just present facts, or does the
writer also give an opinion about what the facts mean, imply or predict? Does the
writer make a value judgment – whether the information is good or bad, right or
wrong? Does the writer cite facts to support any opinions?
11) How does the article use adjectives, particularly adjectives that have a connotation
of judgment (“that was a good performance,” for example)
12) Is the author showing a bias or prejudice? Does the author unduly favor one side
or another, by choice of language or priority in the way story elements are
13) What qualifications does the author have for writing the story?
14) Who has anything to gain by the publishing of the story?
15) How will the reader-listener-viewer use the information for making decisions and
taking action based on those decisions?