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FSEM 122 - Talking Climate (Perring)

Resources for investigating thoughts and actions in regard to climate change.

Guiding Questions for Critically Assessing the News

Consider the following:

1. Vocabulary

  • Why has the author chosen to use certain words? Are word choices neutral? Do they generate an emotional response? Do they convey a negative or positive bias?
  • How is the headline/title phrased? Does it accurately reflect the content of the article?

2. Fact vs. Opinion

  • Can you identify the facts presented, and separate them from opinion or interpretation?
  • What is the balance between fact and opinion?
  • Are sources clearly identified? Are cited sources presented as factual? Are those sources in themselves slanted or partial to a certain viewpoint?
  • Is there consistency of factual information across an array of articles on the topic?

3. Presentation of Information

  • What is not said? What has been played down, or buried later in the article?
  • What kind of information does the author choose to focus on in the first half of the article?
  • Is the information presented in a well-organized manner? Is there a logical flow, or does the author's thinking seem sloppy?

5. Audience

  • Is there evidence that the author makes assumptions about the viewpoints of readers?
  • Does the publication have a targeted audience? 
  • Think about yourself as a reader: what personal biases or viewpoints might influence your evaluation of the author's reliability?

6. Images

  • If there are accompanying images, do they affect your response to the article?

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