Annotation Practice 1:
Fact-Based Journalism

Assignment

For this assignment you will write parts of three annotations for fact-based journalism articles. For the coverage report itself, your annotations for fact-based sources will include the following:

However, for this assignment, you can skip the summary, write the provenance bit, and just jot down notes about bias.

Here are the articles you're assigned to write about:

Please note: the first and second sources are what we would call "breaking news," and the third is what we would call "follow-up reporting" (see Journalism Continuum for details).

Tips

Provenance

The key word in that line about provenance is discuss. That means more than identifying the facts about where a source came from; you must tell us what those facts mean. Is it trustworthy? Is the writer qualified to report the story? Are there other red flags about the source we should keep in mind?

The other thing to think about is that you need to be very frugal with your words, and you need to choose carefully what to include and what to leave out. If you write up every detail that you find, your annotations will become way too long and you'll waste all your time. Of course the opposite is true too: if you include too few details, your writing becomes vague and each annotation becomes interchangeable. There's a sweet spot in the middle—maybe three-ish sentences (one on the author, one on the publication, and one to discuss what it all means?)—that you need to find.

Bias

Remember that fact-based journalism must carefully manage and minimize its bias, sticking pretty close to the immediate facts and not running off on tangents or speculation. Remember too that such articles typically follow the "inverted pyramid" approach, arranging facts in descending order of relevance and importance. Thus, if bias appears near the top of the article, that's way worse than it appearing near the bottom.

Remember, for this assignment you need not write out full sentences as they will appear in the final coverage report—it's enough to just jot down notes about the bias you see so that you'll be prepared to discuss in class. It might pay to revisit our readings on the Journalism Continuum and Bottom-Up Media Bias.

Consider as well that an effective discussion of bias will likely include three things: (1) an identification of bias (in the form of a quote or paraphrase, probably), (2) a explanation of why the example does indeed represent bias (might help if you can name the kind of bias it is), and (3) an indication of whether this example of bias falls within or without the limits of acceptable bias for the particular type of source you're analyzing.

Also, don't forget that some samples have been posted for your convenience.

Turn It In

This assignment should be uploaded to your Submitted folder on Dropbox by classtime on Wednesday, June 19. Please follow the file-naming and format guidelines.

We will be working with this assignment in class, so either bring a printout with you or have it ready to access on a device.