The purpose of this Critical Process ‘
exercise is to sharpen your analytical approach to news. Over a period of three
weekdays, study the New York Times. USA Today, and any local daily paper. Devise
a chart and a descriptive scheme so that you can compare how each of the three
Papers covers international news. You should consider international news to be any
news story that is predominantly about another country or about another nation’s
relationship with the United States. You may include the sports section of the papers.
Follow these steps as you work on your project: 1. Description. Count the total
number of international news stories in each paper. Which foreign cities are
covered? Which countries? What are the subjects of these stories (civil wars, anti-
Americanism, natural disasters, travelogue profiles, etc.)? 2. Analysis. Using your
chart as a guide, write two or three paragraphs discussing patterns that emerge.
What locales get the most attention? What kinds of stories appear most frequently?
In other words, what kind of issue or event makes another country newsworthy? Do
not try to summarize your entire chart here. Instead, focus on three or four intriguing
patterns that you noticed. 3. interpretation. Write a two- or three-paragraph critical
interpretation of your findings. What does your analysis mean? Why do you think
some countries appear more frequently than others? Why might certain kinds of
stories seem to get featured? 4. Evaluation. Discuss the limitations of your study.
Which paper seemed to do the best/worst job of covering the rest of the world?
Why? Do you think newspapers give us enough information about other people’s
cultures and experiences? Do local papers have the same obligation to cover
international news as the NYT or USA Today? 5. Engagement. Considering the
strengths and weaknesses of the local paper’s coverage of international news and
other cultures, write a letter to the editor of the local paper you chose to study over
the three day period mentioning what the paper does well in coverage of
international news. and suggest what the paper might do better. You do not have to
submit it for publication, but you should include it as part of this project.
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