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How to annotate a newspaper article

Updated May 11, 2018

An annotation of a newspaper article serves as a brief analysis of the original piece. Written in concise language, an annotation is intended to explain the article succinctly and illuminate the meaning behind the article. An annotation differs from a standard summary or an abstract in that the writer of an annotation is expected to use some of his own knowledge and judgment while annotating the article. An annotation should help the reader decide if reading the original article would be worthwhile.

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  1. Read the newspaper article carefully and with an analytical mind. Consider who wrote the article, when the newspaper printed it and the type of publication in which it appeared. For example, the author of an article published in a specialised trade publication might have a markedly different outlook from a writer for a general-interest daily newspaper.

  2. Research the qualifications of the article's author and discern why he wrote the piece. Identify the main ideas and the overall message the article's author is trying to communicate. Begin to formulate a critical evaluation of the article's content.

  3. Notice the article's level of reading difficulty and whether it contains any jargon, scientific terminology or arcane language aimed at readers in a specific business or industry. Compare the article to other works you have read on similar topics. Ask yourself what the article adds to the existing body of knowledge on the subject.

  4. Write a concise one-paragraph annotation of the article, using the ideas you developed while reading and analysing the piece. Begin your annotation by citing the author's name, the article's title, the name of the publication in which it appeared and the date it was published.

  5. Explain the primary idea of the article and whether the author succeeded in conveying his message. Note any areas in which the article's author fell short of his goal and how those parts of the article could have been improved.

  6. Keep your annotation short and remain on topic. Write at least three or four sentences in your annotation of a newspaper article, but do not exceed a length of approximately 150 words. Write your annotation in the third person, refraining from the use of "you" or "I."

  7. Tip

    You can also use annotations to describe other forms of media such as books, websites and videos.


    Do not repeat the exact wording of the article's title elsewhere in your annotation.

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Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper article
  • Word-processing program

About the Author

Steven Wilkens

Steven Wilkens has been a professional editor and writer since 1994. His work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines, including "The Honolulu Advertiser" and "USA Today." Wilkens received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.

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