Looking at Voice in News Media
Exploring expository texts through fact, opinion and comentary.

Trena Noval
Marty Conrad

Table of Contents:
Voice in News Media
    • Reading Headlines
    • Fact, Opinion and Commentary
    • MindMeister Brainstorm
Writing About the News
    • Responding with Images and Writing
Content Standards
    • California Content Standards
Expository Wrting
expository critique
media Literacy
news media
opinion writing
personal comentary
Focus Content Area:
English/Language Arts

Secondary Content Area:
Grade Level:



This workshop walks us through a process for looking at voice in news media. We will look at fact driven news articles, opinion pieces and personal commentary through both written, video and visual (image) media. This process allows students to gain an understanding of different perspectives and writing genres when looking at expository text.


News media is accessible to students in their homes, at school and in libraries. The news provides engaging content that is relevant to students’ lives. Newspapers as a type of expository text provide a forum for developing reading comprehension, critiquing voice across different types of writing and analyzing text structure. News media provides a forum for utilizing both visual and written information.

Voice in News Media:

Reading Headlines

How the News is Framed

The news stories we will focus on in this workshop are the events and reporting of relief efforts around Hurricane Katrina.

We will begin our critique of this news story through examining how the media framed information through headlines.

To start lets look at some headlines from the days after the hurricane hit New Orleans through an online news archive called Newseum.

In groups look at the headlines of these 6 days in 2005 after the storm hit. Look for vocabulary and how it is used to describe what is happening at the time and how it is used to get your attention.

Look with this question in mind: How does the voice differ depending on the content of the story?

Katrina’s frames from August 30 to September 4, 2005

(NOTE: Pages taken from Newseum Archive list)

In groups of three look at the headlines with the following topics in mind:
Now come up with terms and phrases that describes the feeling or "voice" of the headlines. Post these phrases and terms in the discussion board in School Loop:

Fact, Opinion and Commentary

Looking at the Stories

We will look at 3 common sources of news reporting:

In your groups, look at the at the following news sources from each category:

News Articles
Opinion (Op-Ed)
Personal Commentary
When the Leeves Broke: Part 7

MindMeister Brainstorm

Breaking Down Voice

Once your group has read and watched these news pieces about the relief issues and efforts post hurricane Katrina, discuss in your group the following questions for each news area. Take some group notes that you can use later to enter into MindMeister.

News Articles Opinion

Mind Mapping Ideas

Using the online tool MindMeister work collaboratively online to answer the questions above.

Each group will go into the mind maps we have set up in MindMeister.

Writing About the News:

Responding with Images and Writing

Now that you have read about what happened in the days and month after Hurricane Katrina use the images on this FlickrStorm link to create a story in five frames that you feel interprets the voice of the headlines, articles and commentary videos:

Content Standards:

California Content Standards

The following California State Content Standards are addressed and modeled through this workshop. Some could be expanded in 6th, 7th and 8th grade classrooms:

ELA.6.2.6. Determine the adequacy and appropriateness of the evidence for an author's conclusions.
ELA.6.2.7. Make reasonable assertions about a text through accurate, supporting citations.
ELA.6.2.8. Note instances of unsupported inferences, fallacious reasoning, persuasion, and propaganda in text.
ELA.6.2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA.6.2.2. Write expository compositions (e.g., description, explanation, comparison and contrast, problem and solution):
a. State the thesis or purpose.
b. Explain the situation.
c. Follow an organizational pattern appropriate to the type of composition.
d. Offer persuasive evidence to validate arguments and conclusions as needed.
Grade Seven
ELA.7.2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Structural Features of Informational Materials
ELA.7.2.1. Understand and analyze the differences in structure and purpose between various categories of informational materials (e.g., textbooks, newspapers, instructional manuals, signs).
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.7.2.4. Identify and trace the development of an author's argument, point of view, or perspective in text.
Expository Critique
ELA.7.2.6. Assess the adequacy, accuracy, and appropriateness of the author's evidence to support claims and assertions, noting instances of bias and stereotyping.
ELA.7.2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA.7.2.5. Write summaries of reading materials:
a. Include the main ideas and most significant details.
b. Use the student's own words, except for quotations.
c. Reflect underlying meaning, not just the superficial details.
Grade Eight
ELA.8.2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.8.2.3. Find similarities and differences between texts in the treatment, scope, or organization of ideas.
Expository Critique
ELA.8.2.7. Evaluate the unity, coherence, logic, internal consistency, and structural patterns of text.