DOWNLOAD PDF
Instructors:
Chapter 3
 

HOW IS NEWS LANGUAGE DIFFERENT?

 

Activities

Test questions & PDF

DOWNLOAD PDF

Download PDF

In addition to the Chapter 3 synopsis and activiites, the PDF download includes the following quiz and exam questions and answers.

 

Quiz/exam questions bank

 

True/False instructions:  Please circle the correct answer.

 

1.  According to Hayakawa, an inference is “a statement about the unknown based on the known.”  (True or False)  Answer: True

 

2.  Hayakawa would agree with the following:  Judgments are expressions of journalists’ approval or disapproval of the subjects they are describing.  They say more about a writer’s attitude toward the subject than about the subject itself.  (True or False)  Answer: True

 

3.  News stories should focus on the personal, using first-person references wherever possible.  (True or False)  Answer: False

 

4.  The main focus of the Associated Press Stylebook is providing guidelines for how journalists can dress professionally for different types of interviews or meetings.  (True or False)  Answer: False

 

Multiple choice instructions:  Please circle the correct answer.

 

5.  Which of the following best describes good newswriting style?  Answer: D

a.  Newswriting is concise and direct.

b.  Newswriting emphasizes information rather than the writer or speaker.

c.  Newswriting uses simple sentence structures.

d.  All of the above.

 

6.  Which of the following must be true of a sentence in the passive voice?  Answer: A

a.  It must contain a form of the verb to be.

b.  It must contain a form of the verb to have.

c.  It must contain the past tense of the second verb.

d.  All of the above.

 

7.  Which of the following statements is the best example of Hayakawa’s definition of a report?  Answer: A

a.  Former president Ronald Reagan died in 2004.

b.  Ronald Reagan was the best president ever to hold the office of president.

c.  Ronald Reagan was such a nice man.

d.  All of the above.

 

8.  In a news story, how long should paragraphs typically be?  Answer: A

a.  One or two sentences.

b.  Four or five sentences.

c.  Seven or eight sentences.

d.  As many as the journalist wants.

 

9.  According to Associated Press Style, which one of the following answers is correct?  Answer: A

a.  The 10 citizens waited two hours to vote Tuesday.

b.  Ten citizens waited 2 hours to vote Tuesday.

c.  The 10 citizens waited 2 hours to vote Tuesday.

d.  The ten citizens waited two hours to vote Tuesday.

 

10.  Which of the following best describes why journalists should avoid using terms like firefighter instead of fireman or police officer instead of policeman?  Answer: D

a.  Journalists should avoid reinforcing stereotypes that suggest people who hold   these jobs should or would all be male.

b.  Journalists know that language is powerful, and the word choices they make     could serve the principle of justice.

c.  Journalists have to be politically correct, or they’ll get fired.

d.  Both a and b.

 

Short answer instructions: 

 

11.  Suppose a journalist composed each of the following paraphrases to include in a story.  For each sentence, identify any inferences or judgments you see and then offer the journalist advice about how to change the sentence into a report.

 

a.  The problem with young job seekers today is that they’re unprofessional in their interviews, the human resources director said.

 

Answers will vary, but students should hone in on “problem,” “young” job seekers and “unprofessional.”

 

b.  The murder victim had methamphetamine and alcohol in her system the morning she was shot and killed, according to the autopsy report the coroner released Friday.

 

Answers will vary, but students should identify the inference that the meth and alcohol in her system is relevant to her murder and to the autopsy story.  They should also identify the judgment this makes about drug and alcohol use.

 

c.  BASE jumpers should be respected because they expand the notion of what humans can accomplish, said Sasha Lewalski, a spectator at the event.

 

Answers will vary, but students should identify the judgments that BASE jumpers expand the notion of what humans can accomplish and that they should be respected.  They could identify the inference that people who push boundaries are due respect.

 

12.  For the following sentences, identify what, if anything, needs to be revised so that they conform to the language of basic news stories.

 

a.  When asked if she was happy she won the medal, varsity cross-country standout Lisa Luna said that it was so unexpected that it really hadn’t sunk in yet.

 

Answers will vary, but students should acknowledge that “when asked if” phrases in effect insert the reporter into the story, so this one should be omitted.  Students could also omit the passive voice.

 

b.  Mistakes were made by the XYZ Board of Directors, one shareholder said.

 

Answers will vary, but students should revise so that they omit the passive voice.

 

c.  Keenan Stratford, an awesome river runner, award-winning boater, and veteran of some epic adventures around the globe, started his kayak journey down the full length of the glorious Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota, where the elevation is just under 1500 feet, 1475 feet to be exact.

 

Answers will vary, but students should eliminate opinion and unnecessary modifiers, focusing on a report, such as that Stratford, an award-winning boater, is kayaking the length of the Mississippi River, and perhaps include the headwater’s elevation.  They should also recognize that this is too full of modifying phrases to conform to the lesson that basic news writing is concise and direct.

 

13.  Correct any AP style errors in the sentences below.

 

a.  Of the van’s twelve seats, two were used for coolers and other gear.

 

Answer: Students should change “twelve” to “12.”

 

b.  The new arts center will cost 22 million dollars and will take 2 years to complete.

 

Answer:  The sentence should read, “…$22 million dollars and will take two years to complete.”

 

c.  The winners of the Hickman Spelling Bee were 11 year old Sam Raines and her nine year old sister, Claudette Raines.

 

Answer:  Students should change the sentence to read, “…11-year-old Sam Raines and her 9-year-old sister, Claudette Raines.”  Alternatively, students could change it to read, “…were Sam Raines, 11, and her sister, Claudette Raines, 9.”

 

Long answer instructions:  In 10 to 12 sentences, please answer the following questions.

 

14.  Please a.)  Briefly define the terms report, inference and judgment, b.) describe why it is important for journalists to recognize the difference among them, and c.) describe how this understanding contributes to fulfilling the principle of truth telling.

 

Answers will vary, but students should include: Short definitions of the three terms. They should exhibit an introductory-level understanding that journalists are in the fact business, so it’s important to know how and where inferences and judgments can seep into their work.  This is related to truth telling because it asks journalists to allow verifiable facts through the gates, while being skeptical about which if any inferences or judgments get through—and being able to discern which is which.

 

15.  Identify and describe three main ways that news writing differs from other kinds of writing such as essays or a fictional story.

 

Answers will vary, but students should include the following:

 

  • It emphasizes reports over inferences and judgments.

  • It contains information you can verify

  • It usually avoids first-person references

  • It’s concise and direct

  • It contains fewer modifiers

  • It favors simple sentence structures

  • It favors active voice

  • It uses short paragraphs