Students use newspapers in class as sources of information for projects and reports. They also may use newspapers as models for creating a class or campus paper. Regardless of the reason for using newspapers, students will benefit from knowledge of the parts of a newspaper and the type of information found in each part.
General Newspaper Parts
Although newspapers contain different sections and each section may have its own specific parts, some items are universal to all sections of most newspapers. Generally, newspaper text is arranged in columns. Each article throughout the paper has a headline and dateline. Headlines appear in larger text as the title of the article. The dateline precedes the text and contains information about where the story was written.
Types of Sections
Large local and national newspapers usually contain the same types of information and sections. The most important international, national or local news of the day appears on the front page. Inside of the paper, more local and community news is found. The editorial section contains an article written by the editorial staff of the paper, expressing a viewpoint on a popular news topic. Also inside is the editorial section are letters from the public voicing their opinions on various topics. The sports, society and entertainment news stories are featured in sections in most papers. Newspapers also usually contain information about local and national deaths, a puzzle and comics page and classified advertisements.
The front page has a few features not found in other sections of the newspaper. Across the top of the paper is the masthead or nameplate that contains the name of the newspaper printed in distinctive font. The sides of the masthead may contain local weather or a teaser box giving information about the stories inside. Underneath the paper's name is a line, sometimes called the folio, that contains cost, volume, date and sometimes website information. An index of the newspaper's contents and the most important, attention-getting news is also located on the front page.
Journalists write newspaper articles in a distinctive style. Above each article is a headline title in larger font than the text. Generally, the larger the font, the more important the story. A byline under the title informs the reader of the author's name. Each article begins with a dateline stating the location for the story. A lead paragraph informs the reader of the important who, what, where, when, why and how information about the article topic. Additional paragraphs give the story details. A jumpline is used when an article continues on another page and tells the reader where to go to finish reading the article. Photos, called cutlines, may accompany an article. The cutline gives details about it and the credit line beside the photo tells readers who took the photo.
Elizabeth Stover, an 18 year veteran teacher and author, has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland with a minor in sociology/writing. Stover earned a masters degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, Arlington and continues to work on a masters in Educational Leadership from University of North Texas. Stover was published by Creative Teaching Press with the books "Science Tub Topics" and "Math Tub Topics."