Analysis and Interpretation of the News

  The newspaper must provide for the reader the facts, unalloyed, unslanted, objectively selected facts. But in these days of complex news it must provide more; it must supply interpretation, the meaning of the facts. This is the most important assignment confronting American journalism—to make clear to the reader the problems of the day, to make international news as understandable as community news, to recognize that there is no longer any such thing (with the possible exception of such scribbling as society and club news) as “local” news, because any event in the international area has a local reaction in manpower draft, in economic strain, in terms, indeed, of our very way of life.
  There is in journalism a widespread view that when you embark on interpretation, you are entering choppy and dangerous waters, the swirling tides of opinion. This is nonsense.
  The opponents of interpretation insist that the writer and the editor shall confine himself to the “facts”. This insistence raises two questions: What are the facts? And: Are the bare facts enough?
  As to the first query. Consider how a so-called “factual” story cones about. The reporter collects, say, fifty facts; out of these fifty, his space allotment being necessarily restricted, he selects the ten, which he considers most important. This is Judgment Number One. Then he or his editor decides which of these ten facts shall constitute the lead of the piece (This is important decision because many readers do not proceed beyond the first paragraph.) This is Judgment Number Two. Then the night editor determines whether the article shall be presented on page one, where it has a large impact, or on page twenty-four, where it has little. Judgment Number Three.
  Thus, in the presentation of a so-called “factual” or “objective” story, at least three judgments are involved. And they are judgments not at all unlike those involved in interpretation, in which reporter and editor, calling upon their general background, and their “news neutralism,” arrive at a conclusion as to the significance of the news.
  The two areas of judgment, presentation of the news and its interpretation, are both objective rather then subjective processes—as objective, that is, as any human being can be. (Note in passing: even though complete objectivity can never be achieved, nevertheless the ideal must always be the beacon on the murky news channels.) Of an editor is intent on slanting the news, he can do it in other ways and more effectively than by interpretation. He can do it by the selection of those facts that prop up his particular plea. Or he can do it by the pay he gives a story—promoting it to page one or demoting it to page thirty.
  1. The title that best expresses the ideas of this passage is
  [A]. Interpreting the News. [B]. Choosing Facts.
  [C]. Subjective versus Objective Processes. [D]. Everything Counts.
  2. Why does the writer of an article select ten out of 50 available facts?
  [A]. Space is limited. [B]. His editor is prejudiced.
  [C]. The subject is not important. [D]. He is entering choppy and dangerous.
  3. What is the least effective way of “slanting” news/
  [A]. Interpretation. [B]. His editor is prejudiced.
  [C]. Placement. [D]. Concentration.
  4. Why should the lead sentence present the most important fact?
  [A]. It will influence the reader to continue.
  [B]. It will be the best way to write.
  [C]. Some readers do not read beyond the first paragraph.
  [D]. It will gratify the editor.  
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