Title

A good title summarizes the core content of the story. Misleading titles can be factually false, lacking necessary context, or “clickbait”, where the title forces a user to open the story to see what the story is actually about.

To fill out this section, first determine if the title is fact, opinion, or other. A fact is a falsifiable statement, such as “the Senate passed X bill on Y date”. That assertion either did or did not happen. An opinion is non-falsifiable, such as “the policy proposed by the President today is bad for America”. There is no way to prove this right or wrong. What does “bad for America” even mean? Will it lower the GDP, increase inflation, increase inequality, lower international competitiveness, etc. In addition, this title is speculative, where trying to test how right or wrong the claim is requires waiting for future events to happen, during which time mitigating circumstances will almost certainly arise. Other describes titles that do not fit cleanly into one of the other two categories, such as “political polarization reaches all time highs.” It might be possible to prove this statement true or false, if there is an objective way to measure political polarization over time. However such an objective measure is unlikely to exist and a user cannot tell if the story includes one by simply looking at the title.

Next, paraphrase the title. In this section, simply put the story’s title in your own words. This is a useful exercise to see what you understand the title to be saying before looking at the rest of the story, where the news outlet often twists the meaning to fit technically with the title, despite having given most users a different impression upon first reading.