How do you know if the article you are reading is news or opinion?


The New York News Publishers Association says, “News articles are factual and often answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how.  A writer’s opinion should not appear in a news article, and professional journalists make every effort to write news objectively. The easiest way to tell the difference between a fact and an opinion is to ask if the statement can be proven.” has the following information about the difference between news and opinion:



The writer reports the news. People’s opinions may appear as part of that reporting (“According to Mr. Smith…”), but the writer does not explicitly present his/her own views. The writer shares his or her own views and explicitly seeks to persuade readers to adopt those views as their own.

In this article by Cruelty-FreeInternational, BREAKING NEWS: Italian court stops cruel monkey experiments. Congratulations to LAV for a great campaign to stop university research project, the title states that it is breaking news.  It may be breaking news, but this is still an opinion piece.

The article states, “As of January 26, 2020, Cruelty-Free International  reported, “Italian court stops cruel monkey experiments.” They say, “Some great news from Italy today as the country’s top court suspends experiments intended to be conducted on six macaque monkeys by the University of Turin and University of Parma. We congratulate our friends at the Italian animal protection organization LAV who led the campaign to stop the university research project, gathering signatures for a petition from over 425,000 people.”

This article is an opinion piece because it gives the author’s opinion on the news. The author says congratulations in the article and states that this is great news from Italy, so this article is an opinion piece.  

The Cruelty of Life!!The Cruelty of Life!!” by Pinti 1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Per Wikipedia, Cruelty-Free International is an animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments. They have a history spanning over 100 years, and they organize certification of cruelty-free products that are marked with the symbol of a leaping bunny.  Given this information, I would consider them to be a trusted source. 

The news article, “Illinois ranks as top state for animal protection laws for 12th straight year” by WREX is a clear news report with detailed facts. This is a news article that states that for the 12th year in a row, Illinois ranks as the top state for animal protection laws.

This news article presents facts to the public. This article does not reference a person’s opinion and focuses on clear and concise news. According to Wikipedia, “WREX is a dual NBC/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Rockford, Illinois, United States. Owned by Quincy Media, it is the market’s only full-powered VHF station and is Rockford’s second-oldest television station.” Given this information, I would say that the news is credible. 

Mans Best FriendMans Best Friend” by superstrikertwo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

According to this news article by NPR, Trump Signs Law Making Cruelty To Animals A Federal Crime, “The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement, or other serious harm to living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. The law also bans “animal crush videos,” meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video, or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.  The penalty for violating the law can include a fine, a prison term of up to seven years or both.”

This article offers statements by Kitty Block, the president, and CEO of the Humane Society as well as statements by other animal activists.  It does not include the author’s opinion.  The article does not add the opinion of the author, so this article would be considered news. states, “Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) left-center biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and very high for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting. A factual search reveals that NPR has not failed a fact check.  I view NPR as a trustworthy source.

Sad FoxSad Fox” by katesheets is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In this opinion article by Angelica Lawson, “Let’s end animal testing,” she states her opinion that animal testing is an inhumane practice and should not be tolerated. Angela believes there are now ways to test and ensure that products are safe for human contact without causing harm to animals. She feels that we need to end animal testing here in the United States, we need to pass legislation that forbids, or at the very least limits, animal testing. She believes other alternatives provide just as much insight and are less invasive for all involved.

This article is an opinion piece because Angela is only sharing her views on the subject and trying to persuade the reader to believe her views as well. As we have learned, news contains factual information reported by journalists.  Angela has included facts in her article, but because she has also included her very extreme feelings towards animal testing, this piece would be considered opinion.

According to Wikipedia, the Iowa State Daily is an independent student newspaper serving Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, that is published in print and online. It was founded in 1890 and is primarily funded by advertising revenues.  While researching, I found an Iowa State Daily Fact Check Facebook page. The page says, “This page is committed to providing Iowa State students with the facts and stories that the Iowa State Daily does not accurately or sufficiently represent or cover. We will do regular fact checks of Iowa State Daily articles that appear to be biased or inaccurate. We will be committed to delivering the truth and facts to our readers.”

I was initially impressed with the Facebook page and thought it was an excellent transparency tool until I realized that the last post was from 2018.  Given this information, I believe that the Iowa State Daily is doing its best to be as credible as possible. Because it is a student newspaper, I would suggest fact-checking stories on a case by case basis.

For every news story that you read and feel the information may not be correct or based on opinion, you should research and fact-check to confirm. In the future, hopefully, these examples will help you to determine whether a story is a news story or opinion.  How well can you tell factual from opinion statements?  Test your skills here with a quiz from the Pew Research Center.