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Home > English > Close reading texts and techniques > Newspapers and information leaflets

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Newspapers and information leaflets

Newspaper extracts

Let's look in detail at some examples of extracts from newspaper and magazine articles. The examples given have appeared in close reading examinations.

Headline reading Hillside Haven
Headline reading Washed Away

When Malcolm Moy found himself the proud owner of a large and unusual collection of wildfowl, he decided to realise his oldest dream and build a nature reserve to house them. Since then his Argyle Wildlife Park has gone from strength to strength. Claire Laurent tells its remarkable story.

There is no such thing as a typical day at the Argyle Wildlife Park, for any job that involves caring for hundreds of animals and dealing with thousands of curious human visitors is by definition unpredictable.

As you pay the entrance fee and collect a bag of food for the birds, it becomes apparent that, at this nature reserve, you're meant to mix with as many of the animals as is safely possible, not just observe them from afar.

There was a time when almost every Scottish seaside resort had an outdoor swimming pool, but now there are only a few and their long term future is threatened.

It is 3 pm on Saturday and at this precise moment there are three people in the open air swimming pool at North Berwick, tiny figures bobbing about in the vast blue expanse of water. There are many more shivering beneath towels around the perimeter. The pool was one of the town's most important tourist attractions. They had galas here, swimming and diving displays that pulled in big crowds.

It still has its regulars. Two old women turn up with raincoats over their swimming costumes, so they can get into the pool as quickly as possible. Two old men do synchronised swimming. Others bring the staff sweets or baking. But numbers have been falling for years. Costs are high and the season is short. East Lothian District Council is subsidising the swimmers to the tune of almost £10 a time.

Now the Council has decided to build a modern indoor pool and close one of Scotland's last remaining open air pools.

Here's a closer look at some key features you should be able to spot -

You should notice straight away that in both articles we are presented with facts about the topic - e.g. Argyle Wildlife Park attracts thousands of visitors, East Lothian District Council is closing the outdoor pool at North Berwick.

Did you notice that in both articles the language used is straightforward and sentences are generally short and easy to understand? Look back at the extracts. Both are taken from near the beginning of the articles and you should be able to spot that the main idea of each article is introduced early on. In Hillside Haven, the main idea is introduced in the first paragraph. In Washed Away, the main idea is introduced in the first paragraph and then reinforced in paragraph four, "Now the council..."

Features of layout are noticeable, too. A heading is given to each piece, and an introduction to the article is placed under this heading. The name of the writer is also often given at the top of the page. Don't forget that although you have not been given any here, newspaper and magazine articles are nearly always accompanied by a picture.

In the extract from Hillside Haven, you should be able to work out what the author thinks of Argyle Wildlife Park. She says the park has gone from "strength to strength", which tells you that she thinks the park is a good place for the animals. Can you spot any other features that we've not pointed out for you?

Some of the questions you will be asked about this type of writing will test your knowledge and understanding of the key features of newspaper and magazine articles.

Watch

Atlantic rower Debra Veal.

Class Clips

Video clip - an example of a response to descriptive writing

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