News articles vs. scientific articles

A journal article about Facebook and mood made big news recently and this incident serves to illustrate the difference between news reporting and scientific journalism. When doing research for your APA paper keep in mind that the purpose of a news article is to get your attention, sell newspapers or ads, and inform you.

The purpose of scientific journalism is to explain complex ideas.

Big headline: “Facebook can make users feel worse.” The only thing the editor left out was the exclamation point and the conclusion of the researchers. Ethan Kross, the lead author of the study, is quoted in the article as saying “The more you used Facebook, the more your mood dropped.” Note the difference in this statement vs. the headline. The headline implies causality. The quote by the author implies that there is a relationship, but not necessarily a cause and effect relationship. Big headline; big difference.

Be careful about citing attention grabbing headlines in your MLA or APA papers. Sometimes it is better to let a newspaper article lead you back to the source.

Be careful when citing news articles in your apa papers

Sensationalistic headline about a scientific study

Be careful when citing news articles in your apa papers

Sensationalistic headline about a scientific study



For more info:

Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, Park J, Lee DS, et al. (2013) Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE 8(8): e69841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. For more information, log onto http://www.referencepointsoftware.com/ or write to:
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