Project: For this paper you will perform a rhetorical analysis of two online news articles that concern themselves with the same public issue or current event but use different rhetorical strategies to attempt to persuade their audiences.

Purpose and Audience: The primary purposes for this inquiry are

(1) to learn and apply rhetorical principles, concepts, and terminology to analyze and evaluate news articles;

(2) to identify and analyze the rhetorical choices that writers make in adapting their writing to particular audiences in particular contexts;

(3) to recognize language as a powerful tool in constructing reality; and

(4) to support analysis with appropriate textual evidence. Your audience is your instructor.

Process: To begin, choose two news articles from two different online sources that concern themselves with the same public issue or current event. Students last semester struggled with articles that were not long enough. You will probably not end up choosing the first two that you read through.

You will analyze these two articles using strategies we will discuss and practice in class.

Writer’s Letter: In several paragraphs (one full page or 350 – 400 words) tell me what you think of the paper you’re handing in. What was the most challenging aspect of the assignment and writing? What have you learned from doing this paper? Can you foresee ways you will use the skills practiced in this Inquiry in other situations, either academic or non-academic? Title this Writer’s Letter and put it at the end of your paper.


Minimum Length: Your paper must be three full pages long (to the top of the fourth page) in Times New Roman, 12-point font with double spacing and no extra space between paragraphs (approximately 950 – 1000 words).

Title: Your paper must have a title, one that suggests its content and invites the reader to read on. The title should be centered and in plain font, not bolded, underline, italicized, or enlarged. You may not use “Inquiry 2” or “Rhetorical Analysis” or anything similarly descriptive about the assignment; the title should be about your topic.

Formatting: Please refer to the Paper Guidelines in your syllabus. Indent the first line of paragraphs and do not skip extra lines between paragraphs. Do not enlarge the font, widen the spacing, or expand the margins in order to make your paper appear longer than it is. If you do so, I will ask for an electronic copy of your paper and reformat it before I grade it.

Printing: You must turn in a printed copy at the beginning of class on the day it is due. You may print on both sides of the paper. I prefer black ink, but if you had an ink emergency, and the printing comes out some wild color, do not worry. Don’t waste paper printing another copy.

Criteria for Evaluation:

  • A well-supported analysis of the articles as pieces of rhetoric
  • A well-supported evaluation of the articles’ effectiveness in terms of their audiences
  • Proper use of quotations and correct documentation of sources
  • Coherent, fluent, well-organized, correct prose
  • Writing meets assignment parameters

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