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Most of us have read the news, and most of us have also seen a television newscast. But can we honestly say we've stopped to think about what was being presented during that newscast? Sure, most newscasts have two people sitting at a desk and telling us what's going on in the world.

What would we find if we looked a little deeper? The results might surprise you. The exercise below was designed to get you thinking in a more critical and analytical way about the information we gather from the journalists bringing us the news everyday.

To begin, select a local newscast that airs Monday through Friday. Then watch the newscast and ask yourself some of the questions below. Write down the answers and think about why the answers are the way they are.

* What do the people bringing you the news look like? (gender, ethnicity, age, etc.)
* What is the lead news item?
* What are the images/pictures being used with the news stories?
* Are they of local interest? Are they of national or international interest?
* What items are they teasing/promoting for later on in the newscast?
* How do the anchors (in-studio) interact with the reporters (out in the field)?
* How do they interact with their sports, weather or entertainment counterparts?
* What products are they promoting during the commercial breaks?
* Who are the people behind the cameras (the credits after the show) and what do they do?

These are just a few of the things you might want to consider, but maybe you'll come up with your own questions. This is a great opportunity to take a longer, more-critical view of something we sometimes take for granted. You may be surprised at some of your answers.

Want more ideas on how to analyze the news? Visit our forums and join the discussion.