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How to Cite a Newspaper Article in MLA Style

Newspaper articles are valuable sources for current events and historical research. Citing newspaper articles in MLA style requires specific elements: author’s name, article title, newspaper name, publication date, and page numbers. For online articles, include the URL and access date. These details apply to both in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

Identifying Key Elements of a Newspaper Article

Author Name

Begin with the author’s name, as it provides essential context. The MLA format dictates that the author’s last name should precede their first name. For instance:

Smith, John.

If multiple authors are present, list them in the same order they appear in the article, separated by commas. For three or more authors, use the first author’s name followed by “et al.”:

Smith, John, and Jane Doe.

For three or more authors:

Smith, John, et al.

Article Title

The article title should be enclosed in quotation marks and follow sentence case, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns:

“The Intricacies of Urban Development in Modern Cities”

Ensure that punctuation marks are placed correctly within the quotation marks to maintain the integrity of the citation.

Newspaper Name

The name of the newspaper should be italicized and follow title case, capitalizing all major words:

The New York Times

Remember, consistency is key. Italicization and capitalization rules must be meticulously adhered to throughout your citations.

Publication Date

The publication date provides a temporal context for your source. MLA format requires the day, abbreviated month, and year:

12 Dec. 2023

This format ensures clarity and uniformity, essential for readers tracing the publication timeline.

Page Numbers

Including page numbers is crucial when citing print sources. Indicate the specific pages where the article appears:

pp. A1, A4

If the article spans multiple pages but is not contiguous, use a comma to separate the page numbers. In the absence of page numbers for online articles, this element can be omitted without compromising the citation’s integrity.

Print vs. Online

The medium of the article—print or online—dictates subtle yet significant differences in citation format. Print articles require page numbers, while online articles necessitate URLs or DOIs and access dates.

Formatting the Basic MLA Newspaper Citation

Basic Structure

A well-formatted MLA citation for a newspaper article integrates all key elements in a specific order:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper, Day Month Year, Page Numbers.

For online articles, include the URL or DOI:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper, Day Month Year, URL.

Examples

Correct:

Smith, John. “Exploring the Urban Jungle.” The New York Times, 12 Dec. 2023, pp. A1, A4.

Incorrect:

John Smith. Exploring the Urban Jungle. NY Times. 12th December 2023, p. A1.

Correct:

Doe, Jane. “Digital Landscapes and Their Impact.” The Guardian, 15 Jan. 2024, www.theguardian.com/digital-landscapes.

Incorrect:

Jane Doe. “Digital Landscapes and Their Impact.” Guardian, 2024/01/15, www.guardian.com/digital-landscapes.

Dealing with Multiple Authors: Special Formatting Considerations

For articles with two authors, format both names:

Smith, John, and Jane Doe. “Collaborative Efforts in Urban Planning.” The Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2023, pp. B2, B4.

For three or more authors:

Smith, John, et al. “The Future of Sustainable Architecture.” The Daily Telegraph, 3 Mar. 2024, pp. C1, C3.

Citing Online Newspaper Articles

URLs and DOIs

When citing online articles, include the full URL or DOI at the end of the citation. MLA does not require “http://” or “https://” in URLs:

Doe, Jane. “Climate Change and Policy Reform.” The Independent, 22 Feb. 2024, www.independent.co.uk/climate-policy-reform.

Access Dates

Including the access date is optional but can be useful for sources that may change over time. Format as follows:

Accessed 10 Mar. 2024.

Examples

Correct:

Smith, John. “Technological Advancements in Healthcare.” The Guardian, 18 Jan. 2024, www.theguardian.com/tech-health.

Incorrect:

Smith, John. “Technological Advancements in Healthcare.” Guardian, Jan 18 2024, guardian.com/tech-health.

Special Cases in MLA Newspaper Citations

Editorials and Opinions

Editorials and opinion pieces should be labeled as such in the citation. Use “Editorial” or “Letter” at the end of the citation to distinguish these from regular articles:

Smith, John. “The Future of Urban Planning.” Editorial. The New York Times, 1 Apr. 2024, p. A8.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor also require special labeling:

Doe, Jane. “Re: Climate Change Debate.” Letter. The Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2024, p. A6.

Republished Articles

For republished articles, include the original publication date and the source of the reprint:

Smith, John. “Urban Development Challenges.” Originally published in The Daily News, 15 May 2020. Reprinted in The Chronicle, 22 May 2024, pp. B1, B3.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in MLA Newspaper Citations

Misplacing Commas and Periods

Ensure commas and periods are placed correctly within quotation marks and after italics:

Correct: “Urban Development Challenges.” The New York Times, 15 May 2024, pp. B1, B3.

Incorrect Italicization

Titles of newspapers must be italicized, while article titles should be in quotation marks:

Correct: The Guardian

Incorrect: The Guardian

Overlooking Essential Details

Double-check all citation elements are included and properly formatted. Missing or incorrect details can undermine the credibility of your work.

For accurate citations, you can take help from WriterBuddy’s MLA Newspaper Article Citation tool. This tool simplifies the citation process and ensures that all necessary elements are included.

FAQs

How do I cite a newspaper article with multiple authors in MLA style?

For two authors, list both names in the order they appear in the article, separated by “and.” For three or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.”

Do I need to include the URL for online newspaper articles in MLA citations?

Yes, for online articles, include the full URL (excluding “http://” or “https://”) at the end of the citation to provide easy access to the source.

How should I format the publication date in an MLA newspaper citation?

The publication date should be formatted as Day Month Year (e.g., 12 Dec. 2023), ensuring clarity and uniformity.

Conclusion

MLA citations for newspaper articles include the author, article title, newspaper name, publication date, and page numbers. For online articles, add the URL and access date. Use the author’s last name for in-text citations. Create a full entry in your Works Cited list. Check current MLA guidelines for the most up-to-date rules.

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