TOEFL Q8: Newspapers vs TV


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question two from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the question below out loud with the tutor.

Is it better to get news from newspapers and magazines, or is it better to get news from television? Use specific reasons and examples to support your preference.

Preparation time: 15 seconds l Response time: 45 seconds


Choose a question at random from the list below. Answer the question right away without making notes. Try to speak for at least 10 seconds.

  • Which types of news stories do you like to read about? I like reading world news, Korean news and technology news.
  • What is one advantage of newspapers and magazines?
  • What is one advantage of television news?


Use the following pointers as a guideline to refine your answer.

  1. Brainstorm before you choose your position
    • Reading Newspapers and Magazines:
      • usually have more detailed coverage
      • more specific information
      • specialty publications
      • a greater variety of news stories
      • can better understand news stories
      • world news, economic news, video games
    • Watching Television:
      • can do other activities while watching 
      • can save time
      • film events as they occur
      • see the day’s main stories in a few minutes
      • able to see news stories
      • reporters interview people
  2. Choose your position
    • Reading Newspapers and Magazines: It is much better to get news from newspapers and magazines.
  3. Come up with two reasons to back up your argument
    • More details
    • Variety of coverage
  4.  Give a concrete example of one of the reasons
    • Includes worlds news, economic news, and even video games
  5. Conclude with your argument
    • I would much rather get news from newspapers and magazines

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer

Reading Newspapers and Magazines: In my opinion, it is much better to get news from newspapers and magazines. One reason is their greater detail. Most newspaper and magazine articles have a lot of specific information. This allows me to understand news stories better. Another reason I prefer newspapers and magazines is their variety. Newspapers and magazines cover many different kinds of stories. These include world news, economic news and even video games. Considering this, I would much rather get news from newspapers and magazines.

Watching Television: I prefer to watch television for my news for two reasons. First, television news lets me actually see news stories. News reporters can go live on the scene of breaking news stories. They interview people for news events and film them as they happen. I also enjoy watching the news on television because it saves time. Television news covers the day’s news in just a few minutes. Even though newspapers and magazines have their advantages, I prefer watching television for my news.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocab words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
coverage (n) the activity of reporting about an event or subject in newspapers, on television news programs, etc.
e.g. The issue is not getting much coverage in the mainstream press.
publication (n) the act or process of producing a book, magazine, etc. and making it available to the public
e.g. My novel has been accepted for publication. [=my book will be published and sold to the public]
go live (exp) to be broadcast while it is happening
e.g. Suddenly the program was interrupted and went live to the White House for the announcement that the president had died.
breaking news (exp) a current issue that broadcasters feel warrants the interruption of scheduled programming and/or current news in order to report its details
e.g. CNN’s broadcast switched to breaking news about the presidential election results.
column (n) an article in a newspaper or magazine that appears regularly and that is written by a particular writer or deals with a particular subject
e.g. She liked to read the gossip column in People magazine.
article (n) a piece of writing about a particular subject that is included in a magazine, newspaper, etc.
e.g. I just read an interesting article about San Francisco’s early history.
editorial (n) an essay in a newspaper or magazine that gives the opinions of its editors or publishers
e.g. The paper published an editorial strongly criticizing the mayor’s actions.
live shot/live reports (exp) A TV news story during which a news anchor or reporter is live at a remote location
e.g. The newscaster gave a live report on the election results in California.
advertisement (n) something (such as a short film or a written notice) that is shown or presented to the public to help sell a product or to make an announcement
e.g. The advertisement will appear in three magazines.
comic strip (n) a sequence of drawings, either in color or black and white, relating a comic incident, an adventure or mystery story, etc., often serialized
e.g. Calvin and Hobbes is my favorite comic strip.

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