Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Records

The story that I found is from The New York Times, and it is about people living with autism. The story is told in the form of an audio slide show-- six people talk about living with (or with a loved one who has) an autism disorder.

The article has audio interviews playing over photos of the individuals. The article refers to statistics about autism in America (about 1 per 500 people.) Within the audio interviews, the men and women also discuss different tests available for testing for autism, often because they have been tested in numerous ways.

Analysis: Numbers

The article that I looked at for this analysis was "Hopeful signs multiplying as jobs finally being created" from the McClatchy News Service and published in the Star Tribune.

The reporter used unemployment percent, job losses and gains, and numbers for people and weeks.

The numbers are concentrated in the first half of the article, but it is not overwhelming. The stats on employment increase are vital to understanding the article and the reported gave crunched numbers only when he reported unemployment rate.

All of the numbers are attributed to the federal government- later in the article they are attributed specifically to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The only number that I thought could have been reported differently was when the article referred to Americans who had been out o work for 27 weeks or longer. 27 weeks is an odd number- and I think that "over half a year" or "over six months" would have communicated the idea more clearly.

Analysis: Obituary

For this assignment I found an obituary for Jim Marshall in the New York Times.

Marshall became famous as a rock and roll photographer throughout the 1960's and 70's. The obit has a standard New York Times lead, and mentions the names of the most notable stars that he photographed. The lead works- it mentions Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash, and immediately puts the reader into the scene of the 60's and 70's.

The obit does not resemble a resume at all. The writer describes the feel of Marshall's work and saves the chronology till the end.

The article does not have a lot of outside sources. The writes states that no immediate family members survived him, and a lot of quotes are taken from interviews earlier in Marshall's career. The curator of his most recent show is quoted as well as the photographer Anne Leibovitz.

Analysis: Covering a Release

For this analysis, I used an article from The Washington Post about President Obama's plan to incorporate four Republican ideas into his health care reform plan. I then looked up the letter that Obama wrote to congressional leaders outlining the outcomes of their health care summit meeting and the four ideas that he was considering.


Obama began the letter, which was addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, thanking them for their participation in the meeting. The president then went on to explain all of the points that the GOP and DFL agree on, including the overall need for reform, allowing small businesses and individuals to join together, and also the need to crack down on fraud and abuse of the system. Obama explained the issues they disagree on. Once all of this was laid out, he then bullet pointed the four Republican issues that he is considering.

In the article, the reporter cut right to the chase and stated the four policies that Obama is considering. The reporter described the expected reactions to the letter- Republicans were not pacified by the idea of a bipartisan compromise. The reporter did not dwell on the exact details of the agreements and disagreements which Obama spent most of his letter clarifying, but instead brought his letter into context by describing how it was received by both parties. She also describes how the letter and the received reactions are likely to affect voting. In the article the reporter condenses the information from the letter and places it into context by providing background as well as the political reactions to the letter.

Analysis: Multimedia

I looked at the multimedia extras on the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press websites.

Both websites have a multimedia drop down list, and Pioneer Press offers photo galleries, local video, and national video links. Star Tribune, on the other hand, lists video, audio, slideshow, photo galleries, podcasts, and news graphics. They also link forums titled "your photos" and "your videos" where users can upload their own media into preset albums such as "Antique Cars," "Birdwatchers' Best," and "Local Music and Events."

I looked at photo slide shows from each organization covering Lindsey Vonn in the the Olympics. Both were very descriptive and included pictures of her training, racing, and receiving her gold medals. The copy almost always followed the style that we learned in class-- a one sentence description followed by a factual news sentence. The photos complement the stories visually, it's exciting to look at the pictures and see Vonn flying down the hills.

The podcasts on Star Tribune cover a variety of niche topics like the Ivey Awards and the State Fair. There's even an interview with a couple who has celebrated 55 anniversaries at the Lowell Inn in Stillwater. The audio presents news writing in an easy listening format for lifestyle and human interest type stories.

My favorite multimedia feature was also on the Star Tribune website. The slideshows that are posted include pictures and audio. I watched one about a band who travels to Iraq and plays concerts at U.S. military bases. There were pictures as well as audio of band members describing their experiences. The mix of interview and photos made it especially interesting to listen and watch.

Analysis: Following a Story

The articles that I analyzed were about the Toyota recall.

In the first article, the lead covered the current breaking news- the Transportation Department demanded documents from Toyota detailing their response to problems with sudden acceleration and gas pedals that became stuck in flooor mats in certain models. The government planned to use the documents in the developing investigation of the massive Toyota recall.

The lead of the second article did not resemble the first at all; it had been completely rewritten to reflect new information -- the documents collected by the government stated that Toyota had saved $100 million dollars by negotiating a limited recall with the government for the floor mats. The article detailed other financial facts from the documents, including how Toyota saved $124 million by phasing-in new safety regulations for side air bags and another $11 million by delaying a rule for tougher door locks.

The second article was a response to new information, and it also fleshed out ideas that were brought up in the first article. In AP's first article, information was given about a congressional investigation and in the second article the reporter stated that Congress would be investigating Toyota's decisions to save money by delaying safety regulations. The second article also advanced the news by citing more sources and including input and quotes from a variety of sources involved in both the investigation and Toyota,

Analysis: Structure

I analyzed the progression of information in CNN's article, "Juarez Mayor: Drug Violence Rooted in Mexico's Social Ills."

This article seemed to cover two different issues. It began with a human rights standpoint and spoke to the idea of Mexico's social ills. Later then, the article turned to a more hard news story and reported on the proposal to relocate the Chihuahua state capital.

The lead of the article contains the who, the what, and the why. It basically restates the title and gives "broken homes" as an example of the social ills in Juarez. The second paragraph gives the impact of the situation: 1,000 people have been killed in the country of Chihuahua since the beginning of 2010. The third paragraph gives the proximity: the city of Juarez is located just across the U.S. - Mexican border, south of El Paso, Texas. The reporter then inserts a quote, a good way to break up the facts and to give a voice to Jose Reyes Ferriz, the mayor of Juarez.

In the fifth paragraph, the reporter said that the Governor of Chihuahua is proposing to move the state's capital to Juarez. The following paragraphs then elaborate on this point and explain how all of the state offices would be relocated in an effort to gain a handle on the drug war. This is a really important point, far to big of an issue to be pushed down to the fifth paragraph. For a more effective, hard news article, the reporter should have begun with this information and incorporated the information about Mexico's social ills later in the article.

Analysis: Attribution

For this analysis I used the article "Lancet medical journal retracts study linking vaccine to autism" from the Associated Press.

This article was brief and quotes came from Britain's General Medical Council, and the Lancet and BMJ scientific journals.

The author incorporated a quote as the response of BMJ in the article, and it was interesting that he gave an account of a competing medical journal. Later in the article, the reporter included the Lancet's firm statement on their retraction of Dr. Wakefield's paper, yet I think that an additional quote elaborating their stance on the report would have been informative for the reader.

Information was also used in the article from the General Medical Council, which was a reliable and important source to include. The Council ruled on the case, and the author attributed most of the information to this source.

The author's attributions were clear and made for a smooth reading article. The only source that the reporter could have possibly included that would have made it more well-rounded would have been a quote from Wakefield, since he represents the other side of the issue.

Analysis: Leads

This is the lead that I analyzed; it is a from a Kare 11 local article about two twins adopted from Haiti.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn -- Two Haitian toddlers who survived the earthquake are home in Minnesota. The two-year-old twins were granted humanitarian parole earlier in the week.

The reporter included the who (two-year-old Haitian toddlers), the what (survived the earthquake, now granted parole), the where (now in Minnesota), and the when (earlier this week), in his two sentence lead.

While each part of the lead was detailed, I did not think it was very clear. Kare 11 is a local news station, and the local tie-in (which is what makes it interesting for their readers) was unclear. From reading this lead, I did not understand that in was a Minnesotan woman who was adopting the twins.

The lead was hard news lead, but not as straightforward and clear as it could have been.

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