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U.S: 4 Chopter Losses Due To Ground Fire

The story is about the US military helicopter losses in Irag since Jan. 20. The reporter faced many challenges in writing this story. The lead could be written better. There were many passive verbs, independent clauses and unnecessary words. This makes the story confusing. First, the reporter ended the story in five short paragraphs without any information. It would have been nice to know the number of chopters lost in Irag and the number of deaths associated with these chrashes since the war began. How many US soldiers died in the four chrashes? The story did not say.

Then the reporter picked the real story. The bomb explosion that killed more than 137 people in a Baghdad market on Sunday. We find this information in the sixth paragraph. I would report these events separately to avoid confusion.

The lead: "The four U.S. helicopters that have chrashed in Irag since Jan. 20 were apparantly shot down, the chief military spokeman said Sunday - the first time the U.S command has publicly acknowledged that the aircraft were lost to enemy fire." Since lead tells what happens or basic news saying: "Four U.S holicopters shot down in Irag by enemy fire since Jan.20 military spokeman said on Sunday, seems best.
Lacking good grammar, proper AP style, quotations use, were other challenges faced by the writer. Examples. "In the aftermath of the worst single bomb attack in Irag since the start of the war -137 people killed in a suicide truck bombing on shiite market - stunend Irags picked through the rubbles of devasted buildings and loaded coffins onto minivans." The reporter'sjob was to say what happened. 137 people killed in a single suicide bomb. Also, there was no attribution. That makes me to ask, did the reporter personally count the bodies and the wounded cited?

The reporter wrote about "devastated buildings and loaded coffins onto minivans." This is emotion. In the 8th paragraph for instance, the writer said "Bandaged women, children and men filled hospital beds, while several bloodied bodies were piled ontoblankets on the floor of the mosque which was filled to capacity." 9th paragraph: "The blast shaved the nearby buildings." The blast shaved? Reporting a story like this demands a balance between emotions and facts.
To read this story, visit http//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070204/ap_on_re_mi_ea/irag

The same AP story in the Boston Globe was handled very well. The reporter dealt with one story idea. The lead was great, the AP style was followed in every step of the way. Althoug the Lead was long, the reporter dealt very well the new changes ordered by the US military after four copters were shot down by enemy fire. Attribution and quotations were applied according to AP style. I think this was a piece someone like me can easily learn from. I could see many concepts am learning in news writing- Journalism 3101.

Read it http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2007/02/05/us_changes_tactics_after_iraq_copter_attacks/


Comments

This analysis is excellent, Jefferson. You are really getting down to the details. Thanks for including the excerpts in the posting so that we could read along with you. Don't forget that we need three postings per week.