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Two More Local Children Die From Flu

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/989993.html
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16654116.htm

“Flu deaths have parents eyeing the needle,? is an article from the Star Tribune about how there has been an increase in parents getting their children vaccinated from the flu after two more local children have died from the flu in addition to the 8-year-old St. Paul boy last week. The article says that additional staff is being added at flu clinics, and the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics are giving free flu shots on Saturday. The article also provides background information about the flu season, such as the number of flu outbreaks.

The writer of this article underwent the challenge of deciding on a form to write the article in. The writer chose to use the stack of blocks form because the article is divided into three sections. The first section is written in the hourglass form because the writer begins with the newsworthy information of the two children dying from the flu, the news of the free flu shots and increase in staff at clinics, and the news that Minnesota has had many cases of the flu in recent weeks even though the flu season is not any more dangerous than normal. Then the writer goes back to the beginning of the story and continues telling the news of the two children who died in more specific detail followed by more specific information about the current number of flu outbreaks in Minnesota. The other two sections contain additional information about the flu in a narrative style because the writer uses specific families and children to focus on and uses quotes from them.

The Pioneer Press article, “Flu kills two Minnesota children,? also covers the news of the children dying from the flu. However, this writer chose to write the story in an inverted pyramid style. The writer started with the most important news of the children dying, then told the story in a descending order of importance, and concluded with a national statistic for how many children die annually from the flu, which probably could have been cut if there was not enough space.

In my opinion, the Pioneer Press article was more successful in communicating the news because the inverted pyramid style allowed the most important news of the children dying to be first so readers could learn of the deaths right away. Also, I think the hard news format accurately fit the serious news of the deaths of children. The Star Tribune article was colorful with the quote and sources; yet, the anecdotes about the families were not dramatic and did not have any suspense. For example, one anecdote just said the child got the shot and a green lollipop afterwards. Also, since the article was divided into three sections, the writer repeated information about the free flu shots and staff increases. Also, it was not until the very last paragraph that the writer said specifically where the flu shots are being held and the reader could have quit reading long before then.