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Obituary for Former Interior Secretary

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-kleppe7mar07,1,6340134.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_21267899.shtml

The Los Angeles Times obituary, “Thomas Kleppe, 87; Interior secretary under Ford,? thoroughly covers the life and death of the former politician who died last Friday.

Since this article is an obituary, the writer had the challenge of correctly structuring the details of his death and highlighting the important and noteworthy accomplishments in his life, as well as maintaining the proper tone of an obituary. The lead was effective because the writer included his name, his noteworthy job position of being the secretary of Interior under Ford, the preview of the theme of his accomplishments for the environment, the time and place of his death, and his age. The writer did not include a nut graph, and he chose to include all of this information in the lead. Usually the cause of death is in the second paragraph, but this writer said he had Alzheimer’s in the lead. Also, the cause of death is supposed to be attributed and this writer did not provide attribution. Then the writer included the claim to fame section where he included the newsworthy and interesting information of how he became the secretary and his accomplishments for the environment. However, the writer included no quotes except for one partial quote and no clear attribution. The writer also kept the obit tone of giving the good and bad sides because the writer included the negative side of his life by including that many thought he was “an unexpected choice? for secretary, that he was too close to the oil industry, and that his rulings were controversial, as well as the positive aspects of how is rulings helped the environment, like saving millions of ducks, and that he was one of the youngest mayors and one of the richest Congress members. Then the writer included the chronology section where he covered his background in depth from where and when he was born, to where he went to school, to his whole political career. The writer also included who he was survived by, but the writer did not include any information about the funeral arrangements

. The obituary, “Former Interior Secretary Kleppe Dies,? from The Post Chronicle also covers the life and death of Kleppe. This writer included in the lead his name, notable characteristic of his job as the secretary of the interior, and where he died. However, this writer did not include his age until the last paragraph, did not include a theme in the lead, and never said when he died. Like the first writer, this writer also did not have a nut graph, and this writer also did not attribute the cause of his death. This writer, like the first writer, also did not include any quotes in the claim to fame section. This writer included the same noteworthy aspects of his career as the first writer did but not as in depth. This writer also included the good and the bad because among his accomplishments this writer also said that many criticized him for being too close to the oil industry. This writer did not include a chronology except for saying where he was born and just a little about his political career earlier in the article. This writer included who he was survived by, and like the first writer did not include anything about the funeral arrangements.

In my opinion, The LA Times obituary did a better job at communicating the news because this writer went more in depth while discussing his accomplishments and his life story. Also, the lead was more specific and informational because he included all the basic information of his death. The Post Chronicle article never even mentioned when he died. Also, the Post Chronicle writer delayed the age until the last paragraph and I think that should have been in the lead. However, I think both articles would have been better if they included some quotes in the article to give the story some color and to give the person more dimension.

Comments

This is one of the best blog postings of the semester. You demonstrate your detailed understanding of the typical elements of an obituary, and you applied that understanding rigorously to this particular obit.

That part was so good that we'll overlook that your second source was actually a blog. Whoever they are, it's clearly not a professional operation. The first clue is that their article is bylined "Staff," but it quotes the Washington Post, and it ends with a teeny pseudo-copyright mark for UPI, a wire service. Who knows exactly where they stole it from and how they pasted it together. Other clues are the text ads for "Britney Spears Exposed" in the middle of the obit and the lack of contact information or a mailing address.