April 28, 2007

Threats may prevent Prince Harry from going to Iraq

The AP article, “Report: Army may bar Harry from combat,? is about how Prince Harry may not be sent to Iraq on military duty anymore as a result of getting threats of him being kidnapped or killed.

The writer of this story had the challenge of updating the information. It was reported a couple of months ago that Prince Harry would most likely be sent to Iraq. There were questions of his safety back then and Harry was quoted then as saying, “There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country.? However, now since there have been explicit threats made to his safety, the writer had the challenge of getting Harry’s new feelings on being sent to Iraq. The writer said Harry wants to be an ordinary solider, but it is not clear if he said that before or after the threats. Also, the writer said another source reported that Harry’s friends said he would be disappointed if he couldn’t go to Iraq, and the writer said another source reported that he would quit the army if he isn’t deployed.

Another article, “Doubts raised over Prince Harry’s war-zone posting deployment to Iraq,? from the Belfast Telegraph also reported on the news of the threats on Prince Harry’s safety. This writer also had the challenge of updating new information on how Harry now feels about going to Iraq since getting the threats. This writer also said that another source reported that Harry’s friends said he’d quit the army if he can’t go to Iraq. The AP writer at least said the name of the source, and this writer just said “according to one report.? However, this writer, unlike the AP writer, included that the BBC’s royal correspondent dismissed this claim and said that Harry won’t quit. Also, this writer and the AP writer both used that quote from 2005 where Harry said he doesn’t want to sit at home on his “arse? while his boys are out fighting.

In my opinion, I don’t think either of the writers did a very good job at the challenge of updating the information. Both articles used that quote from 2005 when he said he wanted to go to Iraq, but I was interested to know how he feels now since he has gotten a lot of threats. Both writers just used other sources that made claims about how Harry supposedly would be disappointed and he might quit if he isn’t deployed. I did think it was good though that the Belfast Telegraph writer got another opinion on the rumor that Harry might quit by including that the royal correspondent said that his friends denied saying he would quit.

April 22, 2007

New French President Will Bring Changes to France

The AP article, “Change is on France’s presidential menu, but which kind will voters choose?? is about the French presidential elections on Sunday. There are many candidates that all have very different ideals and they all promise a great change for the country. The article examines the candidates and tells the political viewpoints and backgrounds of the candidates while focusing on the top two contenders, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal.

Since this is a story about France written by the AP and for a wide audience, the writer had the challenge of making the story relatable and understandable for its readers. This writer overcame that challenge by focusing on the human element by interviewing average French citizens and describing their feelings on the candidates and how they are deciding who to vote for. For example, the writer concluded the article by including a quote from an average citizen saying that the French people want change, but he doesn’t know exactly how the candidates plan to change France. Also, the article began with a descriptive anecdote about two voters looking at campaign posters who are perplexed in trying to make a decision that will change France.

The Reuters article, “Sarkozy just ahead in France vote,? (I found it in The Sydney Morning Herald) also was about the upcoming presidential election in France and the changes it will bring. This writer also had the challenge of making the article relatable to a wide audience that is outside of France. This writer did not include any quotes or mention of average French voters like the AP writer did; but, this writer made the story relatable and understandable by using numbers. For example, the writer says that a third of the 44.5 million voters have not decided who they are going to vote for yet in Sunday’s election, which tells the reader that many French people are not sure about the candidates. Also, the writer says that voter registration has increased by 4.2 percent and that is the sharpest rise since 1981, which tells the reader that perhaps this election is very important to the French because it holds the potential for so much change for the country.

In my opinion, I like the AP story better because that writer included a human element. This made the story more relatable to me because I learned that the French citizens are very perplexed in this election. The anecdote lead about the two voters looking at the campaign posters and being perplexed drew me into the story more than just starting the story rattling off the names of the French candidates I’ve never heard of before like the Reuters writer did. I also liked that the AP story was very descriptive and used vivid and strong verbs like “rumbling? and “wafting.? If this story was hard news and was covering the election results, the details would have been unnecessary; however, since this story was just describing the upcoming election and the potential candidates, I thought the details were effective in setting the scene and emotions of the voters.

April 7, 2007

Famous Polar Bear Causes Merchandise Frenzy

The AP article, “Knut, Berlin’s famous polar bear cub, creates merchandizing frenzy in Germany,? is about how the zoo’s attendance and stock have dramatically increased because of the popularity of Knut the polar bear club, who became famous after a debate ensued over whether or not to keep him alive since he was rejected by his mother.

Since Knut’s story began a few weeks ago, this writer had the challenge of recapping the previous newsworthiness of Knut while providing the new information. Knut is famous because of the debate over whether or not to keep him alive. The writer did mention that he was rejected by his mother and hand-raised by zookeepers; however, the writer said that he “rose to fame last month thanks to television and newspaper pictures.? Otherwise, the writer did not mention anything else about the debate that made Knut famous.

The International Herald Tribune article, “Knut, the abandoned bear cub, is now a star,? also covers the event of the polar bear causing a media frenzy and the zoo’s attendance and stock to dramatically rise. This writer did give a more detailed recap of why Knut is famous in the first place. The writer said that Knut became “a national cause célèbre? when a debate ensued over whether he should be killed since his mother rejected him and he would be raised by humans. The writer also includes the background of why certain animal-rights advocates and zookeepers thought the bear should not be raised by humans, and the writer included that the bear was able to live because of German schoolchildren’s petition and the publicity.

In my opinion, I think the International Herald Tribune writer did a better job at reporting the news of the media frenzy over Knut. I think this article was effective partly because the writer included the recap of why Knut is famous in the first place. I think the recap is good for readers who are not familiar with Knut’s story, but also this writer is accurate in explaining why he is famous. The AP story, on the other hand, didn’t give a detailed recap to inform or remind readers, and I don’t think the writer is completely accurate in saying Knut is famous for television and newspaper photos because the controversy is what brought Knut to the media’s attention. However, I did like that the AP writer was very thorough in listing all the merchandise that has been created for Knut, as well as being very thorough in giving the exact dollar amounts that the zoo’s stock has increased.

March 25, 2007

Cute and Popular Baby Polar Bear Makes Debut

The McClatchy News Service article, “Kill Knut? He’s way too cute,? written by Matthew Schofield covers the public debut of the baby polar bear at the Berlin Zoo. There was controversy because many animal experts thought that Knut, the baby polar bear, should have been killed because he was raised by humans instead of his species after his mother rejected him.

Since this controversy of this story has been developing over the past week, this writer had the challenge of giving background information on all the newsworthy elements of the story. While this article focused on the public debut of Knut and gave many details on the event like how he played with teddy bears and how there were oohs and ahs from people, the writer also focused on recapping the controversy of whether or not Knut should be killed. The writer included information and quotes from sources from both sides of the controversy explaining their opinions. Also, this writer included the immense popularity of Knut because people made t-shirts, websites, songs, and a blog written from his perspective to protest to keep Knut alive. Also, the writer included how a Berlin newspaper is covering the story with 10 pages and photos devoted to Knut, and how Knut has turned into an icon for the fight to stop the climate change.

The AP story, “Baby polar bear delights Berlin during public debut,? also covers the public seeing the baby polar bear for the first time. However, this writer chose only to focus on the news of the public debut of Knut by giving details of what Knut did during the debut and how the crowed reacted including quotes from excited children. The writer only gave the background information of how his mother rejected him and how “he became famous through? his video podcast and television series and also that celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz took his picture for an environmental campaign. Therefore, the writer made it seem that his podcast and tv show is why he’s famous and not that he was first newsworthy because of the controversy of killing him.

I think that Schofield did a better job communicating the news of the baby polar bear being debuted at the zoo because not only did the writer include details of the debut, I liked that the writer included the other newsworthy elements of the controversy and the immense popularity of Knut. I think it was important that the writer used the novelty element because it’s pretty unique that a polar bear would have his own podcast, tv show, and blog, and he is now an icon for the climate change debate. Even though the debut is the timeliest news, I also like that the writer included all this background information of the controversy to recap Knut’s amazing story for everyone who may not have heard about him yet. Also, I liked the Schofield story because it included more legitimate and serious sources like the animal experts and the zoo director instead of just the two children the AP article quoted. Finally, I liked that Schofield included the link to Knut’s blog so readers could easily check it out. By the way, check the blog out. His blog postings are cute, but there’s also a video to watch Knut!

February 24, 2007

Prince Harry Going to Iraq,0,1362774.story?coll=la-home-world

The news of Prince Harry and his unit being sent out to fight in Iraq is covered in The Los Angeles Times article, “Britain’s Prince Harry is bound for Iraq.? In addition to describing what the prince will do in the war, the writer discusses the public’s reaction of approval and apprehension in sending the third-in-line to the throne prince to the Iraq war, as well as a history of other royals who have served in wars and a discussion of this war being a different situation than the wars the previous royals were involved in, especially since England just announced that they were withdrawing troops.

This writer handled the challenges of being balanced and including many different viewpoints on the issue because she said that there was, “A mixture of approval and national unease? about the prince going to Iraq. The writer said that there is “appreciation? from some, but there are others who fear future videos of him being kidnapped. The writer gave quotes from the prince describing his desire to go with his unit to the war, a joint statement from the Defense Ministry and the royal family asking for privacy so that his locations are not being widely known, and a statement from the ministry saying that it was military decision and the royal family had been consulted. The writer also included a London defenses studies professor giving his opinion on the prince’s safety, and she also included a reaction from a former boxing champion who was arrested when he protested the decision to the prime minister, Tony Blair. Finally, the writer also included the name of a headline in the Sun newspaper that said, “1,600 out…One in,? to emphasize her statement about the prince being sent out when troops are being withdrawn.

The New York Time article, “Prince Harry, 3rd in Line to Throne, to fight in Iraq,? also covers the same event. This writer was not as in depth in including varied sources and opinions. This writer included the kind of statements from the Defense Ministry giving basic information about his deployment. As for the other sources, the writer was not as specific because he included a noncontroversial statement about the prince’s going to war from an unidentified associate who was quoted by the Press Association, another statement that the prince made about his desire to go to Iraq in The Daily Mail, and information from The Evening Standard saying that special forces would be with him for protection. Unlike the LA Times writer, this writer only said that there are “fears among his official handlers that he would be a ‘bullet magnet’ in Iraq, ? and this writer did not go into any more depth about the different reactions from the public.

In my opinion, the LA Times writer did a better job communicating the news of Prince Harry going to Iraq because she focused on the angle of the safety of the prince and how the public is reacting. The New York Times writer just gave basic information about him going to war, but the LA Times writer encapsulated an interesting angle that is unique to this event, which is whether or not it is safe to send a prince into combat in Iraq of all places. To write about the reactions, the LA Times writer used additional sources besides the Defense Ministry and Prince Harry that included the boxing champion who was protesting against it and the defenses studies professor to include more angles and opinions. The New York Times writer only had the sources of the ministry and the prince, and the writer’s only other sources came from other newspapers and one of the sources was unidentified.

February 17, 2007

Passengers Overthrow Hijacker on Air Mauritania

The AP story ran in the Star Tribune entitled, “Fast-thinking pilot fools hijacker with help from passengers,? is about how the pilot and passengers were able to overthrow a hijacker on an Air Mauritania flight by communicating in French- a language the hijacker did not know.

The AP writer had to undergo the challenge of deciding on what style to write the article in. The writer chose the hourglass style because it begins with the essential news that the pilot and passengers successfully overthrew the hijacker because the pilot braked and knocked the hijacker off balance and instructed the passengers how to overthrow the hijacker by speaking in French, a language the hijacker did not know. Then the writer transitions into telling the whole story from the beginning with more detail by giving details on how the hijacking took place, that the hijacker tried to diver the plane to France to get asylum, and step-by-step details of how the passengers overthrew him. Throughout the chronological story, the writer mixed in quotes from the passengers to give the article more color and emotion. The article concluded by saying that about 20 people were “slightly injured? and that the hijacker was arrested when the plane landed.

Another article from BBC News called, “Mauritania pilot outwits hijacker,? also covered the story of the thwarted hijacking. This writer chose to write the article in a stack of blocks format because there are a couple of subheads with their own sections. The lead of the story says the essential information that the pilot braked to knock the hijacker off balance and “tipped off passengers about the plan after realising the hijacker spoke no French…,? and the hijacker was “overpowered after being knocked over…?. This writer did not say in the lead specifically how the passengers overthrew him. The AP writer said in the lead that the passengers “threw boiling water from a coffee maker on the man’s face and chest, then beat him into submission.? Also, the BBC News Writer wrote in the lead that the police are investigating how the man got on the plane with the guns, whereas the AP writer did not even mention this information. The other sections emphasizing the overthrow and the end results did not have quotes from passengers like the AP writer did.

In my opinion, the AP writer relayed the overthrow of the hijacking more successfully because the hourglass form allowed for the writer to tell the most important details right away, and the chronological succession allowed for the writer to tell step-by step exactly how the pilot and passengers worked together to overthrow the hijacker in a dramatic and suspenseful way. However, I think that the writer should have included the important information of the injuries and the hijacker’s arrest in the beginning. There was some conflict between the AP article and The BBC News article though because the AP said there were “slight injuries? and the BBC said there were injuries and “a pregnant woman who was treated for severe shock.? Regardless of to what extent the passengers were injured, if there were many injuries I still think that this should have been in the beginning of the article.

February 10, 2007

Peacekeepers Fight Gangs in Haiti

The New York Times article, “U.N. Peacekeepers Fight Gangs in Haiti, One Street at a Time,? is about how the president of Haiti allowed peacekeepers to come in and try to defeat the gangs that have plagued Haiti for years. The article gives an in-depth look at the gang situation, including how the gangs have dominated over recent politicians, the vicious actions of the gang, and different reactions from people on whether or not using the peacekeepers to fight off the gangs is a good idea.

The writer of this article underwent the challenge of deciding on a style to write this in-depth article by writing in the hourglass form. The first three paragraphs give the most newsworthy information of the president deciding to let peacekeepers come to Haiti to rid the people of the gangs. The fourth paragraph begins to tell the situation from the beginning when the U.N. became involved in 2004, and the writer describes the specific acts of the gangs that led to the president making the decision to involve peacekeepers. The story also continues with information about past raids, the gangs’ history, and Haiti’s history. The story concludes with an anecdote to describe the current conditions. The writer also mixes in quotes from different sources to further explain the situation and to give their opinions on whether or not the peacekeepers fighting the gangs is effective.

The International Herald Tribune also covered the same story in the article, “U.N. peacekeepers raid Haitian slum in major operation against gangs.? This writer used the inverted pyramid style to cover the story. The lead states the most important news of the U.N. peacekeepers invading slums in Haiti to fight gangs and two people were injured and one killed. The next paragraph gives additional specific information about the peacekeepers and where in Haiti the fighting is taking place. The rest of the article descends in order of importance, and the writer uses quotes from sources while giving further explanations and background on the situation.

In my opinion, I think that The New York Times did a better job at communicating the situation of the gangs in Haiti because the hourglass format allowed the writer to go more in-depth and to write about the situation in a chronological format. I think the chronological format was effective because it gave readers more of a background so they could understand the situation better since most readers of the Times are probably not very familiar with Haitian news. Also, the narrative parts of the gang’s crimes and the quotes helped the reader imagine and understand the horrors of the gangs and the helplessness of the innocent civilians.

February 2, 2007

U.N. Report Issues Global Warming Findings
The USA Today article, “Global warming probably caused by human activity, U.N. report says,? is about the United Nations Report issued Friday that announced humans are most likely the cause for global warming, and that conditions would persist despite efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The article stated information that was disclosed in the report, including the news that the increases in air and ocean temperatures, melting of ice and snow, and rising sea levels are evidence that the climate is warming, and that floods, droughts, and hurricanes are caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
The writers of this article handled the challenges of using quotes and attributing in an article about the controversial issue of global warming because the writers attributed the findings and opinions to the scientists and politicians so that the reader would know that the writers are not stating their own opinions. The writers reported the controversial and opinionated statements by using many direct quotes. For example, the writers used a direct quote from John Kerry to state the opinionated and controversial statement, “Although President Bush just noticed that the earth is heating up, the American public, every reputable scientist and other world leaders have long recognized that global warming is real and it's serious,? in order to clarify to readers that is not their opinion.
The San Francisco Chronicle also wrote about the U.N. Report on global warming in the article, “Warming ‘Likely’ Man-Made, Unstoppable.? This writer also used many direct and indirect quotes and attributed the findings and opinions to the sources. However, this writer said, “…That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame,? without any clear attribution.
In my opinion, since the San Francisco Chronicle writer did not attribute this statement, it seemed that the writer was making his own assumptions. The writer could have communicated better if he had found a source to attribute this statement. However, I think this article succeeded in using more quotes from Bush’s administration to balance both sides better than the USA Today article did because the USA Today writer mostly used statements from those who strongly believe in global warming.

January 26, 2007

U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty to Killing 2 Iraqis

The New York Times article, “G.I. Gets 18-Year Prison Term for Killing 2 Captive Iraqis,? is about the sentence Corey R. Clagett received Thursday. The article describes Clagett’s case in depth and describes the situation in which the murders took place. The article also gives a lot of information regarding the court cases of two fellow soldiers involved in the same case and how one’s conviction increases the chance of another’s conviction. The article is well-balanced and the story is a hard news story told without emotion. The story also included quotes from Clagett and his lawyer. The link to this article is

The lead was not too long, and it summarized the important news of the soldier pleaded guilty to killing two Iraqis and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Also, the writer followed the standard lead format of referring to Clagett as “an army infantryman? since he is not well-known and waited until the next paragraph to say his name.

A Los Angeles Times article covered this same story in an article called, “Third soldier pleads guilty in Iraqi men’s deaths.? This lead was shorter than The New York Times article, but it had less specific information in it. The writer referred to the Iraqi killings by “his crimes? instead of saying exactly what the crimes were like The New York Times did. The Los Angeles Times also included emotion in their lead by describing how Clagett pleaded guilty by saying his plea was “in clinical detail? and that “he was profoundly sorry for what he had done.? The Los Angeles Times also included his name in the lead unlike The New York Times.
The link to this article is,1,2785019.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&track=crosspromo

In my opinion, The New York Times article was much better at communicating the news than The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times seemed as though it was trying to elicit sympathy from the audience for the convicted soldier by emphasizing emotions because it included several quotes from his mother, the fact that she was crying, and how he sent home his army paychecks. Also, the article said, “His eyes downcast, Clagett told a military court that he had conspired with two other U.S. soldiers…?. The writer could have left out the part about his eyes being downcast and just reported what Clagett said. The lead was not very strong either because the writer did not summarize the most newsworthy information. The writer simply said Clagett “confessed his crimes? and did not tell readers what the crimes were. The writer also included the soldier’s whole name when leads typically just give a description of the person and state the name in the next paragraph unless the person is very well-known. I did not think that the word, “clinical,? was a good word choice either. According to, clinical does mean “extremely objective and realistic,? but all the other definitions have to do with diseases or clinics. Also, the lead started off by saying Clagett was “profoundly sorry for what he had done.? The adverb, “profoundly,? should not have been included because it reveals opinion of the writer’s behalf, and the statement sets the tone for the article that the reader should feel sorry for Clagett instead of just letting the reader decide for themselves how they feel about the conviction. I liked The New York Times article because the lead was more effective. It was effective because it included the newsworthy information and withheld the name until later. Also, this article stated the information more objectively.