April 29, 2007

10,000 Year Old Camel Bones Found

The AP article, “Bones of prehistoric camel found in Arizona,? is about how the bones of a 10,000 year old camel were found last Wednesday in a construction site in Mesa, Arizona. This discovery is very rare, and the bones will be displayed at Arizona State University.

Since this is a light-hearted story and the description of the bones, its discovery site, and how they were discovered is very pertinent information, the writer had the challenge of using description. The lead reads like a hard news story because they stated the essential information of the 10,000 year-old bones being found in a construction site in Mesa, but the writer did not make the lead descriptive or unique. The writer said that the bones were found at the construction site of a future Wal-Mart in suburban Mesa, Arizona; but, otherwise the writer did not include a specific location. This writer was vague in simply saying that workers at the construction site unearthed the bones but did not specify what the workers were doing when they found the bones. Also, the writer did not describe the bones at all or say what types of bones were found.

The East Valley Tribune in Phoenix also covered the news of the camel bones discovery in the article, “Prehistoric camel bones found in Mesa.? This writer also had the challenge of using description to tell the reader what the bones looked like and where and how they were found. This writer had a detailed lead by saying that the nursery owner is used to digging up river rock and caliche when digging holes for citrus trees. The writer mentioned the street names of where the bones were discovered. This is a recognizable place for local readers, but even though national readers don’t know these street names it does give some reinforcement that these bones were actually discovered. This writer was also very specific and used vivid verbs in describing how the bones were discovered. He said that “a backhoe plunged into earth and dumped bones onto the ground.? He also explained that the workers were digging a trench and a hole when they unearthed the bones. This writer was also very descriptive because he listed the exact bones found such as teeth, a hoof, and a scapula among a few others.

In my opinion, I think the East Valley Tribune writer used description better in their story while describing the bones and how and where the bones were discovered. I liked that the writer used vivid verbs, detailed descriptions of how and where the bones were found, and listed the exact types of bones that were found. These descriptions made the story more enjoyable and interesting, but these are facts that provide further proof that these bones actually were discovered. I think that the AP writer was a little vague in describing the location of the discovery and how the bones were discovered. Also, the article and its lead read like a hard news story, but personally I think this story was effective being descriptive and more light-hearted.

April 21, 2007

Possible Theory on Pet Food Contamination,0,525430.story?coll=chi-bizfront-hed,CST-NWS-pet20.article

The article, “Spiking theorized in pet deaths,? by two Los Angeles Times writers ( I found it published in the Chicago Tribune) is about how the recent pet food contaminations could have been caused by Chinese manufacturers adding the chemical melamine to make it look as though the food had more rice protein so they could charge more for an insufficient product.

Since the Chinese manufacturers are being accused of intentionally contaminating pet food, the writers especially had the challenge of being balanced and avoiding libel since this accusation could be damaging. The writers included the side of the FDA and the organization’s chief veterinarian stating that they think the food was intentionally contaminated and why they think that. The writers also included the side of the Chinese manufacturers. There was an indirect quote from the Chinese government saying that the contaminated ingredients weren’t meant for the food. The FDA said that they traced the contaminated food to a specific manufacturer and the writers gave the company’s general manager a chance to talk. Even though the manager just said they are investigating and had no other comment, the writers at least said he was contacted and “declined to answer questions.?

The AP story,?Pet food spiked for protein: theory? (I found it in the Chicago Sun-Times) also covered this news event. The writer had the same challenge of being balanced and avoiding libel by perhaps falsely saying the Chinese manufacturers deliberately contaminated the pet food, which would be damaging. This writer, unlike the LA Times writers, only included the side of the FDA. Upon first glance it looks like the writer included the Chinese manufacturers’ side by saying, “Chinese authorities have said….?. However, this statement is attributed to Stephen Sundlof – who is the chief FDA vet. So an FDA vet spoke for the Chinese authorities, and the statements of the Chinese authorities/manufacturers/ government were not included. Also, in the next sentence, the writer starts off by saying, “Still,? which seems to undermine the validity of what the Chinese authorities supposedly said. Finally, the paragraph is concluded by saying, “That raises the possibility the contamination was deliberate,? without any attribution and seems to be based on the writers’ opinion.

I think the LA Times writers did a much better job at informing readers of the alleged contamination by the Chinese manufacturers. These writers gave both sides an opportunity to speak and attributed all their statements. The AP writer, on the other hand, did not give the Chinese manufacturers or government a chance to respond, and I thought it was inappropriate that the writer let the FDA vet speak for the Chinese authorities.

April 7, 2007

Coyote goes from Downtown Chicago Quiznos to the Wild,1,2969761.story?coll=chi-news-hed,CST-NWS-coyote05.article

The Chicago Tribune article, “Urban coyote gets his space,? is about how the coyote that wandering into a downtown Chicago Quiznos on Tuesday was released into the wild on Wednesday.

This writer had the challenge of using an array of sources and giving complete information. This writer used many sources for this story that included the owner of the property where the coyote was released, the manager of the Quiznos the coyote wandered into, the founder and director of the Flint Creek refuge where the coyote was originally placed, and the director of Animal Care and Control. Also, the writer gave complete information on the news event including that the employees of Quiznos visited the coyote, now named Adrian, before he was released and offered him a warm prime-rib sandwich on garlic bread (the vets didn’t let the coyote eat it though) and Quiznos donated $1,000 to Animal Care and Control for taking care of the coyote, and that Adrian was the third coyote captured in Chicago in the past three weeks and that 10 to 15 coyotes are annually captured in Chicago.

The Chicago Sun Times article, “Downtown dog to country coyote,? also covered the news of Adrian the coyote being released into the wild. This writer did not use as many sources as the Tribune writer. This writer included a quote from the owner of the property where Adrian was released. The writer also included the kennel manager and the founder of the Flint Creek refuge, but the writer only attributed the minor facts of how old the coyote is and that he ate and rested at an animal shelter the night before he was released. Also, this writer did not include any additional information like the Tribune writer did because the Tribune writer included the sandwich and money they donated, as well as the statistics on coyotes in Chicago.

In my opinion, the Chicago Tribune writer did a better job at telling the story of Adrian the coyote being released. I liked this article because the writer included so many sources and quotes to give the full picture. Also, I really liked that this writer included the extra information about how Quiznos reacted because it is interesting to know that the manager was so nice about the situation and gave Adrian a sandwich and donated money. It was also interesting to know the statistics on coyotes being captured in downtown Chicago because coyotes in a city seem so unexpected. However, the Sun Times writer was also successful in communicating the main information of the release, and I think the hourglass structures used in both articles were effective because the updated information of the release was announced first and then the whole story beginning with Adrian going into the Quiznos was told chronologically. Also, I liked that both articles included photo galleries of Adrian, and the Tribune website even had a video of Adrian being released.

March 30, 2007

Dog Saves Owner by Performing Heimlich Maneuver,0,3140367.story?page=2

The Baltimore Sun article, “Canine heroics: a doggone mystery,? tells the story of the golden retriever, Toby, who saved his owner by performing the Heimlich maneuver on her after she choked on a piece of an apple. After she began chocking, the dog knocked her down and started jumping up and down on her chest until the apple was dislodged.

This writer had to undergo the challenge of being objective and fair while writing this article. Instead of just reporting the facts surrounding the story of how the golden retriever performed the Heimlich maneuver, this writer had the angle of discussing whether or not the dog intentionally knew what he was doing when he performed the Heimlich maneuver or if he was just reacting to her stress. However, the writer was not objective and instead had an editorializing voice sometimes. For example, after the writer listed several high-profile dog rescue stories from earlier this year, the writer asked, “What’s next, a Chihuahua conducting a coronary bypass?? Also, the writer was not fair and balanced because the writer used four different sources and used quotes from them all stating various ways that Toby did not intentionally mean to help because he did not know what was going on and that humans tend to anthropomorphize animals. The writer used one neutral source who said that the rescue was amazing and people can speculate, but people do not know what really caused the dog to save her. However, the writer used no sources that thought that the dog really knew what he was doing and intentionally saved her life by jumping up and down on her chest.

The AP story, “Owner says dog saved her with ‘Heimlich,’? also covers the news of the dog performing the Heimlich maneuver on his owner. This writer maintains objectivity and is fair because this writer chose to just state the facts about what happened. The writer includes quotes from the woman that was saved explaining how the dog saved her and stating that her doctor said she would have died if it hadn’t been for what Toby did. Unlike the Baltimore Sun writer, this writer did not include any opinions from any other sources.

Overall, I think the AP writer communicated the news better because the writer was more objective and fair (probably because it’s an AP story that was sent to newspapers all over the country). I liked that the Baltimore Sun writer went more into depth about the event and explored the concept of whether or not the dog intentionally meant to save his owner since this is an interesting debate. However, I think the writer should have also included sources who could give their statements on why they think Toby did know his owner was in danger and did know exactly what he was doing when he jumped up and down on her chest. I for one believe that the dog knew what he was doing and the writer even acknowledged that many people anthropomorphize animals, so I think the writer should have found some sort of credible source who could defend this position so that the article would be more fairly balanced. Also, I didn’t like how the writer seemed to be mocking the story with his tone like when he sarcastically joked about the next animal rescue story being a Chihuahua doing a coronary bypass.

March 24, 2007

Recalled Pet Food Contained Rat Poison

The AP article, “Rat poison found in recalled pet food,? covers the announcement that rat poison was found in the pet food that got recalled this week and was the cause of the deaths of at least 15 cats and two dogs and many other illnesses.

The writer of this article had the challenge of using numbers and explaining the scientific elements of the event and making it more understandable for all people. The deadly substance found is called aminopterin, and the writer explained this very complex term to the readers by defining it as being a cancer drug used in abortions. However, the writer wrote that the amount of aminopterin found was “40 parts per million,? and did not explain that phrase very well. Otherwise, the numbers of the deaths of the animals, and the number of brands and subsequent cans and pouches of food recalled were woven into the sentences well and were effective in depicting the seriousness and high impact of the food recall.

The New York Times article, “Rat Poison Found in Pet Food Linked to 14 Deaths,? also covers the announcement and also had the same challenge of using numbers and explaining the science and jargon in a simple way. This writer, like the first writer, included the number of animal deaths, cans recalled, and the number of the $51 million class action suit to effectively show the impact of the situation. This writer did not explain what aminopterin is as well as the AP writer did because this writer first stated it as “a rodenticide that has not been approved for use in the United States or in Canada.? The term “rodenticide? makes sense because one could think of insecticide, but it is still an unfamiliar word and the writer leaves the question of why it is not approved in the U.S. or Canada. A couple paragraphs later, the writer then explains the aminopterin as “a derivative of folic acid,? and later in the same paragraph the writer finally explains it as something that was used to treat cancer and induce abortions. This writer also did not say how the animals died right away, but instead said towards the end of the article that the animals had renal failure. The AP writer, on the other hand, said that the animals had kidney failure somewhat early in the article, which is a more familiar term than renal failure. However, this writer did explain the term methotrexate simply by saying that it treats cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, this writer did give more of a human interest side to the story to help connect with the readers by including the stories of two pet owners and how their pets either died or got ill, as well as some strong quotes like, “They used something that kills rats on the street into the food we trusted.?

Overall, I think that the AP writer did a better job communicating the news because this writer explained the scientific terms better than the New York Times writer, which makes sense since the AP is written for numerous newspapers and the New York Times is written for a more sophisticated audience. For example, I thought “used to kill rats? was easier to understand than “rodenticide.? I especially thought the phrase, “the derivative of folic acid,? was way too complex and didn’t add anything because I didn’t even understand what that meant at all. However, I do like that the New York Times writer included the personal stories to give a sympathetic and human interest approach that could help connect with viewers and get the point across that this situation is extremely serious and deadly. I also liked that both articles included links of the lists of the pet food that has been recalled for readers to easily refer to.

March 9, 2007

Obituary for Former Interior Secretary,1,6340134.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

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.

March 2, 2007

Clinton and Obama Scheduled to Speak in Alabama,8599,1595029-1,00.html

The AP article written by Ben Evans called, “Clinton, Obama Address Selma, Ala,? is an advance article informing readers that the senators are scheduled to speak at an event honoring the 42nd anniversary of the famous civil rights march that played a role in eliminating segregation. This writer also heavily emphasizes his angle of discussing the amount of black voter support each senator will have in the election.

Since this article is an advance on the senators’ speeches, the writer had to undergo the challenge of determining the most interesting aspect of the speeches and informing the writers of the necessary information. Since the speeches are taking place in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the anniversary of the civil rights march, the writer chose to emphasize the civil rights movement, as well as the fact that the rival senators are both in the same city at the same time. For example, the writer said, “Steeped in civil rights symbolism, the speeches offer rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama an opportunity to show unity with the black community while they spar over support from a crucial Democratic constituency.? The writer also focused on the reasons why each senator would have support from black voters in the election. Besides the topic of honoring the civil rights march, the writer also informed readers the date, city, and the name of the churches in which they are speaking. Otherwise, the writer did not mention any more specific information regarding the event. This writer did not have a nut graph because the lead begins with the fact that the senators are speaking on Sunday. However, the writer did include in the lead the specific and interesting information that the rival senators are planning on speaking in the same city at the same time and that the event is to commemorate the anniversary of the march.

Another advance article written on the speeches written by Beth Fouhy from the AP is called, “Bill Clinton to Join Wife in Alabama.? This writer also chose to emphasize the black support for each senator, but this writer chose to focus on Bill Clinton being present at the speech. Evans did not include anything about Bill Clinton being in Selma on Sunday. In fact, there is some contradiction between the two writers because Evans said that Hillary Clinton would be picking up the award for her husband. Fouhy also specified the information of the date and city that the speeches are taking place, but this writer did not state the names of the churches like the first writer did. Fouhy did have a nut graph where she stated the date, location, and speakers of the event; and, in the lead she previewed her angle of Bill Clinton joining his wife. Also, both writers kept the correct verb tense for advances by saying they are “scheduled to…,? instead of they are speaking.

I liked the angle of Evan’s article because it focused on the event topic of the civil rights movement and the aspect that the rival senators are going to be in the same place at the same time. Since it related to the topic of the event, I thought this angle was more interesting than the Fouhy article because she focused on Bill Clinton who has nothing directly to do with the speeches other than being married to one of the speakers. Since these are both AP articles, it makes sense that the writer did not go into too much detail about the exact time, location, parking, and price. However, I do like that the Evans article was a little more specific by including the names of the churches they are speaking at. I do like that both of the writers made their leads specific, interesting, and previewed their angles, and I also liked that both writers gave the background on the historical significance of Selma, Alabama.

February 23, 2007

Clinton and Obama Face Off,1,675984.story?page=1&track=rss

The article from The Chicago Tribune, “Clinton, Obama come out swinging: Fundraiser’s barbs spark war of words,? is about the back and forth accusations between rival democratic presidential candidates, senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The arguments ensued after a Hollywood producer and executive, who gave money to Obama’s campaign, said that Clinton lies with “such ease,? among some other insults to her and Bill Clinton.

These writers underwent the challenge of determining news values for this topic. The writers included the basic news values of timeliness (the producer’s comment was published yesterday, Wednesday, and the verbal spats have been ensuing since), impact (the public needs to be informed on the candidates because they will vote), proximity (U.S. presidential candidates), and conflict (the accusations from each candidate). These writers also applied the prominence news value because they included detailed information about the Hollywood fundraiser and stars. The writers also used the news value subsidies of including an entertainment angle to the story because they focused heavily upon the Hollywood fundraiser, and this entertainment subsidy also includes the unusualness/ novelty subsidy because the entertainment industry is usually not included in political articles.

The AP article, “Obama, Clinton camps accuse each other of nasty campaigning,? also covers the accusations between Clinton and Obama that resulted from the producer’s Clinton insult. This writer also used the same news values of timeliness, impact, proximity, and conflict. However, this writer did not apply the prominence news value of including information on the Hollywood fundraiser or the stars. The writer did not focus on the subsidy of the entertainment aspect nearly as much as the Tribune writer did. This writer only mentioned the Hollywood producer in the lead and in the next paragraph when the writer gave the quote about Clinton and said it resulted in the accusations. Otherwise, the AP writer did not include anything else about the entertainment aspect.

In my opinion, I think that the Tribune writers and the AP writer both communicated the news successfully. I think it was good that the Tribune writers applied the prominence news value because the event did involve the Hollywood producer. I also think including the Hollywood angle added another layer to the article. For example, when the writers said that “The Clinton campaign, perhaps stung by Obama’s successful incursion into Hollywood, which at one time was unchallenged Clinton country…,? it added another interesting angle to perhaps why Clinton was so upset at the producer’s comment. I’m not sure if the producer made the comment at the fundraiser or not, but I think the fundraiser still could have been mentioned because the producer hosted it and it includes some prominence with the stars. However, I think the writers devoted too much space to the stars and this gave more publicity to Obama. The AP writer was successful because he or she did not overemphasize the stars, but a small mention of the Hollywood notoriety could have been good since the story does include some prominence.

February 16, 2007

New Dollar Coins Debut Thursday

The New York Times article, “A Push for Dollar Coins, Using Presidential Fervor,? includes numerous aspects on the new one dollar coins. The article mostly gives detailed comparisons of the coin and dollar and the previous public favor of bills instead of coins. The article also covers many aspects of the coins including the presidential design, the promotion of the coins, a detailed account on the process of how they are made, the question over whether or not dollar bills will be eliminated, the public reaction of coins in other countries, information on previous American dollar coins (Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea), and results from a study that researched the failures of coins.

In order to write this multi-faceted article, the writer had to undergo the challenge of determining news values. The writer focused on the news value of impact by saying that the United States Mint “has been working just as hard to make sure that the new coins don’t end up as just another collector’s item,? and the writer also focused heavily on the issue that the coins could potentially replace the dollar bill. This information made it seem as though the coins are going to be mainstream and affect everyone - not just collectors. The writer also focused on the conflict issue by including the pros and cons of the coins and the bills and by including the results from the study on the failure of the coins. The writer used the value of timelines as well because the story was published today, the same day the coins are being put in circulation. This writer also used the news value of proximity because the coins are being released in the U.S., but the writer also devoted a lot of space in the article to coins in other countries, which decreased the proximity.

An article from the Kansas City Star, “New dollar coin set for its debut,? also covers the topic of the new dollar coins. This writer also applies the timeliness and proximity values. However, this writer seemed to decrease the impact of the new coins because the writer said in the lead that “folks with a yen for special coins can tuck a new version of George Washington…,? and there is a quote saying that “collectors? will love the coins. This information does not affect as many people because the writer makes it seem as though the coins are only for collectors. This writer also did not focus as heavily as the NYT article did on the conflict between the practicalities of the coins versus dollars.

In my opinion, the NYT communicated the news more successfully because the writer chose to focus on the coins as being widely distributed and mainstream, which made the article relevant to more people. The Kansas City Star article, on the other hand, made it seem as though the coins were only for collectors. I also liked that the NYT writer made a thorough comparison on the coins and bills because it helped me to understand and think about the different practicalities of each so I could decide which currency I prefer. However, I did not like that the NYT article devoted so much of the article on the process of making the coins. I didn’t think it was relevant or interesting so I think it should have been eliminated or put at the end of the article.

February 6, 2007

Astronaut Charged with Attempted Murder,0,5354281.story?track=mostviewed-homepage

The Los Angeles Times article, “Astronaut to be charged with attempted murder,? reports on the news of the astronaut, Lisa Marie Nowak, who was arrested on a charge of attempted murder after she posted bail Tuesday for her arrest on a charge of kidnapping and various other charges. These arrests stemmed from an incident when she confronted another woman, whom Nowak thought to be a romantic rival for the affections of another astronaut, and police found a knife and garbage bags among other suspicious items.

For this story about an arrest, the writer of this article underwent the challenge of not suggesting that Nowak is being judged before a trial. The writer succeeded by using careful wording that is also specified in the AP stylebook. For example, the writer said that Nowak was “accused of stalking and attacking her rival…?, which is correct because the writer simply stated that she is being accused of the crime and has not yet been formally charged. Also, the writer said that Nowak was “re-arrested on a charge of first degree attempted murder,? which is also correct because the writer said “on a charge of.? If the writer had said, “arrested for murder,? that would have been implying guilt. The writer also attributed these charges to court officials, which made it clear to readers that these charges were verified. However, the writer said that Nowak carried the knife, garbage bags, and other suspicious items without any attribution. However, these items may have been listed in the police report and would then not need any attribution.

However, in The New York Times article, “Astronaut Charged With Attempted Kidnapping,? the writer did attribute the police as the source who said that these items belonged to Nowak. This writer was also careful to not place judgment on Nowak before the trial. For example, the writer said that Nowak was “arrested on attempted kidnapping and other charges,? instead of saying she was “arrested for kidnapping and other charges.? Also, both articles attributed the circumstances of the confrontation that led to the arrests to the police or the police affidavit.

In my opinion, both articles were successful because the writers did not place judgment before the trial by including the words, “on a charge of? and “accused of?. However, I think the Los Angeles Times writer should have used the police to attribute that the items did belong to Nowak. It may have been in the police report, but the writer attributed other basic information to the police so I think the writer would have been clearer and more careful if he also attributed the statement about the items.

February 2, 2007

Biden's Controversial Comment,1,2450042.story?coll=chi-news-hed

The New York Times article, “Biden Unwraps ’08 Bid With an Oops!,? discusses the controversy over Senator Joseph R. Biden’s remarks about Senator Barack Obama that many have deemed racist and offensive. The article also discusses previous blunders in Biden’s political career, Biden’s attempts to clarify his intentions by going on “The Daily Show? and apologizing to Obama and others, and the reactions of Obama and other African American politicians.
The writer of this article had many good quotes, including many partial quotes that were appropriate because they captured specific words that were colorful such as the partial quote, “blabbering bluster.? However, some of the statements were controversial, assumptions, or opinions and should have been attributed. For example, the statement that said Biden is, “known in Washington for his long-winded ways and his love of the microphone and the spotlight…?, and the statement that said he, “did something entirely out of character: He announced he was done talking,? may not be everyone’s opinion. Thus, the writer could have found someone to attribute these remarks.
An article from the Chicago Tribune called, “Biden tosses hat in ring, puts foot in mouth,? handled the challenge of attributing in a more appropriate manner because there were no controversial statements that went without attribution. This article also handled partial quotes well by placing quotes around unique phrases like, “lightning in a bottle.? Many of the same direct quotes were quoted in the same way in both articles, but I thought it was interesting that the quote when Biden quoted a saying of his mother’s was placed in single quotes in the Chicago Tribune article, and the New York Times writer used a colon to introduce the saying and did not put single quotes around the saying.
In my opinion, the Chicago Tribune article would have been more effective if it focused on the news of Biden’s controversial remark about Obama instead of delving too much into his policy on the Iraq war and the personal story about his wife and daughter dying in a car accident when he was 29. This story was obviously very sad, but it seemed out of place, and since the writer chose to end the article with this I almost forgot that the article was about Biden’s comment. I liked the New York Times article because it used descriptive words like “wounded? and “squak.? However, I did not know why the writer referred to the people in the story as “Mr.? instead of referring to the people by their last names like most articles do.

January 26, 2007

Milwaukee High Schools Ban Cell Phones

The Star Tribune article writes about the new ban on cell phones in Milwaukee high schools in the article, “Violence in Milwaukee schools prompts ban on cell phones.? The article used an incident that happened earlier this month when Milwaukee high school students used their phones to call family members and other adults to join in on a fight as the major event leading up to the ban. The article made both this particular fight and the cell phone ban the two newsworthy events. The writer cited violence as Milwaukee’s reasoning for banning cells, and the writer mentioned other major cities that have a ban as a result of cheating and distraction. The article was well-balanced, and the writer included many sources like the safety security assistant at the school where the fight happened, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent, the district’s director of safety and security, the president of the National School Safety and School Services, a mother, a high school student, and a spokesman for Milwaukee schools, and a district attorney.

The lead was a little long, and it was not written in the past tense. The lead is an example of a buried lead because it included an anecdote about a fight that intensified due to cell phones, which led to the major news of the cell phone ban.

The USA Today article, “Students get message: Leave phones at home,? also covered the same event. This lead was very different from the first article because this lead was shorter, and it reported the news of the ban in a different way. This lead said that the ban was due to cheating and distracting and waited until the next paragraph to report the fight that The Star Tribune used in its lead and emphasized as the main reason for the ban. Also, the USA Today article made the story less localized by stating that “schools across the USA are cracking down…?, and The Star Tribune article specified it is Milwaukee that is currently banning cell. The USA Today article never made it clear that the ban is in Milwaukee except for the fact that it is datelined as Milwaukee.

In my opinion, the articles both communicated well because they were both well-balanced and had many sources ( in fact both articles used 3 of the same sources), and they cited many reasons that prompted the ban, like the violence, cheating, and distraction, as well as the events of the Columbine shootings and 9/11. I liked The Star Tribune article because it focused on the specific news that Milwaukee banned the phones since that is the most recent school to ban cell phones; however, I also liked The USA Today article because it made the news less localized and more broad by including a lot of information about several other cities that have similar bans and each city’s own reasoning for banning. I think USA Today was effective in making its article more newsworthy to a broad audience since it is a popular national publication, and I think The Star Tribune was effective in making it specifically about Milwaukee because it is not a popular national newspaper and Milwaukee is somewhat close to the Minneapolis area.