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Shooting in London

There has been more gun violence in the streets on London. Another teenager was shot and killed this weekend. This is the latest in many shootings that have caused the British public to question whether their country was declining. With the recent surge in violence is likening

The New York Times reported on this story, as did the New Zealand Herald. The challenge with this story was to use a current event to comment on a a larger social trend, especially when the public itself is commenting on these latest trends.

The New York Times put the words of the trend in the words of the police commissioner, getting him to say it, instead of just implying this trend throughout the story. They also cite the prevalence of violence as part of the problem.

The London metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, has called for a discussion of proposals to lower the age at which a mandatory five-year jail term is imposed for carrying a gun, from 21 to 17. Sir Ian said the police had detected a “new trend� toward violent crime among young people.

Reporter Alan Cowell chose to use recent crime statistics to add to this story.


According to police figures, murders and gun crime fell slightly in London last year, to 178 killings and about 3,300 offenses in which guns were used. But the recent violence has fueled a debate about social decline.

These statistics are especially effective because they go against the conventional wisdom that gun violence is increasing. Even so, people are debating this issue.

The story also gets political, by quoting a politician from the opposing party criticize the politics of the current government.

The New Zealand Herald piece, by Mark Townsend and Ned Temko, focuses more directly on the most recent story, the gun violence on Saturday. They tell the story chronologically describing the shooting in detail, and then they relate it to two other shootings that occurred recently. This links it to the broader picture later, and not nearly as in depth as the New York Times story. They too, though, quote the police commissioner. They also feature quotes by politicians on what is wrong and where the country should be going.

The story was the same but they chose to focus on slightly different aspects and tell the story in slightly different ways. The New York Times spent more time on the trends and the New Zealand Herald spent more time focusing on the latest story.

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