« Snowstorm | Main | Dognapped! »

Tourists kidnapped in Ethiopia

More than twelve western tourists have been kidnapped in a remote region of Ethiopia. Details are sketchy at best. Reports say perhaps 5 Britons and 10 French people were kidnapped, though foreign ministers from both county decline to comment on the details. The wife of the director of the British Council in Ethiopia, Michael Moore, may have been among those kidnapped. The region where the incident took place is notorious for its heat and the rebels that are in the region. The government requires that anyone traveling there has at least two cars and armed guards.

I found two versions of this story, written by the same AP reporter. The version on The Guardian Unlimited online newspaper website was posted around 11 a.m. central standard time Friday. This article gave a definitive number of people kidnapped and attribution to the French foreign minister. He provides details about the regions.

The second version was posted on the Houston Chronicle's Website around noon Friday. In this story the numbers are changed, saying at least 12 were kidnapped, maybe between seven and 10 French and 5 British people, and details about how they were traveling--separately in four cars. This article focused on the British foreign minister, placing this higher in the article. It also provides some more detail about the area, especially about the presence of Rebels in the region.

I think these two very similar versions of this article show how news can be emphasized differently for a new audience, presuming that Americans reading the Houston Chronicle would care more about the British angle than the French, even though the French had more people involved. It also shows the difficultly in reporting on breaking news. The story changed within an hour, new details emerging.

Both mentions Michael Moore's wife.