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Missile Defense System Test

The U.S. military had a successful test of its missile defense system off the coasts of Hawaii this week. It fired a target missile, and then an interceptor missile, successfully blocking the target missile.

The AP wrote about this story as did the World Peace Herald.

The World Peace Herald, based in Washington, D.C., seems to be a skewed publication with obvious interests—hence the name—and I thought their take on this issue would be interesting to examine.

The AP story is straightforward, defining what happened and placing it in the larger context of U.S. defense. They also gave a brief background on where this program came from, that original tests were done in the desert of New Mexico, but they moved to Hawaii for a larger testing space. This is a difficult story to report on because there are many terms used only by the military as well as acronyms. So reporting on this story requires translation for the audience. The AP story did a pretty good job, but some of the terms relating to missiles stayed undefined—though they were familiar. I know the term but I don’t know what it means.

The World Peace Herald version, written by Martin Sieff, spoke military speak. They had a very PR feel to their story, even though their website spouts their commitment to excellence in journalism. They use a variety of acronyms in the article. They do define them, but one sentence had three acronyms in it—hard to decipher. Also, they used quotes from military personal to tell the story, even though the quotes are full of jargon and largely undecipherable. When I was reading it, I got bored. There wasn’t much deciphering for the average audience in this article.

I am willing to guess though, that the World Peace Herald’s article is more accurate, because it gave very specific information. The AP article decided that we didn’t need all of that information—but it gave the general audience a better general idea than the World Peace Herald.

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