Recently in Analysis Category

This article from the New York Times discusses the volume in credit default, the safety of European sovereign bonds, and the changes in net contracts in Italy, Spain, and France.

the reporter used to computer-assisted reporting to help visualize the trends in these different categories. The use of charts made the the statistics much more powerful, and easier to understand.

The necessary computer skills this reporter needed to write this article are experience with a spreadsheet and knowledge of how to create a chart. They also needed to know what scale to put the charts on to maximize the differences in the numbers.

The article I will be analyzing is from the New York Times.

Kayvan thinks that Iranians are not stereotyped as dangerous terrorists in general, but the American media has been trying to push this believe on its people ever since the Iranian Hostage Crisis. After that, the media has continually portrayed Iran as a country that is a threat to world peace.

Kayvan pointed out that this article is a prime example of American media portraying Iran as a dangerous nation with quotes discussing potential nuclear bomb construction. Kayvan noted that this is the same agency, the UN, and the same country, the United States, that were convinced there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein and used this as a basis for the invasion of Iraq.

Kayvan, like the vast majority of Persians in the United States, identifies himself as a Persian because his culture and heritage is more closely associated with Persia than with present day Iran in the sense that present day Iran is much more religious whereas Persia was a much more secular society. He is also a senior studying Economics at the University of Minnesota.

Here is the story from the New York Times.

In this story about chain stores occupying New York, the reporter uses numbers to how many chains added stores and how many chains took away stores. He also used percentages to show what areas were receiving the most growth.

The numbers in this story are not overwhelming at all. The reporter does break the two numeral rule in a couple of paragraphs, but that is because he using the numerals as comparisons.

The reporter did do some math to tell the story more effectively because he includes fractions as well as ratios in the story.

The source for this story is an annual census of chain stores released by the Center for an Urban Future.

Here is the obituary form the Star Tribune about David Olson.

This obituary's lead does not follow the standard template. It starts with a little claim to fame blurb about his long career in broadcast journalism and his love for conversation. In my opinion, the lead works for the obituary because it made me feel like this guy mattered to me even though I had never heard of him before.

The story has the standard lead in it, but it does not appear until the third paragraph.

Many sources are used in this obituary. The first is Stuart Sanders who was a longtime friend and the development director at the radio Station Olson worked for. The second is Steve Senyk, Senate Media Services director at the same radio station. The final source is his wife, Nancy Fushan.

This obituary differs from a resume in several ways. First, it does not include all of this academic and work related accomplishments. It only highlights the most noteworthy ones. Second, the obituary mentions a lot of other activities that Olson enjoyed in addition to his work. Finally, the obituary talks about how he was a good, providing father and husband, something that would not be included in a resume.

Analysis: In Dairyland, butter law is a sticking point

| No Comments

This article from the Star Tribune is pretty much a recap of what happened at the public meeting regarding the butter law.

The butter law, in general terms, requires all restaurants, schools, and prisons to serve butter unless margarine is requested by the customer/student/inmate.

The story's main focus is on impact the repeal of the butter law would have on Wisconsinites. For example, 160,000 jobs at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin are supported by the butter law. Restaurants would have the option of only serving margarine. The state could save money by serving less expensive margarine to prisoners.

This article advances the meeting with quotes and predictions of what kind of impact the repeal of the butter law would have. The quotes are from people who attended the meeting and also restaurant owners. It appears that the reporter interviewed restaurant owners in the nearby area and also got quotes from higher ranking officials that were said at the meeting. The reporter also used some "general" knowledge of Wisconsin's history with butter to add some color to the story.

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times both offer a great diversity of multimedia. Both of the organizations offer photos, videos, audio clips, and slideshows.

These media complement news stories by providing another aspect to the news. In the case of photos, videos, and slideshows, that aspect is visual. In the case of audio clips, that aspect is audio. By having these multimedia, news organizations can deliver a bigger impact with their stories. A reader can see the wreckage of a car crash or hear the president's voice when he's giving a speech for example.

The type of writing that accompanies multimedia is simplistic and too the point. The first section usually describes what's in the photo or video, and the second section describes its importance. The writing is an important aspect of the media because if clarifies exactly what the media is disclosing.

Analysis: Toddler found alone in Mpls. identified

| No Comments

Here are the first day and follow-up stories.

The leads in these two stories are completely different. The first story's lead places guilt on the mother by stating, "the mother of the toddler discovered wandering around by himself...has come forward." The second lead does not pin point the focus/blame on the mother, but spreads it out to other family members by stating, "Police say a miscommunication amongst family members led to..."

The main news in the first story gives broad facts about the incident, and it never really describes the miscommunication that took place. All that is stated is that the toddler was found around 4 p.m., he was fully dressed, and that social services were investigating the incident.

The follow-up story provides more details about the incident and pretty much completes the story. For example, the miscommunication was between the boy's grandmother and aunt. One thought the other was watching him and vice versa. The boy ended up outside because he followed his older cousins down the street and got lost. It also reveals that the mother will be in court Monday to potentially regain custody of the toddler.

In conclusion, the follow-up story used the primary story as an outline and filled in the gaps. Without the follow-up, this news story would be a cliff hanger.

In this story from the Star Tribune, the reporter has an excellent lead that summarizes everything that is important (hit and run, how many injured, what the driver did) and interesting (loaded pistol in the car, two injured passengers). The lead also does not give too much away so the reader is inclined to continue reading.

The information of the story, in my eyes, is ordered in a logical manner. First, the summarizing lead. Second, a paragraph explaining exactly when and where the accident took place. Third, a paragraph about how the crash happened, which is followed by an attribution about motorist safety/awareness in construction zones from the state Transportation Commissioner. Finally, a quick paragraph revealing that the driver fled the scene and that there was a loaded pistol in the car.

This ordering of information is effective because it keeps giving the reader more and more detailed information that unravels the incident at hand. Also, including that the driver fled and that there was a loaded pistol in the car was a good kicker to send the reader off. This structure is known as the "Martini Glass."

I guess the information could be ordered in a different way, but that would change the structure style. If I were required to change up the structure, I would put the last paragraph about the driver fleeing the scene right after the paragraph that explains how the crash happened. This would change the structure style to more of a "Inverted Pyramid."

Analysis: Cleared of Rape but Lacking Full Exoneration

| No Comments

In this news story from the New York Times, the reporter used four different sources.

The first of these sources was Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, attorney general for the commonwealth.

The second is a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

The third is Stephen J. Schulhofer, an expert in criminal justice at New York University law school.

The final source used is Thomas Haynesworth who is the man seeking full exoneration from his prior rape charges.

In my eyes, the reporter did a pretty good job of distributing the sources throughout the story. The only thing I would have done differently to the story is I would have included a statement from Haynesworth earlier.

All of the sources are people.

The reporter does not really set up the attributions, he kind of just puts them in. For example, the Cuccinelli attribution is only stating his position as attorney general for the commonwealth and that he supports Haynesworth's effort to get exonerated.

The most interesting attribution of the story is the three-judge panel. The reporter simplified down the decision of the panel into three words, "not so fast." This was stated in the context of whether or not Haynesworth should be exonerated. I thought it was interesting that he didn't include any statements made during this decision, but instead paraphrased.

Analysis: Reno air races fans struggle with horrors of crash

| 1 Comment

The sub-headline in this article serves as the "lead" because it informs the reader of how many people died and what kind of event occurred. It does not reveal where the event took place or exactly what happened, but it hints at the fact that it was one "hellish" experience.

The actual lead in this particular story from the Los Angeles Times is not a straightforward hard-news lead because, in my eyes, the reporter wanted to capture the intensity of the scene at hand. There really is not any important information provided in the lead, yet the reader is drawn in by the description of the horror. The reporter used descriptions (a big crunch and burnt oil) to engage the reader's senses, thus allowing the reader to feel like they were apart of the event.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Analysis category.

Fun is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.