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In this ABC News story, a press conference served as just one part of a variety of sources bringing depth to a Minneapolis workplace shooting that resulted in six deaths last September. Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan's comments in a press conference as summarized by the Star Tribune ground the story in facts from police investigation of the crime.
Mention of information from the press conference first appears in the second paragraph and continues again with a direct quote from Dolan in paragraph four. The first half of the article focuses on official police statements, lending credibility to the report and informing readers early-on of some of the physical details behind the shootings.
The reporter expands beyond the official accounts near the end of the story when he gathers observations from Barbara Haynes and Marques Jones, two individuals who were near the scene of the crime and witnessed some of the aftermath. This segment of the story adds a more personal angle than the press conference notes had, including the image of Jones and his senior portrait photographer running to their cars out of fear of gunshots.
The quotes and summarization from the press conference work well to explain the events that occurred at the scene of the crime and are well-balanced by the personal reports at the end of the story. However, the article may have been stronger if the conference facts had been synthesized a little more seamlessly throughout the piece, instead of all piled in one section together.
I selected an article from Vice.com intentionally because it is a magazine that seems to be directed at a very particular crowd: young, white and hip individuals. Vice is sold at the chain clothing store American Apparel and blends a combination of arts news, satire and politics that in my experience reading it can be at times highly offensive and at others considerate and boundary pushing compared to more mainstream and network-type news outlets.
In this piece, the writer seeks to bring a local angle from New York City to the currently escalating situation in Gaza. She does on the street interviews with protesters in New York.
The attempt to reach out and hear voices from average individuals on the street seems heartfelt, but is quashed by the actual makeup of the protest crowd. The article functions as a sort of photo poll, showing images of each interviewed individual prior to their statement or response to a question about the West Bank conflict.
There is some diversity in ages and levels of experience and knowledge of the conflict (for example, one of the interviewees is a founder of One Heart, an organization that provides aid to victims of terrorism). Still, the interviewees are overwhelmingly white and male and this poses a problem to gaining a more complex view of the whole story. There is a reasonable amount of consideration to be placed on the fact that this could also be the specific crowd's make-up and that perhaps a more diverse story could only have been sourced from a different crowd.
This article from The Economist uses a variety of numbers and figures to illustrate the current state of welfare distribution in India. The numbers serve to explain the story rather than complicate it.
For example, the story begins with an anecdote taken from real life in Delhi, India. The numbers are two and 70: a delivery man brings two medium-sized aluminum pots to feed 70 children in the area. That image is poignant and the numbers make it so.
Numbers are used later in the story in a more straightforward and news-valuable manner. The numbers involve people, specifically those eligible for welfare aid of different types in India, such as the 300 million people who signed up for aid through the country's biometric database "unique identity" (UID). Money is another type of figure used throughout this story to explain the cost of being poor in India.
The sources of these numbers are not always directly relayed, though some like the anecdote at the beginning seem to be gathered from the writer's own reporting and fact-gathering. Some numbers come from quotes, particularly from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Overall the numbers contribute to facts that are relatively easy to understand for the readers, but the attribution of these facts is at times questionable.
In the NYT's obituary for famed Italian architect Gae Aulenti normal conventions for obituary writing are followed. The length of the piece is notably long as Aulenti is remembered for making headway for female architects.
Sources include a snippet from a statement by Giorgio Napolitano, Italian president, on Aulenti's talent as an architect. Quotes are also taken from past reviews of her work re-constructing Paris' Musée d'Orsay as she converted it from train station to a museum housing impressionists among other (mainly) French artists' works. These reviews include one NYT critic as well as a less favorable review from Italian newspaper Liberation. The article also directly quotes Aulenti effectively with some profound statements such as "More than anything, we were trying to recognize our own identity." Another architect, Philip Johnson, is quoted about her work at d'Orsay.
The lead is standard as it identifies Aulenti, some brief though important characteristics about her, the circumstances of her death and her age at death. The news value is important for architects and members of arts communities. The news might be most relevant to Italian or European architects, though the article does note that Aulenti's work extended far beyond Italy and France.
The article is reflective and paints an image of Aulenti's personality and the impact of her life's work through quotes from herself and others in arts communities.
For this analysis, I considered the differences and similarities between National Public Radio and Fox News via their websites and associated multi-media used throughout them.
Both media outlets have home page designs that somewhat resemble a traditional newspaper's front page. The white background is covered by black text, columns and eye-catching images. In the case of both sites tonight, the largest and most central of images relate to Hurricane Sandy and the evacuations it has caused. Both sites also contain many links that re-direct the reader to articles, photo slideshows and videos.
Fox News has an array of video links, and those videos tend to be unaccompanied by additional reporting or a transcript in plain text. NPR, on the other hand, has a lot of its radio programs linked to the site and a reader can listen to these special reports or full episodes of radio shows through a pop-up window. NPR has a section of their site devoted to music, and also seems to make use of more photo slide shows where Fox News opts for video reports.
Overall the reporting styles are varied. Many of the news topics are shared, though even Fox's regular print news stories seem to be written for a television audience's eyes. NPR has more focus on arts and entertainment.
This story's lead begins with a broad statement that editorializes the consequences of what the story's title already tells its reader: that the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has locked out its musicians in the midst of a labor dispute. The 2nd paragraph introduces what the news is: two orchestras in the Twin Cities were locked out of their practices Sunday night in connection with contract negotiation disputes.
Following these introductory paragraphs, the article explains the recent history of lockouts for both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra. After that explanation there comes a quote from SPCO President Dobson West that demonstrates how far management and musicians are from acquiring an agreement and beginning performances again. Next, an explanation of a few other major cities' recent lockouts during union negotiations are recapped. Last in this segment of the story a musician and representative from the SPCO union is quoted on her opinion of the lock out.
Next, a subsection titled "Back and forth last week" recaps in detail the expiration dates and negotiation efforts made most recently. This section uses quotes and paraphrasing of interviewees to explain that this week is a "black-out week" where most musicians knew they would be locked out, so they found work in other concerts around the country and world.
The final paragraphs first capture musicians' critiques of the contract negotiations, stating musicians can not afford to take pay cuts, and that funding could instead come from higher ticket prices. Next comes a comment from the SPCO President that low ticket prices are essential to keep donors supporting the accessible orchestra. Last is broad, general information including what will happen to individuals who hold tickets for cancelled concert dates and info about future negotiation dates that may occur between the union and SPCO management.
The story is organized in a way that makes readers question how the orchestras' absences might affect their communities or the world's perception of the Twin Cities. It progresses from those sort of generalizations and somewhat broad comments to the specifics of negotiations, contract points of contention and what is yet to come. The entire article is organized logically, but I can see how reordering it to focus earlier in the piece on the two main critiques the union and its management have of one anothers' stakes in bargaining could lend itself better to capturing the audience's attention earlier in the article.
The Guardian article, "What is killing sugar-cane workers across Central America?" makes use of a variety and decent number of sources. Most seem to be either credible or relevant to the topic at hand and for the most part either lend scientific perspective or a human angle to the piece.
Reporter Will Storr spoke with seven sugar cane plantation workers or their family members. Their quotes are sprinkled throughout the story which makes for a cohesive piece that reads with a smooth flow. Storr also quotes three researchers from separate universities with varying levels of knowledge on kidney health and disease. Storr's interview with an El Salvadorian doctor whose focus is studying the disease the article centers on is another relevant interview.
He also pulls in some facts about the global economic standing of the El Salvadorian sugar cane industry without direct attribution which could be problematic if reports vary. A quote from a report by health minister María Isabel Rodríguez give some context to the article as does information accompanied by a quote from a spokesman for Nicaragua Sugar Estates.
The writer used an unconventional approach to include interviewee's quotes by directly including his own voice within the exchange of an interview. This style of writing could be seen as lazy on Storr's part, but also does personalize the story by painting a more human and transparent image of the newsgathering process. Overall, the quantity and quality of sources in this piece is solid, though at times informal.