Americans Executed in Iraq
Four Americans were shot in the back of the head, execution style, in Iraq on Tuesday following a helicopter crash that claimed the life of one more American, officials said Wednesday.
The biggest challenge of this story written for the Associated Press and posted by the Star Tribune, written by Steven R. Hurst, Barry Schweid, and Pauline Jelinek, was getting sources to divulge enough information that would make a story worthwhile. In this case, some of the facts have not been released to the public as yet and many of the potential sources were unable to fully elaborate because of that fact. This event was obviously handled with the utmost concern by the U.S. government to be positively sure before they say the Americans were killed by execution. In this case, many of the sources had to be quoted with out any attribution because of the volatile nature of this type of story.
The New York Times ran the exact same version of the story as the Star Tribune. However, The New York Times also elected to print a different version that was less forthcoming with accusations of execution in an article by Marc Santora and James Glanz. This article was more easily found than the article by Hurst, Schweid, and Jelinek. The Hurst, Schweid, and Jelinek article had a much more controversial edge to it. This story made a much better effort to gain information regarding the circumstances of the deaths and was not afraid to publish facts that may not have been as verifiable as a journalist might want.
The San Jose Mercury News had a much different type of story regarding the same incident. The Mercury News story, by Don Thompson of the Associated Press, buried the information regarding how the four Americans were killed and instead elected to focus on the fact that one of the Americans, Art Laguna, was a reserve Placer County sheriff’s deputy, from the suburbs of Sacramento. The lead of this story was much more related to who than it was to how as in the previous articles. In the previous articles the information of how the Americans were killed was placed in the lead; here it was delayed to the eighth paragraph.
Personally, I found two of the stories very effective. I really liked the tribute story that was made in the Mercury News commemorating the life of Laguna. However, I also liked the story as run by the Star Tribune because I felt that the main news worthy portion of the story was that four Americans were likely executed. I didn’t like the idea of neglecting the issue of how the Americans died as reported in the story by Santora and Glanz. The lead of the story from the Star Tribune, I felt, was the most helpful and informative. This lead told the reader who was involved, where the event happened, what happened, and when the event happened while also informing the reader as to how the people involved in the story were likely killed. I felt like this lead did a very good job at incorporating the most amount of information into the lead.