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Skin Virus Pins Wrestlers

An outbreak of skin herpes forced the Minnesota State High School League suspended all wrestling programs in the state on Tuesday.

This story presents an interesting conundrum. The story as printed in The Pioneer Press, by Tim Leighton, brings to the forefront the issue of telling a story without causing mass panic. For the most part this required Leighton to make extensive efforts to interview and quote coaches and players that had different viewpoints. By doing so Leighton would be able to report the story with enough credible information from coaches and players that wouldn’t stir the readership in to a mass panic.

"With so many people not knowing, it's important to let the shutdown period take its course," Anderson said. "Provided everybody does what's required with the treatment and medication, there should be no further problems."

Leighton makes sure to quote Dr. B.J. Anderson (above), a national skin condition expert, as early in the story as possible to make sure that the readership knows that the reason for the shutdown is valid and that the best interest of the people involved was addressed.

An article in The Star Tribune, by John Millea, took a different approach to the wrestling ban story. Millea elected to begin his story with a preface of how the skin virus is transmitted, how it can be treated, and where it is most likely to occur. After this section Millea proceeds to talk about how the MSHSL wants to stop any outbreaks before the state competition in February. Finally in the third section, Millea addresses the coach and player reactions to the measure. Millea elects to delay the relief part of the story until the very end. Without knowing about the virus the reader would gauge that this is a very serious event that should shutdown the sport for an indefinite period. It’s the coaches’ and players’ assurances that make the reader feel that this measure will be appropriate.

There are very different styles between the two stories; however, the Leighton story did the best job of gaining insightful and meaningful quotes that gave the reader assurances that this shutdown would be enough to ensure the wrestlers’ safety. The Leighton story was also much easier and nicer to read because of his appropriate use of quotes.

Whenever possible both writers used quotes to begin a paragraph. There were very rarely any quotes that were prefaced with a description of the person giving the quote. Both writers also made use of paraphrasing to make longer quotes more digestible. In the Millea story there is one very lengthy quote from a representative of the MSHSL that is a little difficult to dissect so some paraphrasing could have been useful to the reader. Overall, quote usage made these stories easy and interesting to read.