Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Computer Assisted Research

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I chose to examine this article about a misinformation campaign that used the names of a USA Today reporter and editor. The story discusses the activity of these fake accounts, used to convey false information at the expense of the reporter and the editor.

The reporter had to be relatively knowledgeable about the Internet, as he apparently looked up some Internet domain registries. In the article it says, "For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 -- just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company." The reporter had to know where to look to find this information. I'm not sure how I would classify the "skills" he needed to complete this story, but he somehow was able to view information in Internet domain registries. Knowing how to look up Internet domain registries is not something I would classify as common knowledge. He used the information available in the Internet domain registries to make connections with other events, adding depth to the story.

Analysis: Diversity

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I chose to analyze this article which discusses changing the trends of Mexican migrants. The U.S. is no longer "the magnet it once was" to Mexican citizens aspiring to advance their socioeconomic status. Migrants are now "casting themselves across a wider range of cities and countries in the region (Mexico/Latin America), pitting old residents against new, increasing pressure to create jobs and prompting nations to rewrite their immigration laws, sometimes to encourage the trend." The story says that Mexicans are increasingly avoiding the U.S. and the border region in favor of safer cities like Mérida, Oaxaca City and Querétaro. The appeal of Chile, Argentina and Brazil is also strengthening.

I talked about this article with Juan, a university student who is of Mexican descent. He said that this article reflects what he observed when he was last in Mexico. Juan explained that the next generation of would-be immigrants does not view the U.S. "as a haven" like before. Juan thinks that the change in attitude in young Mexican citizens comes from a new source of wealth that their parents did not have access to. Reflecting on the new Nissan factory mentioned in this article, he said a new plant will create more jobs and more incentive to stay in Mexico. He views staying in Mexico as a more logical option for his younger cousins, as opportunities within the country continue to appear.

The report moves beyond stereotype into something substantive by using quotes from experts who have insight on the subject as well as personal accounts from citizens who have relocated within Mexico. The author also included statistics and thorough information which strengthened the article. It is very informative and fact-based, and does not come of as a story that relies on stereotype to convey a message.

Analysis: Numbers

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This CNN article on the American prison system relies on numbers and statistics to prove a point: No other country comes close to America's rate of incarceration.

This article does a good job summarizing the statistics it uses to convey a clear message to the reader. The numbers they use are not confusing and are rather straightforward. For example, the article says "(Americans) make up 5 percent of the world's population, but (American prisoners) make up 25 percent of jailed prisoners (in the world)." Furthermore, it says "No other country comes even close to our rates of incarceration. We have 760 prisoners per 100,000 people."

It also includes this piece of information: "In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it's built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year."

The information is clearly presented (though it is not clearly cited) so that a person as young as 11 or 12 could understand the basic concept the article is about.

The article is well written, as it is not extremely long yet expresses a clear message. Including the data that they did is crucial for the success of the article; without these stats and facts to back it up, the article is useless as it would provide the reader with no scope on the issue.

To me, it seems that the reporter did not do all the math himself. It looks as if he obtained this information from some sort of public record database or from what other people said. The author of the article cited an article in the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik and quoted Pat Robertson multiple times. I feel that more direct citations would have strengthened his argument.

Analysis: Obituaries

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For this blog post, I am analyzing this obituary from the Star Tribune's website: http://www.startribune.com/local/143424596.html

This obituary focuses on the life of Wayne Raske, an accomplished musician who was a native of Minnesota. The sources the Star Tribune used were primarily family members, including his sister, daughter, and son-in-law, who provided details on some of his accomplishments and reflected on lighthearted anecdotes.

The lead was not a standard obituary lead. The obituary starts with: "Name nearly any instrument and Wayne Raske surely played it. Fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, accordion, piano, bass, flute." This lead works because it highlights a unique aspect about Wayne that will surely catch the attention of readers who are interested in music. It also works because it serves as an introduction for the main content (Wayne's musical prowess) of the obituary.

The obituary differs from a resume because instead of highlighting only Wayne's abilities and experiences, it also includes some fond memories and stories that Wayne's family members will remember him by. It is written in a way designed to engage the reader with his unique life story, and it is not simply a summary of accomplishments like a resume.

Analysis: Speech

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This article covers Vladimir Putin's acceptance speech after winning Russia's presidential election. The reporter used vibrant words to add life to the speech summary. For example, the reporter wrote that Putin's eyes were "brimming with tears" to capture the emotion behind the event. Describing that his eyes were "brimming with tears" is more engaging for the reader than saying "he cried." The reporter also included the fact that the crowd was waving flags to convey that the atmosphere was supportive, which also adds to the liveliness of the article.

The reporter goes beyond the event by including background information about the election. The reporter helps the reader get a better understanding of Russia's political situation by including statements like: "Mr Putin's win was never in doubt..." and "The West can expect Mr Putin to continue the tough policies he has pursued even as prime minister..." The reporter also included the election results, revealing that Putin won in a landslide. Although these snippets of information are not extremely in-depth, they help readers who are not familiar with the Russian political circuit understand the significance of Putin's victory.

Analysis: Multimedia

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A popular multimedia feature that is used on the websites of CNN and FOX NEWS is the slideshow. These websites maximize this feature by embedding a slideshow of pictures to accompany a story with compelling images. Slideshows enhance the reader's experience by allowing them to see AND read about major events in the news. The writing in the captions is concise, normally containing a summary of the given picture along with a piece of important information that ties to the story,.

Both CNN and FOX NEWS have an entire page on their site dedicated to presenting news stories in video form. On both websites, the button to access the "Video" page is right next to the "Home" button on the site-navigation bar. This could be an indicator that consuming news via video clips is becoming the most popular way for news to be obtained by site visitors. There is hardly any writing that accompanies the videos, other than a seven or eight word sentence that briefly explains the content of the video. In some cases, a video will be at the top of the page above the actual news article. This is a well-designed feature to appeal to site visitors because they can choose between learning about the news story by watching and/or reading.

Spot and Follows Analysis

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The initial article that the Star Tribune posted about the train-hopping tragedy is significantly different from the follow-up story they posted the following day.

The first story is short and contains only five paragraphs. The story includes the surface level details of the story; what happened (a 15-year-old boy was found dead near railroad tracks), where it happened (northeast Minneapolis), the time the police was called, the cause of death, and a statement from a representative of the railroad company. The lead

The follow-up story was posted the next day. It contains details regarding the victim's family, details about the victim himself, and details about what happened the night of the accident from the point of view of the boy's mother. The majority of this article revolved around what the mother had to say regarding the incident and her son in general.

The leads were different in the sense that the first one was more formal, stating the who, what, when, and where of the story. The lead of the second story was not a normal lead. It was more of an attention grabber for a profile story about the victim and his mother.

The second story advances the news by adding depth to the story by including details about the boy's family and the specifics of what happened leading up to the boy's death. More statements are included which give insight on the situation and allow the readers to understand what happened in greater detail.

The follow contains more emotion than the initial article, as the boy's mother expresses her grief about her son's death. The first article has no testimonies and is straight forward in conveying the details.

Analysis: Structure

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I chose this article as the focus of my analysis on the structure of a news article.

The reporter presents the information in a format which delivers the most recent updates at the beginning, followed by an overview of the main incident, and then proceeds to include information that is indirectly related to the underlying theme of the article (in this instance, information or news relating to hate crimes).

The main piece of news that the reporter is trying to initially convey to the reader is that one of the three suspects in the beating of a gay man has been arrested. After providing details about the suspect, the reporter jumps into a recap of the story. During this recap, the reporter includes the details of the attack (when, where, who was attacked). The facts are not presented in a chronological order, and they tend to skip around between details of the evidence the video provides and quotes from the victim as well as government officials. The article ends with a reference to a study on hate crimes, and a statistic about an increase in hate crimes from 2009 to 2010 is mentioned.

I think that the information in this article is presented in an effective manner. The most recent news (the arrest of the suspect) is at the beginning, which is what a reader who has been following this issue would want to know first. The reporter's decision to include the details of the initial incident that occurred about a week ago provides the readers who have not heard anything about the story with the background information that is crucial for the news of the suspect's arrest to have any meaning. The facts about hate crime studies toward the end of the article conveys the idea that even though this story focuses on the attack of one man, hate crimes are still an issue that need to be addressed.

I cannot envision an alternate way to structure this story. It delivers the information that is the most timely at the beginning, and from there the reporter traces information back in time to provide the reader with a broader scope of the main issue at hand. The article was clear and concise, allowing for a smooth reading experience. There is little to no confusion regarding the details of the story. I think that the structure of this article is sufficient, as it presents the information and message of the story in an efficient manner.

Analysis: Attribution

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In this article, the writer gets the information primarily from a statement released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as well as a press briefing involving Markus Ederer, the ambassador to China for the European Union. There is one direct quote included from the company's vice president, Chai Haibo.

The information is formatted clearly, and the statements from both companies are presented in a concise manner. The article is not confusing, as it is short yet summarizes the information in an effective manner. The writer arranges the article so that information between sources overlaps, allowing the story to flow easier. The reporter set up the attribution in the story so that the readers can trust the source of the information. It is clear where the information is coming from.

Analysis: Leads

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For this blog post, I am analyzing how the lead in this CNN report serves as an efficient beginning for the article.

The lead contains information in regards to "the who" (President Obama), "the when" (Friday), "the what" (a new college affordability plan), and it also briefly touches on how they intend to enforce the new plan. Information that was not included in the lead was where this was announced as well as why Obama is trying to put this plan into action. Though "the where" and "the why" were not included in the lead, these details were included within the first few paragraphs of the article.

I think this is an effective lead because it contains enough information to stand on its own and immediately engages the target audience (high school and college students). Although there is nothing about "the when" or "the why" in the lead itself, it is not crucial for the audience to know that information to comprehend the overall message of the article. If they did include "the when" and "the why" for this particular scenario, the lead would no longer be concise. It would be too wordy and choppy to lure the reader in,

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