March 25, 2007

Iran Nuclear Situation

Summary: While the UN voted to restrict nuclear weapons, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Iran would not stop their nuclear program. Mottaki called the UN's actions a violation of the UN charter.

In the article by BBC World, the writer split the article into four sections. The first section told what sparked the problem. The second section wrote about The minister's reaction. The third section was where the the author reported the minister's reasons for being defiant. And the fourth section wrote about how the Iran president was not at the UN Security council meeting where he was supposed to speak to the board about why the restrictions were wrong.
This format made the article a very quick read as every section was short and included the basic information right away. The author also did a good job of not editorializing or taking sides. He presented the problem and stated why Iran was upset.
This article is not only timely but also important for US readers a country that could be seriously impacted by Iran's development of nuclear weapons.,1,6061803.story?coll=la-news-a_section

In the article by Los Angeles Times writer Maggie Farley, did one thing great right away. While the BBC World writer used the words "nuclear program" Farley stated that what Iran is actually doing is developing nuclear energy. This changes the tone of the story right away. She stated that many are worried that Iran will develop weapons since they are using Uranium, which is a main component of atomic weapons.
This fact that they are developing energy is very important to state especially for you less worldly or knowledgeable readers.
For this fact and the fact that Farley covered the rest of the story as well as the BBC did, I feel Farley's was the better article.

March 2, 2007



Summary: Organized labor, or the right for workers to form unions, is being addressed by the government. A subjet that had been pushed out under Republican rule is now back in question, with Bush promising a veto if it comes to his desk.

The San Francisco Chronicle offers a two-sided look at how the bill has gotten this far (ie.- the Democratic view on why the bill is necessary) and then explaining why the President is against it (ie.- the Republican view on why the bill is wrong.)
A good aspect of the article is its structure. It has a logical progression from Democrat to Republican to a conclusion. The lead is very pessimistic, focusing on the fact that the bills success is only a temporary victory. The conclusion isn't totally well written because it has figures on union involvment that seem that they are beter suited for somewhere higher up in the article, but the author didn't have a place.

The article by Market Watch focuses mainly on the Democratic aspect of the bills journey. It does a much better job of incorporating facts into the article instead of as an endnote. It also has a link to look at how the house voted which was a nice touch. The lead comments on how the victoy was rare, mentioning Bush's veto once before proceeding to focus on why the bill was concieved. The article flowd nicely, but felt one sided due to the lack of Republican viewpoints.

Overall the San Francisco Chronicle article was better due to it two-sided presnetation of the facts. If the author could've only incorporated statistics like the Market Watch writer did, it would've been a stronger article.

All Thanks to Al Gore

Summary: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressed the UN about the growing problem of global warming. Moon stated that global warming is as big of a problem as war. Moon also called for Bush and other leaders to curb emissions of greenhouse gasss. Moon stressed how important it is for nations to start making changes to help stop this problem.

The article by Washington Post writer Colum Lynch took an interesting approach to the subject, using the angle that Moon considers global warming as big of a concer and threat as war. This is especially hard hitting for us in the U.S. due to how that comment could easily have been aimed at just us. His lead did a good job at setting the tone he wanted for the story:

"U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon argued Thursday that global warming poses as great a threat to the world as modern warfare, and he vowed to make reduction of greenhouse gases one of his tenure's top priorities."

You get all the important information that it's dangerous and that Moon is making it a top priority. The article is very straightforward describing the countries Moon talked to and how he wants to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The author does a good job of writing the fact without editorializing.

This article by the BBC, In this article the author focuses on how Moon is calling for the U.S. to be a leader in the changes that need to be made to stop global warming. It states facts about how the reason is that the U.S. is the leader in greenhouse gas emissions. The article almost makes it sound as though Moon's speech was aimed just at the U.S.

Due to the unbiased feel of the Washingotn Post's article, I felt it was more effective story.

February 19, 2007

Afghanistan Helicoptor Crash

Summary: 8 U.S. soldiers were killed and 14 more were injured in a helicoptor crash. The Taliban are suspected in the attack as Taliban activity is known in the area where the helicoptor was shot down.

In the International Herald article, written by Abdul Waheed Wafa and Carlotta Gall. It's lead:

"An American twin-rotor Chinook helicopter suffered engine failure and crashed Sunday morning in southeastern Afghanistan, killing 8 soldiers and wounding 14, said a spokesman at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul."

Does an effective job of telling its audeince who, what, when and where in one sentence. The article does a weird thing in that it goes from talking about the incident to talking about other recent helicoptor crahses sxome by terrorist groups and some due to other factors. The authors hide the fact that U.S. and NATO groups raided three Taliban complexes. It seems odd that raids on Taliban complexes should be put after a statement that helicoptors have crashed due to bad weather and techinal problems, a fact that doesn't seem as important.

Since this event happened to U.S. troups, I decided to look at a foreign media outlet to see how they reported the event. In the article released by the BBC, the event is reported completely differently. They wrote that the crash was accidental, even including the fact that the pilot radioed in to say that they were having troubles. They even state that a NATO official stated that the attack had nothing to do with Taliban. While the author includes a fact that the International Herald writer also did, the fact that a Taliban official took credit for the crash, the BBC writes that this is not true and that other such claims have been declared unfounded.

The subtle facts that the BBC included really made it interesting to see the differences between the two stories. As reporting the facts is important in journalism, this discrepency is odd. It really brings up the idea of which story is telling the whole story and which one isn't. In this case, I think it's the BBC.

February 12, 2007

Legalizing Abortion in Portugal

Summary: Portuguese leaders have decided to legalize abortions. Jose Socrates, the Prime Minister, calls all those who oppose the act "bad losers." The decision required a fifty percent turnout in voting. There was only 44 percent turnout, but Socrates decided to go forth with the legalization anyway.

The author of this story made an interesting choice in making the story not only about the legalization, but also a personal story of Socrates. This idea is set up right in the lead:

"Prime Minister José Sócrates of Portugal said Monday that it was his duty to promote legislation liberalizing the country's restrictive abortion law, calling those who challenge his decision 'bad losers.'"

The author, International Herald's Elaine Sciolino, went in to Socrates background, discussing the fact that he is Christian, a group that is protesting the legalization. The author does a good job of using Socrates background and personal views in helping to show his side for why legalizing abortion is so important. Instead of being editorialized, the details helped with the strength of the story.

In this article for the New York Times, a weird thing occurs. This article, like the International Herald's article, is written by Elaine Sciolino, only this article doesn't talk about Socrates background, this article focuses on the fact that even though there was such a lower voter turnout, causing the vote to be declared void, Socrates still legalized abortion. In this article Sciolino writes a much different article dealing with past attempts to legalize abortion in Portugal. This article also include quotes saying how Socrates decision will now be a sad period for Portugal.

The differences in stories is really stunning to me. Both articles are supposedly written by the same author, but both articles have a different slant. It is hard to say which article shows the author's true intent and which one misconstrues her words. The differences could be attributed to the different publications, New York Times and the International Herald. Both media outlets have their own position, which is reflected in their version of the article.

February 4, 2007

After the Bomb,1,4285454.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true

Summary: A dump truck pulled into Baghdad carrying a ton of explosives. The blast generated by the explosives killed 130 and injured more than 300. Other small explosions were also reported outside the city. The explosion came just hours after Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a revered Shiite cleric, had made a plea for peace in the country.

The article, though written by a U.S. paper, the L.A. TImes, evoked a very negative American image in its lead.

" A dump truck hauling a ton of explosives hidden beneath boxes of food exploded in the center of a crowded Baghdad market Saturday, killing at least 130 people and injuring more than 300 in one of the deadliest blasts since the U.S. invasion of Iraq."

This comparison of such a horrible act to an act committed by the U.S. creates almost a disgust in ourselves as Americans and a feeling remorse in knowing that without that last part of the lead we would have went on with our day happily condmening whoever bombed Baghdad.
Whether this anti-American sentiment was intentional or not, it makes it all the more easy laugh at the idea of President Bush stepping into to denounce the attack when we have done the same thing.
Tina Susman, the author of the piece, goes on to write about other recent attacks giving an idea of how even though this explosion was bad, it isn't a secluded event.

In comparison, the article "Deadliest Blast Kills 135 in Iraq" by Ros Colvin from the Washington Times, uses a similar reference to the Iraq war, but with a more neautral tone in regards to America:

" A suicide bomber killed 135 persons yesterday in the deadliest single explosion in Iraq since the 2003 war began, driving a truck laden with a ton of explosives into a market in a mainly Shi'ite area of Baghdad."

In contrast to the L.A. Times article, the Washington Times article focuses only on this particular event. It makes some references as to what's being done to prevent more attacks, such a Bush stating that we, the U.S., are going to deploy 21,500 reinforcements to help on the opffense in Baghdad. This addition of information into the story creates a feeling of American heroism.

This contrast between an anti-American article and a more patriotic one, is an interest comparison to see. Especially when both papers are within U.S. borders, just opposite coasts. Personally, I like the L.A. Times article more, not because of the Anti-American sentiment, but because I enjoyed the author putting this incident in context with other attacks. I also like to see reporters taking a stand and being allowed to report articles that many people, particularly the government, don't agree with. No matter what side I side with.

January 26, 2007

Pakistan Bombing

Summary: On the eve of a Shiite religious holiday, Pakistan experienced its first terrorist attack in almost two years; its last being May 2005. A man set off a bomb in the lobby of a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, severely damaging the hospital, wounding seven people and killing himself and a guard. The man had been trying to run inside the hotel when he had been stopped by the guard resulting in the detonation of the bomb. By the guard stopping the suicide bomber, the guard prevented a more serious attack.

While being timely as it just happened, this article was more informative. Its purpose was more to inform on an event than to report a new international problem. The Star Tribune’s reporting was very brief, yet it covered the event fully. The article seemed to have been written to report the bombing as soon as it happened instead of investigating for further developments such as motive or what religious group the bomber identified with. The article tried to use quotes, but it seemed that they really didn’t add or advance the story’s reporting.

In the New York Times article, the reporter seemed to have taken more time in writing the story. He did a better job of adding facts such as the time of the bombing and the fact that the hotel was often used by government officials and dignitaries. The story was also more graphic than the Star Tribune article stating that the bomber’s:

“[H]ead and upper body were obliterated in the explosion, leaving little intact for forensic scientists to examine other than parts of lower limbs.?

The New York Times article also spent more time on getting the reactions of the country leaders instead of quotes from police on the scene. All in all, I felt that the New York Times article was of much higher quality. The author obviously took more time in reporting the story and even tying to American’s by getting a quote from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan saying that American’s are warned to avoid Islamabad at this time.