Recently in Analysis Category

The story about rising poverty in Florida's student population reported by the Florida Center for Investigate Reporting demonstrated computer-assisted reporting. The story analyzed research done by the American Psychological Association "relating to poverty rates, homeless students and subsidized meals for all school districts," and interviewed different youth advocacy groups, homeless liaison, families and school officials based on the observations from the report. Mathematical charts are used in this reporting. To help readers to visualize the situation in Florida, the story included various mathematical graphs summarizing poverty rates in school-aged children, growing number of homeless children in Florida and increasing percent of students eligible for free/reduced lunches.

Analysis: Numbers in reporting rise in company's revenue

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Reuters' story about China Southern Airlines uses numbers to report on the airline's expected rise in operating revenue. To tell the airline's plan in 2012, the reporter incorporated the percent increase expected in the company's spending and income. To make the rise easy to understand, the reporter includes the percent change along with the actual money - "capital spending will rise by nearly half to 19 billion yuan ($3 billion) from about 13 billion yuan last year" - which is more effective than merely stating the operating income is forecast to "rise to about 100 billion yuan this year from 92.7 billion yuan in 2011." However, this is the only rise reported in the story without including the percent increase. Besides the rise in operating revenue, numbers are also used to tell the airline's new plan to purchase more airplanes. In one of the paragraph, 4 numbers are used side-to-side. They are effective in telling the plan but I also found it overwhelming to read all these figures in the same, lengthy sentence. All the sources are attributed next to the numbers but a results statement is also included in the article for reference.

Reporter of the Associated Press used a standard lead in the obituary about Freddie Solomon, "the former Miami Dolphins and 49ers wide receiver who became known as 'Fabulous Freddie.'" The story begins with the name of the subject, followed by an identifier of his most distinct achievement and his age. This lead is strong enough to summarize Solomon's achievements - a famous football player. Comments from the 49ers and Hall of Fame are weaved into the obit to create a profile of Solomon, highlighting his football career. Not only does this story recall Solomon's football career, it also brings alive his sportsmanship and contributions outside the football field. With quotes from his former coaches and friends, the obit is turned away from being a translation of Solomon's resume.

Using a lead that summarizes the when, who, where and what while highlighting one key point in British Prime Minister David Cameron said in his speech ties creates a coherent news story in the New York Times published February 16, 2012. Most of the story is structured in the point-form format, in which the reporter extracts one important point and supports with quotes from Cameron. This structure can be seen in the beginning of the story when the reporter wrote about Mr. Cameron's attempt to reach out directly to the Scottish people. The reporter backed this point with a quote from Mr. Cameron - "I am one hundred percent clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together." The story expanded from the speech by reporting on the Scottish National Party's triumph in elections last year and the purpose of the meeting between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Salmond.

Analysis: Newsroom multimedia summarize and enhance news

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Both the Star Tribune and USA Today feature videos and photos in their newspapers' websites. Both organizations report a news brief using a photo slideshow. The Star Tribune updates its slideshow - "Photos of the week" - once a week while USA Today creates a new slide every day, titled "The day in pictures." These photos use the two-sentence format, which summarizes the essence of the photo in the first and advance the story in a broader view in the second sentence. For the videos, both the Star Tribune and USA Today create videos to give an in-depth complement of the news stories. Many of them are feature stories, which appeal to readers emotionally by the visuals in the stories. The two organizations rely mostly on visuals when creating video news stories such that not much writing is used.

Writing a profile on impacted representatives was the way the Star Tribune responded to its news story on the new Minnesota House bill allows schools to cut teachers based on performance instead of seniority.

On Thursday, the Star Tribune reported the House's 68-61 decision on the legislation which requires schools to evaluate teachers' performance when deciding layoffs. The Star Tribune published Friday interviews with teachers in Minnesota, focusing on the threat and changes they felt after the new plan was approved.

Because of the different story types, the second-day story uses a lead that aroused readers' interest instead of the typical breaking news lead in the first-day story.

The main news is summarized in the follow story in connection to the interview with the teachers. The reporter included the details of the new legislation after reporting the teachers' opposition to the bill. The main news appears in the upper part of the story to give readers a summary of the issue discussed by the interviewees.

The second-day story gives a personal account to someone affected directly by the bill. It advances the story from a prominent piece to an emotional story.

The typical inverted pyramid structure is used by the Star Tribune in reporting the shot of a Minneapolis man in a downtown Minneapolis hotel.

The news story starts with a lead that summarizes the essence of the killing, including who, what, when and where. The remaining information is ordered in descending order of importance. The victim is identified immediately after the lead. The story then goes on to include more details of the case, including the actual time and room which the shot took place, and information about the suspect.

Arranging the information in descending order of importance is effective in writing this kind of breaking news because we can know the basics of the crime right in the beginning. Because of the rarity of this crime, details of the killing are presented earlier while the identity of the suspect is presented in a later part. Rearranging the order would not be effective enough in communicating the homicide.

Reporters from the Los Angeles Times based their story on elementary school teacher's abusing students upon three named sources.

The writers made effective attribution by identifying the source when it was first mentioned, and organized all the information provided from one source together. A detective on the case was attributed in the first beginning. He was identified to be Sgt. Dan Scott in the second paragraph. The Los Angeles Times obtained details on the teacher's charges and abuse, and evidence collected from the investigators from Scott.

After presenting all information provided by the police officer, the reporter stated the condemnation made by Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy, who said the department was aware of the situation immediately after the teacher was brought to the police station. By attributing this source, the reporters tell readers how educators responded to the case.

The school principal whom the teacher worked with was attributed in the end of the report. A direct quote was used to report his response to the incident.

Star Tribune reporter approached his news lead with 3 Ws - who, when and what - in the story on stadium at Metrodome site.

The reporter succeeded in highlighting the essence of the story with one sentence in the news lead, providing readers with the outcome of the negotiation on the new stadium site while withholding the content of the discussion. Readers, on first glance, knew that Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expressed optimism in agreeing on a new stadium at the Metrodome site. They also knew, from the news lead, the Vikings were still fighting for the stadium to be built in Ramsey Country.

Details of the negotiation - the participating parties, the budget plan the Legislature planned to implant on the project, why the Arden Hills plan was still on hold - were not revealed until subsequent paragraphs. The news lead aroused readers with interest in the Vikings to read the entire report, which reported a more detailed outcome of the negotiation.

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