Analysis: Obituary

Analysis; Obituary
by Dallas Johnson

The obituary of anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss from CNN can show us the differences between a news obituary and a news story.

Most of the sources in this obituary are from colleagues or associates.  It seems as though Levi-Strauss may not have had any family, based off the way the obituary was written.  If the obituary were written about someone with living relatives, we would probably see some quotes from them as well.

The lead to the obituary is different than that of a standard news lead.  It starts in a kind of storytelling way.  It appeals to the general public, referencing anyone who has ever taken an anthropology class.

This type of lead works because the reporter is not trying to provide the public with what happened exactly.  They are simply trying to let the public know that Levi-Strauss died and what he was known for.  The reporter backs this information up with less formal sources than would be required and/or desired for a normal news piece.

The obituary differs from a resume because it does not simply relay all of Levi-Strauss' strengths and weaknesses or his jobs.  It talks about his accomplishments, and gives some background information on his life. 

More importantly, the obituary talks about how his work inspired others in field.  We see this in some of the quotes from his colleagues.  So, in other words, a resume is trying to focus a person's strengths in trying obtain a job.  The obituary is focusing on a person's accomplishments and their impact on the world.


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This page contains a single entry by Dallas Johnson published on November 7, 2009 9:32 PM.

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