Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Number Use

A report by CBS MoneyWatch about why North Dakota is considered the best state to live in uses numbers in percentages, fractions and totals.

The entire article is essentially about statistics that highlight North Dakota's benefits compared to others, especially in regards to its "economics and fiscal policy." The numbers are necessary to prove the reporter's point, otherwise it would just be an empty opinion without any facts to back it up. With that said, the numbers are not too overwhelming because the reader recognizes their necessity.

With so many different numbers and figures, the reporter does a good job of realizing when to use percentages and when to use fractions so that it is easier for the reader to grasp the information. Also, by comparing North Dakota to other states, the math is contrasting the two figures helps illustrate the reporter's argument.

Since the article appears to have been exclusively for online purposes, the sources to these figures are not directly listed but links in the article. These sources range from Gallup surveys, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Overall, I would say the reporter uses numbers effectively in the article to show how North Dakota is superior in elements that would be important to homeowners, professionals and families.

Analysis: Obituary

The obituary that I chose was from the New York Times and was about Dorothy Young, Houdini's stage assistant.

The obituary itself did not refer to that many sources, but it did have plenty of information that may have been found through research or just not directly attributed to the aforementioned sources. The sources included Young's granddaughter, a PBS documentary and the curator of the Harry Houdini Museum.

It does not follow the standard obituary lead, but an alternative. Her death is not mentioned until the fourth paragraph. Her age at death is not its own separate sentence but is included in a sentence that mentions her place of death and uses her granddaughter as a source. The first three paragraphs describe a typical routine in Houdini's acts and Young's role in them.

Most of the obituary contains anecdotes and specific moments in Young's life rather than just providing her accomplishments. While those are included in the obituary, it does not act as a list or résumé. It also has direct quotes from Young and her experiences with Houdini or her later life that make it seem less like a résumé, but more of a profile.

Speech/Meeting Analysis

The Associated Press' news report on Sen. Daniel Akaka's decision to not seek re-election had some notable differences from the press release that he sent out.

The reporter quoted the Akaka's press release twice in the report. Both quotations were along the lines of generic statements, thankful for his experiences and hopeful wishes for the future of the people of Hawaii.

While Akaka stated in the press release that he was not seeking re-election to spend time with family and "to spend time documenting my life and career", the report included "a tiny campaign war chest and indications that powerful Democrats wouldn't support a re-election bid" as motivating factors.

The report's focus on the reality of the situation had a noticeably more upfront tone than Akaka's heartfelt press release. Furthermore, the report quickly shifted to what the decision meant for both the GOP and Democrats in 2012 as both parties looked to fill his seat.

The report made choices to provide more background and a glimpse into the future in the coverage of this story, while recognizing the sentimental quality of his decision through quotations from both his press release.

Multimedia Analysis

Most of the multimedia options that were associated with the articles I reported on were videos that were related to the story.

In the case of Rep. Wu's situation, The Oregonian included a video clip of an interview that Wu had conducted with a local television station. Upon clicking on the video, a playlist of other Wu-related stories appears on the side. While most deal with the current situation, there are some that focus on other matters that Wu has been involved, including an event at a hospital where he spoke on healthcare.

What is interesting is that the writing will sometimes quote directly from the video that is already included in the article. To an extent, the video may provide validity or proof of what Wu said, making it more tangible and providing more context rather than just a mere quotation.

The CNNMoney article that focuses on the Providence teachers situation embedded a video regarding the Madison protests in it.

In a sense, it was connecting these two similar stories and leading the reader along to related news. The video did not directly address what was happening in Providence, but the connection is understood. The multimedia feature depends on the reader's awareness of what is happening to bring the two together.

On an issue such as teachers' unions, it also elevate the matter by highlighting that what is happening in either Providence or Madison is not an isolated incident.

Spot and Follows Analysis

The story about the Delano priest being charged with sexual abuse had two first day reports from the Associated Press and Star Tribune with a follow story the next day from KSTP-TV.

In both the AP and Star Tribune story, the lead is what the lead should be - outlining the important facts about what had just happened. They provide the basic information. The KSTP-TV story starts with the priest's court appearance the following day and what his lawyer said.

The KSTP-TV story focuses less on the prior day's events, but more so on what unfolded on the following day in front of the judge. It provides some background details, but it is not the main point of the article. The details are there to set the scene for the most recent news rather than fully inform the reader of what had transpired the day prior.

KSTP-TV does not seem to be responding to a competing outlet's report, but just reporting it for itself. It doesn't make reference to previous reports or other sources.

This could be attributed to the fact that it is not focusing on the day before's stories, but breaking the most recent news. It helps shape the story because it's not fully depending on past events, but the most recent one for its report.

Structure Analysis

The article from about Jon Kyl's decision to not seek reelection for his senatorial seat in 2012 had a structure that was not just informative, but insightful beyond just the initial report of his decision.

The reporter, Dana Bash, opened with the hard news of Kyl's announcement and then provided two quotations from the Arizona senator that brought life and color that further informed the reader.

Bash then went on to explain the impact this could have within the GOP Senate leadership as well as in the upcoming election. She provided names of potential replacements for Kyl's as the assistant Republican leader and to fill his seat in the next election cycle.

She emphasized elements of Kyl's character when discussing potential replacements.

All in all, the article covered all the questions that would arise were I to read the headline, or just the lede. I learned why he was stepping down, heard from the source himself, what that means for the future, and what to look for next.

Attribution Analysis

This article in the Wall Street Journal about the Youngstown State University shooting only cites two specific sources, both of whom are authority figures related to the story.

The first is Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, who seems to be the primary source in the story. The second is Youngstown State University President Cynthia Anderson who provided a statement to the victims. Hughes' comments are scattered throughout the article while Anderson only has one. The article doesn't cite any documents, studies, or reports.

The reporter does a good job of making it clear who is speaking through the article and what exactly is being said in order to avoid confusion. The quotations are appropriately used to not provide any superfluous information, but necessary to explain the course of events following the shooting and what needs and should be known by the reader.

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