The choice of using a Chinese sculptor to create a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., is starting to cause an increasingly loud uproar among American critics, the Star Tribune reported Sunday. The Chinese national, Lei Yixin, was chosen over an African-American man, Ed Dwight. Dwight said he was told by the committee in charge of the sculpture that they were going to choose Lei in hopes that China would then contribute millions of dollars to the committee's fundraising efftorts. The statue will stand along Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin.
I chose to do this story because it is a good example of the local paper striving to diversify its content. Instead of just leaving diversity for pieces on festivals and ethnic holidays, or (worse) crime reports and immigration laws, the Star Tribune picked up this story from the LA Times that went beyond the news. This story could have stopped after the first section, which explains the current controversy and a little bit about the statue. However, this piece goes further in the next section by focusing in on the sculptor himself. The author tells about Lei's hometown, his upbringing in the communist country and his rebellion against it. The author also chooses to reflect who Lei is today (confident, serene, slightly cocky but understanding, humorous) and his current lifestyle as a "master" artist in China. The third section does a great job of connecting the first two sections in more detail. It is kind of like, this is the news, this is the background, this is how the two fit together. The author does a great job of showing Lei as a human being, with likes and dislikes, fear and confidence, weaknesses and strengths. I think the article goes so far beyond the news and into the person behind it for two reasons. One, the LA Times is in California, one of the most densely Asian-American populated states. They needed to go beyond the news because their audience insists upon it. Closely related is the second reason the author pushed beyond the headline. If the article would have cut off after the first section, it would have seemed anti-Chinese and therefore, not fair. The first section doesn't let Lei speak or the committee who chose him explain their choice, so the first part is slanted towards the critics. By letting Lei show his world and why he thinks he was the right choice, the author achieves diversity, fairness and balance in this piece.