Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Records

The Investigative Reporters and Editors posted a story on their blog about an article that ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The article reported that Minnesota teachers had been violating licensing rules.

The blog post said that 900 teachers in Minnesota violated the rules in the past five years.

The reporter sites information from state records, which he or she must have obtained. The reporter uses that information to back up the story, giving the amount of waivers and exceptions granted by the state Teaching Board.

To do this reporting, the reporter needed to know how to obtain the state records, which may have been available online.

Analysis: Diversity

A story about a Jewish liberal group celebrating the ending of Glenn Beck's show ran in USA Today.

Annie, a University of Minnesota student, did not think the story broke the stereotype of the Jewish people.

The article did not blatantly stereotype, but it was about a Jewish group celebrating their expanded freedom.

The article quoted a statement made by the group, Jewish Funds for Justice.

Analysis: Numbers

An article about how the unemployment rate affects the stock market in Bloomberg Businessweek Friday used a variety of different numbers.

The reporter used numbers to illustrate the percent of unemployment in the past years and to describe the number of points that the stock market fluctuated.

The numbers are a little overwhelming. In one paragraph he told the percentage, the points and the new number of the Dow Jones, S&P and Nasdaq.

He calculated the percent that the market rose and fell by taking the change of points and dividing it by the total number of points.

The sources of the numbers are not listed completely.

Analysis: Obituary

The New York Times wrote an obituary about the famous actress, Elizabeth Taylor. The lead follows the usual pattern. It states her name, an identifier, when and where she died and how old she was.

This obituary ran four (web) pages long and used various sources. A spokesperson at the hospital Taylor was at provided the cause of her death. It used a lot of quotes from people she worked with in the industry, like movie directors.

This obituary did not follow the usual obituary format. It ran four pages long and pretty thoroughly described the successful movie career of Taylor. It was split into different parts, her beginning, her love life and her battle with drugs, alcohol and food.

Analysis: Agendas

The Minneapolis Star Tribune covered the issue of the Hiawatha Line trains that was discussed in a Minneapolis City Council Meeting on Tuesday.

There were several things listed on the agenda from the meeting including: accepting funds from the Transit for Livable Communities for the Hiawatha Trail Extension Project, receiving, adjusting, and accepting the final costs of various capitol projects, increasing the appropriation and revenue for the extension project, and accepting over a $1 million for construction.

The Star Tribune focused on the closing of a gap along the Hiawatha Line trains that angered bicyclists, and briefly mentioned that the City Council approved the fix.

The article outlined the problem and the fix and briefly explained who would pay for the construction.

The Hiawatha Line issue was one of many on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting.

Analysis: Multimedia

The multimedia sections of the Star Tribune and the Washington post do not differ so much in the types of multimedia they have as they do in the quantity and quality of the multimedia.

The Washington Post multimedia site has many photo galleries, videos, documentaries, podcasts, and an interesting link called emerging voices that gives pictures, sounds, cutlines, and statistics from different countries.

The photo galleries are always accompanied with a cutline, usually one to two sentences long. The first sentence always describes the action of the picture, while the second elaborates on the story if needed. The writing is tight and precise, but gives enough information to tell the readers a story.

Picture galleries that focus on a specific topic have a link to a story about that topic which complements the pictures and basically summarizes the cutlines in the form of a story.

The Star Tribune multimedia site has more local information. This site also has videos, audio, pictures, and graphics, but they mostly cover local information. The graphics it has show maps and graphs about local information.

The videos have a related contact link that sends you to an article about the video. The article contains many quotes from the video and basically summarizes the video.

Like the Washington Post, the photo galleries in the Star Tribune multimedia site have cutlines with one or two sentences that explain the pictures and give only extra needed information.

Analysis: Follow Up

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Feb. 1 that a woman attempted to mail a living puppy to Atlanta, and was charged with animal cruelty.

The Tribune briefly summarized the details of how the postal clerks discovered the dog and what happened to the woman and the dog in three short paragraphs following the lead. The lead of this story focused on the fact that the woman was charged for what she did.

One day later, the Star Tribune wrote a follow-up story about the dog, named Guess.

This longer story contained more quotes from police and employees from the post office. It also had more chronological details about the events of finding Guess.

The story also provided more detail about the woman's charges.

The lead in the follow-up story was not a typical hard news lead, and was worded strangely. However, the second paragraph contained more information that the lead lacked.

Analysis: Structure

Using the martini glass structure, an article in The New York Times reported the capture of a New York man who had murdered several people.

The author began with a lead that summarized the capture of the fugitive. He then went on to summarize how the police caught the man and described the other murders the man committed in six different fact blocks.

After the summary, the author switched and finished the story in chronological order.

He began the chronological story on Friday morning and continued to recap the events of the next 24 hours.

The martini glass style worked well for this story, as it usually does for crime stories. It first summarizes the important facts of the event, then delves deeper into the specifics of what occurred.

Analysis: Attribution

The author of a story about Gabrielle Giffords' husband effectively used many sources.

The story, provided by the Associated Press, ran in the Boston Herald.

The first three paragraphs contained attributions to Giffords' doctor, NASA and Mark Kelly, respectively. The author did not directly quote the sources, but paraphrased the quotes of the sources, which helped portray the sources' thoughts smoothly and effectively.

While the article had a few direct quotes from Kelly, his colleagues, and his brother, it generally paraphrased ideas. This helped keep the story clear and focused, with the important facts brought to the reader in a direct manner.

Analysis: Atypical Lead in ABC News report

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Although not standard for a news story, the lead in an article from ABC News caught the reader's attention and created a more relatable feel.

The story about higher levels of stress among college freshmen began atypically. In the lead the author named a young man, which was unusual, but worked for the story. It gave a real life example to accompany the facts of the article.

The lead detailed the who, Joel Raneri, the what, stress, and the where, Syracruse University in New York. It also listed reasons of stress in his life including a campus job, 17-credit workload, and rushing fraternities.

More generally, the lead did not begin with any shocking statistic, or even clearly explain what the rest of the story would involve. The reader had to keep reading on to get the point of the article.

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