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One victim brings light to a greater struggle

The New York Times used the death of Seth Walsh to bring attention to a greater social issue in a piece Sunday by Jesse McKinley.

The structure of this story made this transition very smooth. The lead of the story was about the death of Seth Walsh, 13, who had attempted suicide after coming out.

The story then broadened to other gay teens who have committed suicide after coming out. Then the story focused on what lead to these unfortunate incidents.

Gay rights and discrimination are also discussed thoroughly in the article.

McKinley ended the story where it began by using a "kicker quote" from Walsh's mother.

Analysis: Attribution and His Holiness

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The week, as already summarized in this blog, The New York Times reported that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave $50 thousand University of Wisconsin research center.

The New York Times names the Dalai Lama in its lead and headline, yet he is not one attributed to once in the article. This piece focuses more on the work being done by Dr. Richard Davidson at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

When referring to Davidson, the times typically used the traditional "said" with both direct quotes and paraphrased quotes. Once in this article, they deviate in a way that is usually best avoided:

"It's about changing habits of the heart," said Dr. Davidson, 58, a Brooklyn native with gray-flecked hair, a warm smile and, as might be expected, a kind manner that puts people at ease.

The Cap Times, also covering this story, made a different style choice. "Said" was the word of choice for The Cap Times.

The death of the English language and of proper leads

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Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post wrote a comical article about the death of the English language, but, in his grief, he forgot how to start a story.

There are many ways to start a story, but usually one starts with the news. Although the "death" is announced in the first sentence, it comes only after the inclusion of two dense facts.

"The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead."

It is good reporting to have important facts, such as who will be impacted by the tragic passing of the English language, included in the story. It is too much for many readers when it is included in the first sentence, the lead.

One sentence was not enough for Weingarten to open the story and hook the reader. Two sentences formed the lead. Although this is not necessarily incorrect, the information could have been easily been condensed to one sentence with some of the interesting facts included in the second paragraph.

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