Obituary Analysis: George McGovern

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George McGovern, former presidential candidate in the 1972 election, died October 21. He was 90. In a five-page-long obituary written by the Associated Press published by ABC News, only McGovern's greatest accomplishments were highlighted.

In the obituary, the sources used were McGovern himself (quoted), former President Bill Clinton, McGovern's family, political writer Theodore H. White and president Barack Obama. The amount of sources interviewed and quoted indicated how important McGovern was in America, in addition to the impact he left on others. His obituary described his successes as a politician as well as his loyalty as a friend.

George McGovern's obituary does not use a standard lede. Instead of starting with a quick description of McGovern, when he died and how old he was, ABC News says, "George McGovern never slowed down, never stopped working -- not even after losing the 1972 presidential race in a historic landslide that would have politically felled many others." This lede does not include details about his age, where, when and how he died as a normal obituary would, instead it begins with a description of McGovern's unrelenting work ethic.

McGovern's obituary's news value is important because he is seen as a notable figure in society. His loss to Nixon in 1972 is a memorable moment, therefore his obituary is important to those who voted in that election. The five page story focuses on his talents described by his closest friends and colleagues to demonstrate how McGovern lived his life to the fullest.

This obituary differs from a resume because it does not describe chronologically what McGovern did during his life. Instead, it begins with how he is known and analyzes that aspect of his life in more full detail with the story's usage of interviewees.

McGovern's obituary marks the important aspects of McGovern's life and how he changed America significantly with several sources and thoughtful memories.

1 Comment

Annie, this was pretty solid, but could have used more than one source -- ABC News. A comparison between it and another might have been interesting.

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