Analysis: Obama's pre-debate strategy

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In the Virginian Pilot's article, "Pre-debate, Obama hunkers down at Kingsmill resort," the author talks about Obama's preparation strategy for Tuesday's debate, the second in this year's presidential campaign. The author builds the story around the perspective of his sources, creating a unique angle. This is a story about the presidential campaign, but the author does not limit his sources to President Obama, Governor Mitt Romney, or their campaign teams. Instead, he creates a story around the opinions other have about the piece of news: that Obama is at a resort in Williamsburg, Virginia to prepare for the debate.

The author leads with the discussion of an event completely different from the presidential campaign: a high-end car show that happens to be taking place right where Obama is staying this weekend. The author quotes an attendee who talks about how Obama likely won't be seen at the car show. This is used to set up the rest of the details about Obama's weekend in Virginia.

The beginning of the story might mention a car show, but by the middle, all that's being discussed are the "5 W's" about Obama's campaign preparation. Having already quoted a "regular" source, the author throws the one quote he has from the president himself into the middle of the story.

Because he did not have any more of the president's words available, the author had to be creative. He goes back to talking about the car show and quotes another attendee, stating that he is an Obama supporter.

The author then presents the alternative viewpoint and ensures he remains balanced in the story. He talks to the car show's celebrity judge about why he does not support Obama.

The author's selection of sources in this story illustrates creativity and balance. He found a way to take a unique angle on a relatively blasé and straightforward story: that the president is in Virginia preparing for the debate. He moved beyond that basic fact and made the story about the local people and their reactions, which served to make the story more interesting for the readers. This is an example of how the sources an author chooses can really shape the entire story, from start to end. It gave a straight news piece more human interest, feature-like qualities.

1 Comment

Nice work. Include links everywhere, including for the analysis story. Attribute everything you did not report first-hand. GG

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This page contains a single entry by mill3877 published on October 14, 2012 11:52 PM.

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