April 26, 2009

Records/CAR Analysis

Poisoned Waters:
Story in The Washington Post

This story incorporated computer-assisted reporting through its use of online government databases. The U.S. Geological Survey databases were used for statistics on chemicals found in waterways and their prevalence within drinking water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture databases were used in order to locate areas where pollution was high because of agricultural runoff. These two sources advanced the story into one that is much more fact-based. Without this information and the locating functions of these sources, the story would not have advanced itself into something larger than a discussion on the the Chesapeake Bay and the Puget Sound. The studies on the water quality made it a much more newsworthy story.

April 5, 2009

Number Analysis

4 killed, 13 wounded in Iraq violence, from CNN Wire

This story used numbers in counts on how many people were killed or wounded, in distance from where the city affected was, and in time. The numbers are used effectively because they add to the story without entirely encompassing the story. The numbers used are not overwhelming, but rather complementary to the other information presented within the story. They help aid in the factual evidence of where the people were killed, at what time and how many.

The reporter did need to do math in order to tell the story to the international audience that CNN has. The reporter used both miles and kilometers in all measures of distance within the story. Other numbers presented did not use math in order to present them effectively.

The sources for the numbers are not listed explicitly. Most are coming from police and ministry officials, but the reporter does not name exact officials or police departments. The addition of places and distances from well-known places was something that the reporter added in order to give clarity to the story. It was not necessary, but does aid in telling the story in the best way.

March 29, 2009

Obituary Analysis

Archie Green Obituary in the Los Angeles Times

Archie Green's obituary takes on the standard obituary lead by focusing on one main "claim to fame" point of his life; the fact that he merged his university training and blue-collar work into a field of study all his own. The age of his death is incorporated into the story, instead of being blatantly stated as "he was 91," though. The second paragraph does state the cause of death, which was of kidney failure, and where he died, at his home.

Sources used within the story are primarily quotes from Green himself. There is one quote from an old friend, Robert Cantwell, which spoke about his character and how he viewed working men as important aspects to the culture of the day. Other than that, however, all of the quotes are either from interviews Green did previously or writings from his books. This is a good approach for this man because he was a self-made legend. He was interested in the working class culture and labor unions and made these things something for the rest of the world to take note of through his own studies. Other people cannot express what he wanted to do better than his own words can.

The lead works in this story because it is encompassing his entire life by pinning his university education against his other "working" education. He truly did merge both areas of his life into one field of study, which is not only his claim to fame, but is understood through the timeline of his life.

The obituary differs from a resume because a resume cannot indicate the impact his work has had. A resume would only list his accomplishments, where his obituary shows the impact he had, the work he did to create that impact and the way in which the world has taken his idea and run with it. It is not a straightforward list of accomplishments, but rather a melding of times in his life that were significant and what that meant in relation to his main goal of educating the world on a particular working class culture.

March 8, 2009

Advance Analysis

Advance: Coming in September: A Beatles edition of the `Rock Band' video game

This advance is giving information related to the September release of a 'Rock Band' and Beatles collaboration. Sources used include the Beatles' management, who said when the game will debut, which is Sept. 19, and that instruments similar to those that members of the Beatles played will be for sale before the game is released. Representatives of the Beatles and Rock Band were also cited and were reported to have been collaborating on the project for quite a while. MTV Games is another source used; they are the producers of the project.

The angle of the story is primarily based on novelty of the popularity of both the Beatles and the 'Rock Band' game. 'Rock Band' has been available for Xbox360, Playstation 3, and Wii video game consoles, making it incredibly common for people to be able to play. This takes the angle that it has been a long road in producing the final product, which is in part due to the fact that the Beatles have been slow to embrace technology. One of the points made to support this is that their music is not even available on Apple's iTunes.

The reporter has given the date and logistics of the release, but has also shown how the production process was more than a few e-mails between executives. The original game was not even supposed to be made for 'Rock Band,' so it has taken a few different directions than were originally planned. The reporter put in useful information for both Beatles and 'Rock Band' aficionados, making the article appeal not only to those who just love the Beatles or who just love 'Rock Band,' but to both groups of people.

February 28, 2009

Press Conference Analysis

Press Release: Gov. Schwarzenegger Takes Action to Address California’s Water Shortage

News Coverage: Sify News, California declares emergency

The reporter from Sify News, crafted the story in order to focus on the fact that California is declaring an emergency because of the drought the state is in. They then took a key quote from the press release and incorporated it into the lead. The article then goes on to say what will happen in March due to the decrease in water and how much it will cost the governor. The author then states the logistics of the water usage decrease, including that rationing may occur. Background on the topic rounds off the article.

The reporter chose to condense the press release into its main points. it appeals to the readers and reads much easier than the actual press release because of its simplicity. It also puts across one main argument for the reader to consume, the fact that there is a sever drought occurring and measures will be taken in order to curb this. There are quite a few basic points that could have been included, but were not necessary for this part of the story to be told.

One thing that I would have included that the Sify article did not include was information about the Department of Water Resources and how they are the ones being directed to take the measures regarding water rationing.

Overall the article gets at the main point, but it could have been written clearer. The lead is not concise, the conclusion is fine because it is fact-based. All in all the article reports main points, but, per usual, the press release contains much more information that could have been included had the reporter wanted to.

February 22, 2009

Spot and follow Analysis

First story link: Coal-mine explosion in China kills at least 74, StarTribune
Second story link: Rescue efforts ending at northern China coal mine where at least 74 killed in gas explosion, StarTribune

These two stories are concerning the coal-mine explosion in China. The lead in the first story states how rescuers are trying to get the miners to safety, saving as many as possible. It also states the critical information, that it was a coal-mine explosion on Sunday in northern China. The second stories lead states that the rescue efforts have stopped and that the explosion that occurred on Sunday (as it is now Monday in China) has been declared the deadliest in China in over a year. This was a fact that was included in the first story, but not until the very end. It is much more of a wrap-up of what happened instead of the ongoing pursuant that the first stories lead is.

The main news is summarized differently, but it is also structured differently. The first story states what happened, where it happened, how the survivors did not expect it and the straight facts and figures of the people who survived, died and were in the hospital. The second story is much more preoccupied with the aftermath of the event. How the survivors were doing is directly following the lead and right underneath that is a statement about how the explosion occurred is still under investigation. Information about the company that owned the mine was the furthest down in both stories.

The second story advances the news through telling what is currently happening regarding the situation. It speaks of the progress of the people involved and the progress of the investigation. It is not a response to another news corporations coverage, simply an extension of the first story with the newest information included.

February 15, 2009

Structure Analysis

News story from the Associated Press:

Plane that crashed near Buffalo was on autopilot
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A federal aviation official says the plane that crashed into a house near Buffalo, killing 50 people, was on autopilot when it went down, a violation of airline policy.

Steve Chealander of the National Transportation Safety Board says Colgan Air recommends pilots fly manually in icy conditions. Pilots are required to do so in severe ice.

The pilot of doomed plane reported "significant" ice on his wings and windshield just before crashing Thursday night.

Colgan Air operates a fleet of 51 regional turboprops including Continental Connection, United Express and US Airways Express.

Chealander says the preliminary investigation indicates the autopilot was still on when the plane crashed.

This news story is an example of a spot and follow, but it also has an inverted pyramid structure. The newest and most important information is contained within the lead. A recap of what happened and the new information are all interweaved. Something I may have done differently, though, is to put the fact that “a federal aviation official says? after the newest information, which is that it “was on autopilot when it went down.? This would have brought the readers eye to the most critical information in the beginning; however, it was put within the title so it still flows.

A quick background on when the autopilot feature should be used is next, and the fact that the pilot knew the conditions is vital to the story. The fourth paragraph could be moved to the last paragraph, as it is supportive information but not vital to the story. The last paragraph may be best above the fourth paragraph.

This story does use the inverted pyramid to get the most important and relevant information to the reader quickly and in a short amount of copy, which is the most important.

February 8, 2009

Attribution Analysis

There are two sources used within this story. First, the Los Angeles police department and then the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Los Angeles police department is the most reputable and applicable source of the two. The information from the police department is scattered throughout the story, but is also the main newsworthy part. This information contains the actual facts that compose the story line. The article states the police department as a whole; however, it also says that an “LAPD spokeswoman denied further comment,? showing that the reporter did try to get a statement from an individual person.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences released a statement referring to Chris Brown’s girlfriend, Rihanna. This is only applicable because of the status of the two singers. It is not the main newsworthy information; however, it does make it seem as though Rihanna was the woman who was assaulted. This source is only used in a small way, clustered in the center of the story.

The attribution is effective in the set-up of this story. The reader is notified right away that police were the ones who knew and relayed the information. In this story, it is not confusing because of how many times the LAPD is referred to. One other point is that the reporter did try to notify representatives for the two people within the story. This gives the perception of trying to tell the most accurate story possible because of the attempt at receiving a formal statement.

The story is below and also found online here.

Chris Brown investigated for Grammy-day assault
By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Top-selling R&B singer Chris Brown was under investigation for attacking an unidentified woman after an argument early on Sunday morning, hours before he was scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards, police said.

The 19-year-old R&B star, who was scheduled to perform his hit single "Forever" at the Grammys at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, was accused of attacking the woman after an argument in his car, Los Angeles police said.

Police declined to name the woman who made the domestic violence complaint against Brown. Brown has been romantically linked to pop singer Rihanna.

Rihanna had also been scheduled to perform at the Grammys, but canceled shortly before the show was scheduled to begin, according to a statement released by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

"We have just been informed that Rihanna will not be attending tonight's 51st Annual Grammy Awards. We're sorry she is unable to join us," the academy said in a brief statement that did not offer any further explanation.

Representatives for Brown and Rihanna, 20, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Police said Brown and the woman got into an argument while sitting in a parked car in the city's Hancock Park neighborhood at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.

"After stopping his car, Brown and the woman got out and the argument escalated," the Los Angeles police Department said. "The woman suffered visible injuries and identified Brown as her attacker."

The LAPD received a 911 call reporting the disturbance and according to the statement, when officers arrived they found the victim, but Brown had already left the scene.

An LAPD spokeswoman declined further comment.

Brown, who released his first album in 2005 at the age of 16, the self-titled "Chris Brown," topped the charts with his hit single "Run it."

Barbados-born Rihanna has already logged four Number 1 singles since breaking onto the charts in 2005.
She won a 2007 Grammy Award for her single "Umbrella," a collaboration with the rapper Jay-Z, and had been scheduled to perform her latest hit, "Disturbia," on Sunday night.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

February 1, 2009

Lead Analysis

“Record-breaking Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps issued an apology on Sunday after a British newspaper published a photograph purportedly showing him smoking marijuana.? (Reuters)

This Reuters news lead is straightforward and covers the essential information, the who, what, when, where and why in one sentence.

The who is illuminated in this lead because of Michael Phelps’ popularity. Stating that he is a “record-breaking Olympic swimmer? sets him apart from everyone else. The what is that he issued an apology and the when is on Sunday. The where is undefined, yet it is an issued apology and the story first appeared in a British newspaper. However, the where is almost irrelevant because once the apology is issued, then it is for use by media organizations around the world. The why is because a newspaper published a photograph in which Phelps was smoking marijuana.

Similar to the where being undefined, the how is also unclear. It is known that there is photographic evidence of the incident, but the photographer is not named, nor is the exact location of where the marijuana is smoked stated in the lead or in the article itself.

In this lead, the reporter is not stating an opinion to the story. The reporter is simply stating the newsworthy items within the story in order to relay the facts.