Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Obits

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Look at a news obituary- not a paid death notice, but an obituary written by a reporter about the death of someone notable in the community. What sources are used? Does it have a standard obituary lead or an alternative? Does that lead work? How does the obit differ from a resume?

NY Times

Al Rooney of "60 Minutes"

Sources: CBS News, Time Magazine, New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen, The Advocate newspaper, Walter Cronkite (a colleague) and Mr. Rooney himself.

Lead: The reporter used a standard obituary lead and could have strayed from the standard lead considering the prominence of the person.

An obituary differs from a resume because of the narrative aspect of the person being profiled. In a resume, one just writes objectively and in an obit, the writing is more in-depth and with color of personal stories.

Analysis: Speeches and Meetings

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Find a story that is based on a public meeting. Look at the role the meeting itself played in the story. Was the story a recap? If so, what was the story's focus? Did it highlight one issue? Or did it cover a range of issues? Alternatively, is the story an advance of the meeting? If so, how did the reporter get the information? What are the sources tapped for the story? covered a public hearing in Ramsey County about the new Vikings stadium proposal. The focus on this hearing was to allow taxpayers to voice their opinion on putting anti-stadium language on the county ballot.

Analysis: Multimedia

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Compare two news organizations' multimedia options. What are the kinds of multimedia they feature?
Duluth News Tribune and Washington Post feature a photo slide show on their main pages.

The Washington Post has its own Multimedia tab at the top of the website whereas the Duluth News Tribune has a video and photo gallery link at the bottom of website in addition to a Photo of the Day and Top Picks Video in the middle of site as you scroll down.

The Washington Post's Multimedia page offers featured videos and many photo galleries where readers could also post their photos.

The Duluth News Tribune has videos and photos separated.

How do those complement NEWS stories?
Photos and videos make strong impressions on readers where text sometimes cannot accomplish.

The reader can feel that they were witnessing the event itself being able to see the event through a picture or video.

What kind of WRITING do you see in those items? What are the characteristics of that writing?
The writing that accompanies the visuals mainly describe the visual and then perhaps further detail about the context of the visual. This kind of writing helps the reader to understand what is truly going on in the visual, to not be led to misinterpretation, and is very straight-forward.

Analysis: Follow-up Stories

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The first day story is very basic and not very detailed. The story gives a general idea of what it is about. The updated story/ the next day story is more detailed and provides more information about what is being reported or investigated.

The updated version of the story can provide accurate information and be more complete for the reader to understand.

In my opinion, the story should not be a response to a competing news organization report because the news story should be based on what the reporter knows of the story and just give the facts.

If a reporter did the follow in a response to another reporters version of the story, it would seem unprofessional to me. The story would be focused on the other news organization instead of the story content.

Analysis: Structures

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Analyze the progression of information in a news story. How has the reporter summarized the important elements? How has the reporter ordered the information? Why? Is it effective? Could it be done differently? How?

In the NPR article about the typhoon in the Philippines, the reporter spread the important elements throughout the article like a narrative instead of a hard news story. The reporter was very descriptive.

The information was in a narrative-like order because of the way they phrased their sentences and in a so to speak, "beat-around-the-bush" way.

I think this particular article would be more effective as an in-depth analysis and not as a hard news story.

To be changed into a hard news story, there would be less description such as the sentence,

"Pounding rains obscured the view of anyone on the streets as soldiers and police scrambled to safely evacuate thousands of people in low-lying areas, where rivers and the sea spilled into shanties, hospitals, swanky hotels and even the seaside U.S. Embassy compound,"

to something more of the lines like this: Soldiers and police safely evacuated thousands of people in the pounding rain out of low-lying areas.

The second sentence is more succinct and gives the news right away in less words.

Analysis: Attributing the Sources

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Source, sources, sources. In BBC News.
How many sources are used? 7.
Which sources are named? 4 with a name, 3 are spokesmen.
Are they scattered/ clustered together? They each have their own line in the story.
Is the information from people? Records? All people.
How does reporter set up attribution in story? The reporter introduces the attributed person with information of who they are and how they are relevant to the story.
Is it effective/confusing? The set-up is easy to understand and effective.

Analysis: A Lead that Catches the Eye

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A conversational style type of lead in a water bottle ban article in the Star Tribune really grabbed my attention.

"The College of St. Benedict used to like bottled water enough to affix its logo to the plastic and hand it out at alumni events. Macalester College did the same. But bottled water isn't welcome anymore.

The lead gave what was necessary for a reader to understand the content of the article in a short paragraph, the who and what, while adding a little flair to the style of writing.

This type of lead made me want to read more and interested.

The elements in a lead are the who, what, when, and where. Collectively, they act as the "why this article should be read." Some elements are more important to emphasize in certain stories which in this case the who and what: St. Benedict and Macalester Colleges and water bottles.

The who and what are specific. Instead of Minnesota colleges, they give the names of the schools and the water bottles are directly linked to the schools with affixed logos. However, the reporter doesn't explain until later that they mean disposable water bottles and not reusable ones; that is, if you are looking at the lead itself and not the headline nor the accompanying photographs.

The reporter, Jenna Ross, used this approach in writing her lead as a way to get the reader to wonder and then would have to continue reading the article in order to answer their questions.

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