Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Records/CAR

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By Lauren Regnier

In the Story titled, "Recession taking toll on Washington state," the reporter had to seek records and analyze then to put the story together.

The reported states that Washington's economy is at it's all-time low, so in order to make that claim the reported must have looked at a number of economic records provided by the state, compared them and then made that determination.

To do this, the reporter needed to know how to file records through their states statute under the Freedom of Information Act. They also needed to know their states laws involved with that statute in order to verify their eligibility for obtaining that information.

An additional link in the story connects the reader to a line chart, which shows states economic history since WWII. In order to put this together, they needed additional computer skills to create such charts.

Analysis: Diversity

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By Lauren Regnier

I looked at the article "Black voters give Obama advantage in Virginia" by MSNBC with an African American student, Rich, who grew up in St. Paul. He and I both think that this article doesn't really go beyond stereotypes. He said that it makes it seem like black people vote for Obama simply because they are black, and not because of his views, values, etc.

The following passage in particular implies what Rich's thoughts were:

"For a Democratic presidential candidate, in a competitive race, Barack Obama has a better chance than any Democrat -- current or past -- to be able to carry a state like Virginia or North Carolina, due to his strength in the African-American community and their willingness to turn out in large numbers."

He suggests that this statement implies that if a black person has a choice to vote for a black Democrat or any other race, they will side with the black Democrat, solely for that reason and no other.

We both felt that at the end of the story the reporter tried to look more objective by saying, "Obama did better with white voters than Kerry," suggesting that Obama not only wins with the African American voters, but white voters as well. However, I feel this is a poor attempt.

Analysis: Numbers

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By Lauren Regnier

In the story "Seeking a Cure for Troubled Hospitals in Brooklyn" by the New York Times, there is a plethora of numbers used in many different ways.

However, the reported keeps the numerical information clear by varying the ways in which he presents the data/statistics and tailors it to be the most easily understood by the readers.

For example, when explaining about how high occupancy rates could be if one of the three hospitals closed, the reported used "130 percent" and "one third more visits" which simplifies the statistics for the reader so they can understand them more clearly. In other words, they did the math for us, so we don't have to.

They also attributed these statistics well by stating who the study was submitted by and what that group represented. This gives the reader reassurance that these numbers are coming from a reliable source.

However, there are a couple paragraphs where the reported tried to fit a lot of numbers into one or two sentences, which made me have to reread them a few times in order to understand what they meant.

An example is in this sentence: In 1980, Brooklyn had 26 hospitals; now it has 15, and 41 percent fewer acute-care beds -- 2.3 beds per 1,000 residents, compared with Manhattan's 4.7, the state's 3.1 and the nation's 2.6.

They could have at least made this into two separate sentence. It just feels crowded and overwhelming.

Overall, I was pleased with how the numbers were presented in the story and that the reported did the number crunching for us to make that statistics more understandable.

Analysis: Obituary

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By Lauren Regnier

The obituary written for Allen J. Bernstein, owner of Morton's of Chicago steakhouse chain, by the New York Times follows the classic structure and style of an obituary.

The lead starts with who he is and his "claim to fame" followed by when and where he died, and how old he was. This standard structure gives you all the necessary information in a clean and concise way.

There are only three sources used in this obituary; Bernstein's wife, Bernstein himself, and Inc. Magazine. Although not very many quotes were used, I feel that it was the perfect amount to provide little bits of color throughout the piece.

Obituaries such as this differ from resumes because it's presented more as a story of what made this person honorable, rather than a list of their achievements. It highlights not only their career achievements, but their character as well. It's almost like a tribute or celebration to that person.

Analysis: News Conference

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By Lauren Regnier

In a news conference for Lansing Economic Development Corp., president and CEO Bob Trezise announced he was to become the new leader for Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc.

This is the main point the reported focused on in her story. She didn't get into much detail about Trezise and the work that he has done or will be doing. However, the press release went on and on about his accomplishment and the great work that he had contributed to the company.

The reported basically just gave the facts, whereas the press release said what they could to promote a good image for Trezise and the company.

At the end of the story the reported reference someone else to go if the reader wants more information.

Analysis: Multimedia

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By Lauren Regnier

The Star Tribune posts photos, videos, audio, and podcasts. Sometimes these things stand alone. There is usually a sentence or two next to the video, photo, etc. describing that it's about. A lot of their stories on the homepage are paired with a photo and a short excerpt of the story under it. This helps to draw the reader in. It gives them a visual, which is more appealing than text.

Next to the videos they right a short paragraph describing what the video is about. This writing differs from the excerpts that are matched with the photo in that it doesn't have actual reporting. It basically just describes what will be shown in the video, and then leaves the video to tell the story.

The New York Times has a lot more multimedia options. They have slideshows which tell a story through pictures that are matched with a sentence or two. The writing is very clear and concise. It usually describes what is happening in the photo or information about what the event was.

This approach is nice for visual people because it can tell a whole story basically through pictures. It also gives you a better sense of what's going on because it's almost as if you were there.

Overall, I feel that video clips, photos, and other forms of multimedia give the reader more information to have a better understand of what is going on.

Analysis: Two-day story

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By Lauren Regnier

When comparing the two-day Star Tribune story about the OccupyMN demonstration, they were structured similarly, but the information in them were very different. There wasn't a lot of information in day one's story that showed up again in the day two's story.

Both of the stories have a one-sentence introduction line right below the headline and above a video clip that briefs what the story will be about. These somewhat act like a shortened lead. However, day one's story has an actual lead describing what the protest is about, where and when it took place, and who was involved. Day two's story places day one's lead further down in the story and starts out the story with new information regarding one of the protestors.

Both of the stories advance through the events of the demonstration in a somewhat chronological order of what happened as each day progressed. They both use lots of quotes from the protestors to tie together each idea. Because of this, there isn't really any information in day two's story from day one's Instead, day two's story advances the news by reporting on how many people are still participating and what their thoughts are about the situation.

I don't believe that day two's story was a response to a competing news organization. It doesn't mention any other organizations in the story. Rather, it's an addition to information in its original covering of the demonstration.

By Lauren Regnier

The AP reporter for the Star Tribune's story about the murder-suicide that occurred in a Souther California school's parking lot, structures his story with the martini glass method.

They start out with a lead summarizing the important information and then get into more detail about who died where in the second, refresh paragraph. They throw a quote from one of the victims family members right under this paragraph, but it just seems out of place to me.

Next they told the chronology of events that took place through the point of view of a witness. I thought this worked really well. It was more interesting getting the story from someone who watched the shooting happen opposed to the police recounting the facts.

To tie it all together, they end the story with a kicker that plays off of that, a quote of how the witness felt while he was watching the incident happen. This, too, was successful. You could really feel his sense of shock and aw from his statement and it was a great way to end the story.

Analysis: Typhoon headed to stricken Japanese nuclear plant

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By Lauren Regnier

Only three sources can be found in the story in the New York Times about the typhoon that recently hit Japan.

The reporter scatters them evenly throughout the story with one near the beginning, middle, and end.

The first attribution is from Japan's National Broadcaster, NHK and it's more effective than the other two. It's at the end of the sentence and it says "...according to, Japan's National Broadcaster, NHK," similar to the method we learned in class.

The other two attributions come in the middle of the paragraph, which are a little more confusing. The story contains really long paragraphs and breaking them up where he put the attributions it could make the story more clean cut and less wordy.

The reported mostly attributes corporations with statistics of damages or the number of people affected. He only attributed one person, Japan's electric company's spokesman. However, when the reported couldn't get ahold of the spokesman again, he noted that in the story, which I think was good.

A lot of information about the typhoon's damages and location weren't attributed, which makes me wonder where he got the information.

By Lauren Regnier

The story about the death of a nine year-old boy in the Star Tribune is a perfect depiction of what a hard-news lead should look like.

It answers the questions who, what, where, when, and why without being too specific. In other words, the reader can get the full gist of the story just by reading the first sentence.

It generates proximity because it was the death of a boy from St. Paul and timeliness because it happened just this morning.

The most detailed information given in the lead is who it's about. This is most likely because it pertains to the death of a child that lives in the community.

The lead describes what happened in a general way and leaves more specific details for both why and how it happened in the second and later paragraphs.

It's the same situation with when it happened. The lead gives the reader a general idea when it happened, early Saturday morning, but the second paragraph takes it step further, stating the actual time the accident took place.

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