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Analysis: Data Sets

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For this blog, I found a two-part story called "Glamour Beasts: The dark side of elephant captivity" by the Seattle Times reporter Michael J. Berens.
I located this story using's Extra Extra section.
The reporter used many documents from zoo records and from animal advocacy groups. Many of the documents were zookeeper logs about attempts to inseminate elephants in zoos.
There was a compelling interactive graphic that mapped out where and how many elephants had died at zoos across the United States. The was a table below the map that listed the elephants' name, age, sex and cause of death.
There is another interactive graphic that follows the timeline of a famous elephant family in captivity.
The reporter must have had to do extensive digging in zoo records to find this information about the elephants, especially since some of it is incriminating in the health of the animals.

Analysis: Reporting on a public meeting

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This report by the Star Tribune covered a Mendota Heights City Council vote to approve an ordinance on maintenance of commercial properties.
This was a very short report on the council meeting, and the reporter did not choose to go in to any real depth about what the new ordinance means for Mendota Heights.
This report was a basic summary about what the ordinance is and what it requires from commercial property owners.
To go more in depth with this story, I would want to talk to commercial property owners and residents in the area to get their take on the new ordinance. It would bring more humanity and relevance to the story.
It would also be interesting to know the consequences if the new ordinance is violated.

Analysis: Cultural Reporting

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The New York Times published a story Saturday about the effects that Hurricane Sandy had on Haitian farmers.
The story is mainly about damages and losses inflicted upon the already struggling Haitians who live in rural areas and work with agriculture.
The common perception of Haiti right now is that of an impoverished nation. This news story does little to break that stereotype, although in reality most Haitians really are still struggling from natural disasters past, in addition to Sandy.
This story does not delve much deeper in to the culture other than the challenges farmers in Haiti face.
This may be because it is only a two-page story, but it only portrays Haitians who have lost a lot and now rely on prayer for help. This does not go much farther than how most Americans already view Haitians.
For example, one man interviewed for the story is a farmer with a family of eight to feed. Tragically, most of his crops were wiped out in the storm.
"At night I pray to God and ask what can I do?" is the only quote in the story from this man, who most likely had a lot more insight in to the situation.
For sources, the reporter had interviewed several farmers and people who were hit hard by the storm in rural Haiti. Four are quoted in the story, and the stories of several more specific people are referenced.
There are also a number of official sources used, such as two United Nations workers and the Prime Minister of Haiti. A report by the international aid organization Oxfam is also referenced.

Analysis: Numbers

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This story was a report in The New York Times on a recent health study that used numbers in several different ways.
The study found that a what a person eats could affect their chances of surviving colon cancer.
The numbers are not the major part of the story, but the ones that are used are highly specified.
For example, a major tool used in the study was the glycemic index measurement, which gages the rate that foods with carbohydrates raise the level of blood sugar and insulin.
The reporter made all of these specific numbers easier to grasp by focusing more on the more general point to the math.
According to the report, the study participants who ate the most carbohydrates and glycemic-heavy foods had an 80 percent higher risk of dying from colon cancer.
The reporter did not do much further manipulation of the data. The numbers used are from the study.
This study was published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Analysis: News Obituary

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John H. Reed, former governor of Maine, died at the age of 91 Wednesday in a hospital in Washington, D.C.
The news obituary published by the Washington Post was written by the Associated Press.
The article uses more official sources who knew Reed such as the current governor of Maine and a current U.S. Senator from Maine.
This differs from a paid death notice in that information came from people who knew Reed professionally and not only from what was submitted by his family.
The lead includes information about his career and not only the standard straight facts of a paid death notice lead.
However, this obituary was similar to a standard one due to the information about the memorial service at the end.
The news value is greater than a standard obituary because of the prominence of the deceased. He was an elected official and served in several national positions.
There are quotes and information from people associated with Reed, making it different from a resume. Also, resumes do not traditionally include background information but this obituary detailed where Reed was born and raised.

Analysis: Multimedia

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As Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast, many news organizations opted for multimedia like photos and interactive maps to tell the story.
The New York Times used several different multimedia forms to accompany their traditional articles.
This interactive map highlighted that The New York Times is still a Northeast-focused paper, since it provides useful and necessary information for the residents there.
Both National Public Radio and provided a slideshow of photos as well as a storm tracking map.
Storms are a very visual occurrence, and these multimedia features complemented the news stories to reflect that. Not only did the news organizations provide the facts, but they were able to make the story more personal by showing everyday life disrupted with storm preparations.
The writing that accompanied the multimedia was very short and to the point. Each individual photo or feature could have stood alone and still gotten the most important information to the reader.
The New York Times also had an online feature that updated with a new photo taken from the top of their building in New York City watching the storm come in.

In The New York Times' story, "El Paso Schools Confront Scandal of Students Who 'Disappeared' at Test Time," sourcing is self-contained in the article and is from a mix of official records and people involved in the issue. The reporter, Manny Fernandez, had spent time himself researching the matter as evidenced by the dateline and by the investigative nature of the story.
Of the one dozen or so sources used in the story, five are named when referenced. Those named are from a variety of backgrounds: a parent, a former principal, two prosecuting attorneys, and a current district administrator. All of the named sourced were quoted in the story.
The sources were spread throughout the article and were not returned to at any later part of the story. Legal records and Texas education records are alternatively referenced with people. The story used data from these records to support what was said by the human sources.
Attribution throughout the article is not glaringly obvious. There are no links out to other websites. The two most used attribution terms used are "according to" and "said." Fernandez incorporated the attributions in to the framework of the story. It is clear the Fernandez did the source interviews himself. This is effective in that the attribution does not call attention to itself, but is present in order to maintain credibility.

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