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Iraqi Citizens Protest U.S. Occupation on Anniversary of Baghdad's Fall

An article published in the New York Times has reported that Iraqi citizens today marched in the city of Najaf to protest the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's occupation. The demonstration was held at the request of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sakr, and consisted of tens of thousands of those loyal to him marching in the holy city of Najaf, burning American flags, and cursing America. The demonstration is reported the largest in the city since 2003. Sadr went into hiding in mid-February, and the protest remained peaceful throughout the day as he had requested. The protest unfolded as heavy fighting continued in parts of Diwaniya, a city in southern Iraq where American and Irqai troops are fighting against the Mahdi army.

The article is covering a breaking news story and has been updated frequently throughout the day. The lead introduces the event and the central figure who provoked it, and goes on to describe the significance and consequences of the protests. The story involves a lot of details, and the article does a fine job of giving them all to the reader. The history is necessary to understand the current events. The article also places the events in the context of the fighting going on against the Madhi army, giving even more of a recent backdrop for the events. Direct attribution is used when quoting a speech given today by Sadr, as well as the American military colonel and the Iraqi national security advisor.

An Associated Press article that ran in the Washington Post today follows a similar stregy of providing an insane amount of information for the reader to drown in. The event is explained early on in the article and its lead, but Sadr is not introduced until the third graph. However, once Sadr is brought into things the Post article actually does quite a bit to explain who he is and what his influence has been, which is helpful. The article quotes a lot of the same sources the TImes article does, and overall they have the same format of presenting all these details and attempting to do it in a reasonably readable and comprehensive manner.

Frankly I felt like both of the articles were borderlind unreadable about 4-5 paragraphs in due to the abundance of detail, and the Post gives more crucial information early on so I guess I prefer that one. They explain who Sadr is and what his significance is immediately after mentioning him, unlike putting it off like the Times article did. It's also shorter, but still manages to quote a lot of the same people. It does the same thing in less words, so I prefer the Post article here.