Recently in Analysis Category

Analysis: Records/ CAR

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This week we discussed computer-assisted learning. I looked at an article about how Orange County has changed using 1940 census data.

In addition to the text itself, the article contains video content, links to charts and graphics on the census data, and an explanation on how to determine the important information in the census data.

I think the extra content helps the reader to further understand the point the author is trying to develop throughout the text. Some people are visual learners, and can pick up on the important content through the graphics and video instead of filtering through some of the text. In my opinion, graphics and video are a fun alternative to the print we usually see throughout a newspaper.

Analysis: Diversity

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This week we began discussing diversity.
I looked at a Star Tribune that discusses tackles racial issues head-on.
The article profiles the African-American and other minority culture in the classroom, and provides statistics on minority students.
I think it looks beyond the stereotypes even though it focuses on minority groups in the classroom.
A person who I talked about the topic which said the stereotype portrayed in the article was accurate.

Analysis: Numbers

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This week we discussed numbers in lab. I found it difficult to place the numbers we found important into our story since you can argue for multiple places to put the data.

I looked at a story from WebProNews about a study on the growth of cloud computing.
The author led with the "news" of the study, and simplified the wording to make it understandable.

The next paragraph is a quote from someone affected by the study. Numbers are not used in the quote but are referred to.

Statistics are not in numeral form in certain cases. For example, one sentence uses "account for nearly half" instead of 50 percent or the actual numeral value.

Some stories I found online had sidebars and graphics that "relocated" the numbers relating to the study. In this example, there was a graphic at the bottom of the article that showed projected job-growth for different countries.

I don't think the numbers are overwhelming in the story because of the author's organization and the use of the graphic. Had that not been the case, I think the author could reword the statistics or simplify the terminology used to clarify the content for the reader.

To my knowledge, the author did not crunch numbers to effectively tell the story.

The article references the study in the first sentence and references the data in the graphic at the bottom of the content.

Analysis: Obituary

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This week we discussed how to properly write an obituary or profile.

I looked at a New York Times obituary on Mel Parnell. It began with a typical lead and overall structure. The only source, however, was Parnell's son.

I think the presentation of the obituary was acceptable. This particular piece focused on the career of Parnell as a baseball player, and included statistics and detailed descriptions of his career.

The obituary differs from a resume because it focuses on key moments in a person's life. In this piece, we hear about the biggest accomplishments of Parnell. There is simply too much information about him to include it all in the obituary. Another difference is sourcing; family members or other acquaintances are not part of a resume.

Analysis: Speeches/ meeting

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This week we discussed how to cover a speech in class. I found it difficult to determine what information should go into the last half of the article, where we report the opposing side and focus on the reaction to the speech.

I found a video on President Barack Obama's speech from Oct. 6 concerning the jobs bill. The ensuing news report by Fox News took what it felt was the main topic of the speech and elaborated on it, along with reporting on the reaction to the speech.

The reporter had to craft the story to include the important information at the beginning of the story and then retain the "point-structure" format we discussed in class. The reporter also provides background information about the environment of the speech and the reaction of the crowd - both present at the speech and elsewhere. A portion of the article is dedicated to the reaction from critics of Obama and the jobs bill.

Analysis: Multimedia options

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This week we discussed multimedia options, specifically slide-show content. For our analysis though, you asked us to compare two news organizations' multimedia options.

First, the Star Tribune features pictures with their headline stories, along with video to support feature stories. They also have a photo gallery section that follows up on their latest stories or compliments others. The photo galleries have captions describing the photos and the events taking place, very similar to what we did in class.

As for the pictures that accompany news stories, they are either single photos or mini slide-shows, and are complete with captions. Some stories also feature links to related content.

The other organization I looked at was KSTP in Minneapolis. They have links to news stories just like the Tribune but feature video content with some of the stories. They have a video section that houses most of their video content. I notice that KSTP has video content for subjects that the Tribune does not, like weather.
KSTP also has photo slide-shows with captions.

Both sites have links to social media like Facebook and Twitter.

As for writing, the multimedia help to complete the picture for a reader. Words are sometimes not enough to tell the full story so a multimedia compliment can be very beneficial.

The writing style for video clips and photo slide-shows is not the same as an article in the Tribune, mainly because they are shorter and more concise.

Analysis: Spot and Follows

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This week we discussed spot and follow. I looked at a Pioneer Press article about Congress passing an amendment to require photo IDs when voting this fall.

The first lead, which ran early Wednesday, focused on the hard facts, that the bill passed with an 8-6 vote. A later lead was directed more towards Minnesota and what the state will have to decide on.

The updated version of the story presented more detail about what the state of Minnesota was doing with the issue. I think the later article presented the Minnesota legislature's response to the Congressional actions earlier in the day, and can be seen clearly in the choice of quotes and text in the article.

Analysis: U.S. embassy closes in Syria

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This week we discussed structure in class, the ordering of information and presentation of information in a story.
In a New York Times article about the unfolding events in Syria this week, the author begins the story with the most important information first, the lead. The lead can usually tell the highlights of the story on its own.
The author used the inverted pyramid style to "refresh" the story in the second paragraph and then adds more detail with each subsequent paragraph.
In the article I referenced, I think the author presented the information in a logical order. The order is effective in transitioning the reader from one source of news to the next, and keeps it engaging. I think the story could have been effective had it presented information about recent damages and conflict ahead of background information, largely because readers want to know breaking news ahead of summarized recaps. I would have rewritten the information slightly to clarify its importance and then use strong transitional words or paragraphs to identify remarks or information of less importance.

Analysis: American Airlines to cut 13,000 jobs

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This week we discussed attribution, the act of giving sources credit for their information in stories. In the New York Times article, there are 10 named sources used. The sources with quotes are strung together in the middle of the article to capture the reaction to the news event while the beginning of the article focuses more on hard facts.
Named persons represented seven of the 10 sources and there were no records used as sources.
The reporter places the attribution at the beginning, middle and end of sentences. I think that the attribution style used in the story is effective because it doesn't interfere with the information of the story, which is what the author wants us to notice. It is my observation and experience that attribution can be difficult, especially when using multiple sources.

Analysis: Leads in story about missing 6-year-old girl

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The lead is designed to draw audience attention. In the msnbc.com article, the lead is straight-forward, summarizing the most important information in the story. The lead incorporates the essentials in hard news reporting: facts based on the five W's and a clear, concise writing style.
What the story is about is by far the most detailed aspect of the lead whereas why or how the story occurred is of less importance. These aspects of the story are typically found later in the story to provide further detail.
I feel the reporter chose this particular lead because it quickly informs the reader what happened yet provides some detail to provide the reader a better understanding without using too much space.

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