March 25, 2007

Misteps found in Pat Tillman Case

A probe found missteps found in the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman and there should be people held accountable for his death. Pat Tillman was a former NFL linebacker who turned down a multi-million dollar contract extension to enter the Army.

This article was covered in the Star Tribune. The article was very well written with a very concise lead. The article covers all of the necessary ground. There is no kind of quotes in the article at all. Quotations would definitely add to the article. Also, a little background information about Tillman would be helpful as well.

This news event was also covered in the San Francisco Chronicle. This story also has a very strong lead, much like the Tribune article. The lead entices the reader to read on. Furthermore, the Chronicle's article is much more thorough. They go much more indepth and this makes for a much better article. They also used quotations to their advantage to add to their credibility.

I think both articles could have benefited on more backgorund information on Pat Tillman. Overall I think the Chronicle article was much more solid. The extra length and in depth reporting made it much more informative than that of the Tribune article.

Torandoes in New Mexico

Over a dozen tornadoes were spotted in New Mexico and the border of Texas. Property and homes were destroyed and at least 16 people were injured.

I first read this story in the Star Tribune website. It was written by the associated press. The lead of the story is rather lengthy and contains some details that may not be necessary for the lead. The story is written in pyramid style and covers all the essential details to the story. The story also does a good job quoting the proper people. This adds a strong element to the story.

This story was also covered in the Arizona Daily Star. This newspaper is close to the area where the tornadoes took place. The story is written in similar format as the first one. The lead however is more concise and clear. It does not use the same amount of numbers that jumbled the first storys lead. It also does a similar job using different types of quotes to enhance the story.

It can often be difficult writing about a tragedy such as this. I think both outlets did a great job handling it. Both were very good articles that other than the lead in the first one were very structurally sound and enjoyable to read.

February 22, 2007

Same Story, varying headlines

I noticed a story on the Star Tribune's website that is an AP story about national test scores are unimpressive however grades are improving. I googled this topic to look for other stories on this topic but I was only able to find the same AP story on several different sites. I did, however notice that the headlines for each story was different and in some cases changed the immediate interpretation of the story. I thought I would break the mold from previous blogs and look at the varying headlines on the same story.

Star Tribune: Test scores lag as grades improve, reports say. In this headline they use an attribution in the headline, which I do not think I see very often. Furthermore they mention BOTH test scores and grades. They mention the test scores lagging but then mention the improving grades. They do not focus solely on the bad. Furthermore there was no attribution in the headline

High School Test Sores Unimpressive: This headline takes a straight shot at the test scores and does not use a soft word like 'lag.' They just boldly say that the test scores are unimpressive. Furthermore they do not mention the fact that grades are improving. They are giving the reader the 'bad' and none of the 'good'

High school test scores unimpressive yet grades, transcripts improving: This headline, much like that of the Strib story mentions the test scores as well as the grades. However this headline goes further to mention that student's transcripts are improving as well. They mention the poor test scores than somewhat balance that out to the reader by showing them that grades and transcripts are improving. By showing one negative aspect but two positive aspects its as if they want a more positive connotation associated with the story. Also, like the previous headline, there is no attribution.

I found this blog very interesting that the same AP story could contain three very different headlines. It is interesting how different they all can be. I do not think any of the headlines perfectly encapsulated the story however I do think the Star Tribunes is the best. They mention the test scores as well as the grade and use attribution. The other two either do not offer enough information in the headline or use too much.

January 25, 2007

Congrat....Whoops, nevermind

The University of Chapel Hill North Carolina accidentally sent out email notices to 2,700 high school seniors saying they were accepted at the University. The students who received the email will not find out officially until March whether they have been accepted or not. Two University officials were the ones responsible for the mishap.

The article that I read out of the Star Tribune was a very straightforward article. It was to the point and got all the necessary information across. It began with a very typical but well written 24 word lead. Looking at it there was no changes that I could have seen that would have made it better. The writer could have possible written something more clever about a rather humorous situation. However technically the lead looked good to the best of my knowledge.

I compared the Star Tribune's article about the mishap with the an article from Greensboro, North Carolina. The lead they chose to use was a bit different then the Tribune's. The writer informs the reader that 2,700 emails were sent out congratulating the applicants on admission to the school. Then they begin the next paragraph explaining that the problem was that none of these students were accepted. Both columns go into explaining how embarrassed the University was about the situation. They both quote the director of undergraduate admission in regards to the situation.

Both columns are great at getting their point across and well written, I preferred the one from North Carolina. They used more quotations from the director of undergraduate admissions. This gave me more information from a credible source in about the same amount of space.