Recently in Notable and Analysis Category

Computer assisted reporting analysis

| 1 Comment

In a nine-month investigation by NewsChannel 5 (Nashville, Tenn.), Phil Williams shows that the wiring used on many planes "should not be used for airborne application."

From reading the article I discovered that Williams found test videos revealing issues with these types of wire came from the Federal Aviation Administration's own files. He also used a scientific report from the FAA's own experts calling the wires unfit for use on aircraft. There is also a listing of which aircraft have "Kapton" and PVC/Nylon wiring on the station's website.

Williams would have had to be very familiar with the FAA website and navigating the files. He would have needed to know how to access the databases as well as understand what they said. He also uses several sources to discuss the issues so he is very well connected or knew how to find these people in the databases.

Diversity analysis

| No Comments

My friend Amanda is part Vietnamese so together we looked at the article "Students support Vietnamese detainees." She's a sophomore at the University and has lived in the United States her entire life. Her mom is Vietnamese and has family living in Vietnam.

The article doesn't involve much about the actual topic of race but instead focuses mostly on the petition for human rights and how students here at the University of Minnesota are involved.

Amanda pointed out that the article did say that many students feel great responsibility to bring awareness to the issue because of family members living in Vietnam, but does little to go into anything more personal than that. There are a few people talking about how that affects them and a statistic about how people of Vietnamese descent make up the second-largest Asian group in Minnesota.

Overall, Amanda said she liked the quotes used and how the reporter spoke with students with family in Vietnam to get personal perspectives and thought they did a good job simply overviewing the issue. The article wasn't meant to go into a deep background of the Vietnamese culture but she likes how it ends on a personal note.

Number use analysis

| No Comments

In the story done by USA Today about the Mega Millions jackpot, the reporter uses various facts and figures to get his point across.

The article talks about the total jackpot winnings and how much each of the three winners gets once the money is split and divided by taxes. It also goes on to discuss the odds of winning the $640 million jackpot. The reporter also incorporates how much money was spend on the lottery tickets and how that money will be divided by the lottery, state, stores, etc.

The numbers aren't very overwhelming because the reporter rarely uses more than one figure in a paragraph. It is also easy to read and interesting because everyone loves to hear about money and fantasize what they would do if it was their own.

From what I can tell it doesn't seem like the reporter did much math on his own but rather got his information from other sources. A lot of people throw numbers at the reporter, from the lottery officials to people talking about how much they spent. At one point it does state how much lottery ticket buyers spent across the country and I imagine the reporter did do some math to figure out the number.

Obit analysis

| No Comments

I read the obituary of Arlene Anderson an educator at Minnehaha Academy. The reporter talked to her son, David, and Minnehaha Academy president Donna Harris. Harris also gathered a group of longtime academy educators to talk about Anderson including teacher Jan Johnson, teacher Phil Erickson and Jim Wald, finance and operations.

It has the standard obituary lead. It states her name, what she was known for, when and where she died and how old she was. I think the lead works just fine because the rest of the obituary is structured like a standard obituary.

The obituary is different from a resume because not only does it include her family history but also comments from people that knew her during her lifetime. The reporter uses theses comments to paint a picture of what kind of person Anderson was like in real life. Someone reading a resume wouldn't get that aspect.

Speeches/meetings analysis

| No Comments

Stepping away from the formality of the news blog, can I just point out how perfect this worked out to have the speeches/meeting analysis the same week as the State of the University speech? Perfect planning.

The Minnesota Daily reporter chose to focus primarily on the year-round academic calendar portion of the speech because that is what will affect (and interest) their readers the most. I heard many students talking about the proposed calendar this week and there are mixed reviews. However, no matter how people feel about the plan, I'm glad that it got people talking and interested in the politics that go on at the University. The reporter also got opinions from other people around campus which added to the story because it included audience reaction.

The Star Tribune article also primarily focused on the proposed calendar change but included other elements as well. Kaler also discussed "ineffective academic centers," previewed the budget for fiscal year 2013 that he will present to the U's Board of Regents in May and announced a new "entrepreneurial leave." Star Tribune readers are more likely to be interested in more than an academic calendar change. While that was still the bulk of the article, the Star Tribune brought up other key points as well to keep readers informed.

Multimedia analysis

| No Comments

I looked at the multimedia on both the New York Times website and ABC News websites.

From what I saw of the articles I scanned the New York Times had pictures on about half of the articles. Realistically there are topics where it's either unlikely to get a picture or there would be little to take a photo of.

I think having photographs in a news piece is extremely important because they add an element to the story that written words cannot.

The cutlines on the New York Times are very similar to the ones we created in class. Many of them were two sentences and I even saw quotes on a few of them.

On ABC News there were pictures but there were more videos than on the New York Times. I assume that is because ABC is is a television channel so on their website they can have accompanying videos. The videos have a large caption and then a smaller explanation underneath, similar to news articles.

Spot and follows analysis

| No Comments

When I first wrote the blog about Whitney Houston's death it was fairly soon after it happened. As the days went on, more and more stories filled the internet and her face dominated the nightly news.

I got my information for the blog primarily from an article by the Wall Street Journal. In the days to follow, the newspaper would publish multiple articles, from information about the singers funeral, to how she was honored at the Grammy Awards.

The day following the article, the newspaper released an article about Houston's movie 'Sparkle,' set to release in August.

The new story focuses more about the film and less about the details of Houston's death because by now, most news outlets had covered most of the details. The next day it was more about finding additional information about the singers life. Following this report, more and more context on Houston's life was released and is still being released today.

Structure analysis

| 1 Comment

In the article about Whitney Houston by the Wall Street Journal, the reporter structured the article in an effective way.

The lead says what happened in a very simple way, and then the following paragraph goes on to briefly explain who the singer was to quickly remind people that might not know or who have forgotten.

After that, the story explains who said Houston was dead and goes through the progression of events that happened after the discovery and who said what.

Finally, the article gives a detailed history the performers life and career which is important to understand the significance of the story.

I like how this piece was structured and I think it's effective. The reporter gives you all the details of the death but also keeps the reader informed of the context of the article and why people should care.

Attribution analysis

| No Comments

In the article "Mild, dry winter delights some, depresses others" by USA Today the authors use people as their sources.

Going though the article, I counted a total of 9 people quoted or paraphrased. A lot of that is because the story has a number of personal accounts of how the unusual winter has affected them.

All of the sources are spread throughout the article but it doesn't get to confusing because the authors usually introduce a person for a quick quote or information and then don't bring them up again.
The Weather Channel meteorologist Frank Giannasca was the only individual brought up later after he had initially been introduced.

I think the multiple sources if effective in this case because the article needs a variety of opinions. The point of the story is that the winter is affecting many people in many ways so the authors must then follow up that claim with the evidence.

Lead analysis

| 1 Comment

It's interesting to note how different reporters write different leads for the same story.

In my blog post about the Oscar nominations the Huffington Post lead their story with, "The 2012 Oscar nominees were announced on Tuesday morning, and while the front runners all got their nods, there a number of surprises and snubs, as well." But the New York Daily News reported, "The movie awards season is almost over, but save your strength for one more big event, on Feb. 26 -- the Oscars, after all, are like Santa and his reindeer in this whole parade." The Post decided to focus more on the movies that were "snubbed," the Daily News concentrated more on the event itself.
The Post's lead is also more of a straightforward approach and the Daily News took a more editorial feel. If I had to guess why I would say because the Oscars are more of an A&E story and less of a hard-news piece. They chose to use a more entertaining attitude because that's how they go about it for the rest of the article. Most young people might like the Daily News approach better because that's how we receive most of our news but it's still nice to have a more formal approach if someone is looking for just the facts.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Notable and Analysis category.

National News is the previous category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.