Month: February 2014

Interview Analysis

This article from The NY Times not only has great quotes but a great lede. The lede… This significant detail lede gracefully introduces conflict and tension. “A brochure for the University of Michigan features a vision of multicultural harmony, with a group of students from different racial backgrounds sitting on a verdant lawn, smiling and conversing.” What about the interview? The article, entitled “Colorblind Notion Aside, Colleges Grapple With Racial Tension” is about the racial tension evident at the University of Michigan. Readers can tell that the interviewer in this article asked questions beyond the basics. A quote like this is evidence that the interviewer was able to capture voice and emotion in his interview: “When I hear people say, ‘We’re all people, we’re all human, I don’t see color,’ to me that means, ‘I don’t see you, you don’t exist,’ ” he said. Mr. Ngo, who is Chinese and gay, said he had been subjected to racist and homophobic epithets. The interviewer was able to speak with a multitude of students, which in some cases, could be hard to …

Amtrak may be offering ‘writing residencies’

I saw this article on Thought Catalog today and again on The Wire. Basically, Amtrak responded to this tweet by writer, Jessica Gross … and decided to offer her a trial ride. According to interviews (and an article by Jessica) post NYC-Chicago-NYC ride, it went fabulously. If these ‘writing residencies’ actually come to fruition, this is how they would work—writers would be selected on a case-by-case basis, pick a city, ride to and fro (hopefully for free) and write, write, write. This is a pretty revolutionary idea, especially considering its conception being on Twitter. It’s new-age and it’s great marketing for Amtrak. But, on that same note, since it’s still in its early stages they’ll have to figure out what constitutes someone as a “writer” and what they’ll have to do on their journey for it to be “successful.” What’s the big idea? This could bring back the organic experience of wifi-free, stream of consciousness writing. The allure of travel and writing have always been a sensational pair and this deal with Amtrak has the potential …

Fraternities Under Fire

This piece by Caitlin Flanagan was recently published as The Atlantic‘s cover story: The Dark Power of Fraternities. Not only does this piece investigate the depths of fraternity life and its casualties but it delves into some of the discrepancies over college tuition, admissions and student loans. The investigative reporting in this piece is an impressive mixture of intensive research and first-hand observation along with a strong thread of narrative profiles. Notable words: “Articles like this one are a source of profound frustration to the fraternity industry, which believes itself deeply maligned by a malevolent press intent on describing the bad conduct of the few instead of the acceptable—sometimes exemplary—conduct of the many. But when healthy young college students are gravely injured or killed, it’s newsworthy. When there is a common denominator among hundreds of such injuries and deaths, one that exists across all kinds of campuses, from private to public, prestigious to obscure, then it is more than newsworthy: it begins to approach a national scandal.” “The thing to remember about fraternities is that when Kappa Alpha …

NY Times, Lede Analysis

This article from The New York Times has an excellent example of a significant detail lede for two reasons: 1. This lede starts out by telling the larger story as well as details of the National Date Festival, and leads into the problem hinted at in the headline: a school’s Arab mascot drawing fire. 2. Because this lede describes a few stereotypical Arab occurrences (“camel rides,” “midriff bearing women in gauze and sequins,” “men in shiny billowy pants and turbans,”), it introduces tension in the article, which is a characteristic of a significant detail lede. The details this lede is using to set up the scene of the date festival introduce the tension that is to come later in the story about the Arab mascot and its discriminatory accusations (which are affiliated with the festival). Analysis I think the length of this lede is ideal. At just two sentences, it introduces the scene of the festival with pointed descriptions and includes the who, what, when, and where elements that are important in any lede. This lede is …

How-I-Did-It

This post will explain the steps I took to write and edit my Dana Born speech following the writing process outlined in the textbook, News Writing and Reporting: The Complete Guide for Today’s Journalist. Step 1 When I sat down to write this story about the Dana Born speech, I started by looking over my three pages of typed notes from the event. After looking through my notes I decided that the angle I was going to take was concentrated around her personal narrative and how she became a leader from sharing that story. Step 2 After reading through my notes I decided that the heart of this story was going to lie in the inspirational message Born was trying to put forth through her speech. She spoke about the importance of finding and sharing your personal narrative to become a better leader, which is already an inspiring message. The way she intertwined her own personal experiences and thoughts with that message is what made it even better. I knew I needed to add her personal …

Danish Zoo Kills Giraffe and Feeds it to Lions

Source: USA Today February 9, 2014 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/02/09/danish-zoo-kills-giraffe/5338485/ A Copenhagen zoo killed an 18-month old giraffe to prevent inbreeding, and later fed the carcass to lions. This article is newsworthy because it has the news values of impact, human interest, conflict and most significantly bizarreness. While the event as a whole is certainly negative, it sheds light on the operations and practices of foreign zoos; it has impact on the community. Conflict, because the article explains that multiple animal rights groups attempted to prevent the killing from happening. The bizarreness and newsworthiness of this story is likened to the newsworthiness of a “man-bites-dog” story rather than the common “dog-bites-man” story. People are inherently animal lovers, to read a headline claiming an animal (especially one as rare as a giraffe) had been killed compels people to read on to find out what happened–this is newsworthy.