All posts filed under: Analysis

A list of good journalism

Just like sports players have their ‘fantasy league’ teams, writers deserve their own list of industry MVPs. Sure, there are Pulitzer winners each year but some of the best work by the average Joes and Janes of journalism often goes unnoticed. The other day I stumbled upon an article: “Slightly more than 100 pieces of good journalism” by The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf. In the short introduction, I learn that Friedersdorf sends out a bi-weekly email containing great journalism recommendations for readers. (Sign up here). Then, each year, he compiles the pieces he’s highlighted into a “Best of Journalism Awards” list. This list has become my manifesto for good journalism. What I like most about Friedersdorf’s list is that he doesn’t interject his opinion. He provides a publication, article title, author and a short excerpt—leaving further exploration and judgement up to readers. The cool thing: No. 1 on the 2013 list? Center of the Universe, the piece published in Orange Coast Magazine that I recently blogged about. A small reassurance that I, too, have an eye for good journalism. It’s resources like this list of worthy journalism …

How to be an intrepid journalist

My reporting professor calls us intrepid journalists. An intrepid journalist is someone who is brave in their reporting and writing. An intrepid journalist is audacious enough to get that interview, to have that conversation, to write that story. An intrepid journalist is courageous and dauntless. As an aspiring journalist, I’m always admiring journalists who are exceptionally intrepid in their pursuits. I like to think there are even a few different ways to be an intrepid journalist: exposing oneself to danger or discomfort to capture a story that must be told telling a controversial story that must be told sharing personal details to recognize universal truths Each of these types have one common denominator: telling a story. Recently I was scanning Twitter and a tweet by Orange Coast Magazine led me to an incredible story. Click to find out why this story is STILL getting read all over the world: http://t.co/jotgtsMNUL Seduction and a serial killer… — Orange Coast (@OrangeCoastmag) May 12, 2014 The feature piece, Center of the Universe, was published last September and written by Jay Roberts. After reading it, I learned why it’s …

The power of the blogosphere

Like it or not, blogging is becoming a seriously viable player in the news media of the 21st century. Many businesses and corporations who don’t have blogs are taking hits in ways they never expected. Individuals blog to share thoughts and ideas with others whom they may never cross paths with. Blog (noun); a website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities and experiences. In our arguably impersonal society, blogs offer a way of relating and humanizing. They take news reporting and business handling a step further. They allow companies to relate to people. They allow world issues to relate to people. They allow people to relate to people.  That’s not to say some blogs aren’t rubbish—but it’s also to say many present valid and respectable fact and opinion. My favorite blog, Thought Catalog, blogs on issues that span the spectrum. From social issues to political issues to personal issues, all thoughts are relevant, they say. Fairly often, a Thought Catalog piece will catch my eye. It will make me think, it will inform me, it will inspire me.* Blogging is a new form of …

The balancing act of digital journalism

Like many these days, I get my news online. Twitter and Facebook feeds provide me with bite-sized chunks of information that I can click, read (sometimes skim) and share or send to others. Thus, when an Atlantic article popped up in my Facebook feed today entitled “My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation,” I clicked and read. What I learned made me realize that the future of journalism (and the rest of the world) is in the hands of these students. Some who can’t even hold a conversation… Paul Barnwell, a high school teacher and author of the Atlantic article, said that through projects aiming to practice the skill of conversation he is “focused on sharpening students’ ability to move back and forth between the digital and real world.” Barnwell notices a lack of intellectual discussion, online and in person, among his students and the millennial generation as a whole. Think about this: his class is surely comprised of future lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, government officials and most importantly (for the sake of this blog) future journalists. …

Orange Coast Magazine: ‘In-N-Out’s Burger Queen’

I was doing some company research on Orange Coast Magazine, and stumbled upon this brilliant article on their website, written by Patrick J. Kiger, about the woman behind the burger (really, what isn’t brilliant about In-N-Out?) This detailed and revealing profile of Lynsi Snyder, CEO and current president of In-N-Out, rallies my respect for the 66-year-old burger chain and the young businesswoman who runs it. Stylistic highlights: This lede: “About 40 miles north of the Irvine headquarters of In‑N‑Out Burger, the noonday sun makes the gritty industrial landscape of Baldwin Park simmer like a Double-Double fresh off the grill.” The article began as a “day in the life of…” and evolved into a story about the family hardships and successes that continue to lead this dynamic company. That’s the art of storytelling. Kiger’s selection of quotes paints a portrait of Lynsi’s personality: “’I’m a lot like my dad, a little bit of a daredevil,’ she says. ‘I like an adrenaline rush. My dad took me to the racetrack for the first time when I was 2 or 3. … Anything with a motor, that was in my blood.’” …

A chilling profile: Analysis

This recent piece from The New Yorker, written by Andrew Solomon (a writer on politics, culture and psychology) is an incredible example of a profile. For this post, I have analyzed only the first six grafs (presumably the lede and nut graf of this lengthy profile). Solomon profiles the father, Peter Lanza, of the infamous Sandy Hook killer, Adam Lanza. Solomon acts like an old friend of Peter’s, referring to his “new house,” “second wife” and the handful of interviews they did that lasted up to seven hours each. This profile of Peter has impact on readers because the writer: paints a portrait of Peter’s current mental and emotional state uses quotes sparingly and significantly (Ex. “Another time, he said, ‘You can’t get any more evil,’ and added, ‘How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.’”) provides appropriate background information that contributes to the overall focus of the piece (a look into the life and perspective of Peter) presents Peter as a human being, and a relatable one …

Better Alamance Project

Arielle Aurrichio is a graduate student in Elon’s iMedia program—an intensive one-year program preparing graduates to think strategically across all digital media platforms. Arielle is working on her capstone project and enlisting the help of our Reporting for the Public Good class. “I want to tell this story in an engaging way to let people know what’s going on [in Alamance County],” Arielle said. The Project: Betteralamance.org is a project aiming to help strengthen local communities in Alamance County, NC Each student in the reporting class will write a profile one of the 18 people (chosen by Arielle) that are a part of the Alamance County community The focus of the profiles will be on the closing of Loaves and Fishes (the local food bank) and what is being done to provide the homeless and impoverished with food The finished profiles will be posted on Betteralamance.org “I want to bring together photography, info-graphics and storytelling in a cohesive way,” Arielle said. Loaves and Fishes food bank closed their doors abruptly with no explanation leaving many of the …

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 …

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 …