Monday, February 25, 2013

Name Calling - The New Yorker

As far as written publications go, the New Yorker is probably my favorite; it consists of some of the most  perceptive, skillful, and cogent writers I've ever read. Though it isn't without its flaws - its leftist political bent is barely concealed, and some of its features are weaker than others - the New Yorker brings extraordinarily unique insight to a wide variety of topics every day, and for that I love it. 
Today is no different. Columnist Steve Coll tackles the issue of Al Qaeda and America, of the so-called war against 'Al Qaeda and "associated forces."' It is, he suggests, a worryingly vague, conceivably indefinite conflict. "The conflict presents a problem of definition: as long as there are bands of violent Islamic radicals anywhere in the world who find it attractive to call themselves Al Qaeda, a formal state of war may exist between Al Qaeda and America," he writes. And worse, it's a war without cause. Coll presents evidence that terrorist cells loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda in name only - Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, for instance, or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - in most cases are at best geographically constrained, and at worst mundanely criminal. He concludes, "[…] the empirical case for a worldwide state of war against a corporeal thing called Al Qaeda looks increasingly threadbare."  
"Name Calling" is an excellent example of what makes the New Yorker so compelling. The headline is poignant and double-meaning. The lede is really intriguing. ("We can infer [...] that bin Laden’s comradeseither couldn’t come up with a better idea or didn’t want to annoy him by questioning his brainstorm.") And the writing is of the highest quality. I certainly can't complain about the subject matter and the author's arguments, either. I, personally, was persuaded by Coll's logic: to fight a war in name is to justify its perpetuity by pointing to hypotheticals. (Concededly, I'm almost always persuaded by New Yorker staff writers.) 
What opinions have you all on this article? Did you like the writing style? Do you agree with Coll's point, or disagree? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A gift for Africa

A gift for Africa was not only a touching story but a well written one.  I chose to look through the Columbus Dispatch because it is my hometown paper.  I was taken to this story because of the headline and picture that caught my eye.  I like how this story is written with facts and quotes.  The topic is already a story any age group can enjoy.  But the quote from one of the men and an OSU professor supports the facts and emotions throughout the story.  The map of the specific location on the side gave some background on the area and throughout the article, history on young children's struggles are told.  Without the background, the readers would not understand how vital medicine and other drugs are needed in Piol, Africa.  

After reading the article I realized that philanthropy articles can be very popular.  It is an international dilemma that local citizens are doing something for.  Covering stories that are making a difference across the globe is something any reader can emotionally relate too.  I am sure this story will create a positive image for the newspaper and will support the cause.  I did not know about "the lost boys" cause and i’m sure others did not either till this article.  The author placed a link to the lost boys foundation and a place to donate, which is helpful to the cause.  Overall I am pleased with this article because of the easy-to-read structure, topic and facts.  This was a win-win for the newspaper and the cause!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Two-day bail hearing for Pistorius to start Tuesday

The article was about Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius from South Africa.  In the London Olympics, he became the first double-amputee track runner to appear in the Olympics.  He soon became known as "The Blade Runner" which refers to the fiber blades he uses when he runs.  Pistorius began dating a South African celebrity named Reeva Steenkamp.  Steenkamp was shot on Feb. 14 at Pistorius' home.  Police recovered a gun and have taken Pistorius into custody.  He is scheduled to have a bail hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I found this story to be very interesting.  At first I was confused about the layout of the article.  It is not one continuous story, but instead is divided up into sections with different headings.  After reading, I liked this set up.  It gave you a brief introduction then told backgrounds of both Pistorius and Steenkamp then told the police report followed by what the trial will be like and South Africa's judicial policies.  All of these divisions gave me more insight in order to analyze every component of the story.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Russian Meteor

     I thought this was rather fascinating and very newsworthy. The article is very good at giving facts in a straightforward way, but almost too straightforward. There aren't any interviews that add much of anything to the story, and I'm curious as to why there aren't many published witness accounts or even if more people were interviewed.

     I'm wondering if anyone else was late hearing about this like me. I thought this would be a huge topic of discussion around me but I didn't hear anything from people around me or through any other media source. The scary thing to me is that it seems like the Russian people were completely uninformed about the possibility of a huge fireball rocketing across the sky at 19 miles per second. The article seems to imply that everyone was caught off their guard, but it makes me wonder if the government kept it under wraps in the hope that it would burn up in the atmosphere. What do you think?

video of the meteor

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pomeroy mayor quits over report of gay slurs

I found this story while looking on the Columbus Dispatch website.  This article was about how the mayor of Pomeroy was using gay slurs and trying to get an officer fired because of his sexuality.  Overall I really enjoyed this piece. I think it was well written and I really enjoyed the quote the writer used to finish off the piece.  I think that while it is sad that people are still so un-accepting, it sheds light on those who are accepting and how the accepting people seem to be be rising in numbers and trying to stop such hatred from continuing.

I thought it was to be expected that the mayor would not comment and in my opinion it makes her look worse.  What do you think the lack of her perspective takes away from the piece if anything?  How do you feel about the hook the writer used and the overall style of writing? I was confused about how the mayors actions could get the whole village sued. Besides making her look even more evil than she is what was the purpose of including that? It seemed out of place to me.

Justice’s Plans for Event Tied to Pepsi Stir Outcry by Yale Alumni 

   I stumbled upon this article while scanning through the New York Times website, and thought the headline was peculiar. The article describes Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreeing to speak at a conference for the women of her Alma mater, Yale University. The controversy of this article is that PepsiCo (who has been a supporter/sponsor of the campus for years) is sponsoring the event and some alumni worry. They find it unsettling that a company that has questionable public health concerns is sponsoring the event. One source referred to the event as a “PepsiCo event” not a Yale University one. Sotomayor is not being paid, endorsed, or receiving any benefits from PepsiCo or Yale to speak at the event, nor does her appearance violate any legal ethics laws.
    Does this count as a valid political article? When I started reading it, the article seemed off topic, and, frankly, not important. The layout of the article itself was jumbled and its sources didn’t complement each other. One source began talking about the health consequences of PepsiCo’s products, while another was speaking about PepsiCo’s plans to open a research facility near campus. The actual Yale conference and Justice Sotomayor’s appearance at the conference were spoken of very little. Does the Justice’s participation in an event sponsored by PepsiCo seem like a conflict of interest? Does the hype about PepsiCo’s sponsorship seem unimportant and blown out of proportion?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Obama skeet-shooting photo spurs debate ahead of gun-control talk

In light of all of the recent shootings and our 'blue-hooded bandit' (as we named him in an article in The Post yesterday: that we had a discussion about in class last Thursday, I found this Plain Dealer story to be interesting.

Gun control is obviously a huge concern in politics today. I would argue that President Obama is one of the presidents that has had to deal with this issue the most (if not, the president that has had to deal with this issue the most). However, two days before he promotes his gun control proposals, Obama was photographed aiming a gun at a shooting range, obviously stirring controversy.

I chose this article, as I said above, because gun control is a dominant issue in society today. From a journalistic standpoint, I wanted to share this article with you guys because I thought that it was well-written and included some interesting points of views (I found the NRA interesting in particular) and I think the photo was great and is an awesome action shot for those of you with any desire to pursue photojournalism. However, I think that what makes web stories really engaging is when they include video interviews, pull out quotes, and other visuals to catch the reader's attention. Today, many people just read fast facts on the go and things like that, but with a controversial story (many people have strong feelings about gun control one way or the other these days), I think it can really help to draw the reader in to look at everything on the page.

On an unrelated note, sorry this wasn't up sooner, guys!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Freedom, gratitude now fill lives of wrongly convicted ex-inmates

This article by the Columbus Dispatch follows the lives of five wrongly convicted men who were recently found not guilty due to new DNA testing.  The article goes on to talk about the Ohio Innocence Project that worked along side the dispatch to review over 300 cases of possible wrongful imprisonment and chronicles the inmates transition back to society.

I chose this article because of how well put together it is. It gets you straight to the facts and displays them accurately.  I also like how in the end the author gives each person their own mini story and talks about the different aspects of their lives.  The article could have used more pictures of the released inmates or other types of multi media, but other than that I think it was a pretty good article.