Plaid Pantry Removes Suspect Snacks

From this week’s Oregonian comes breaking news on a salmonella outbreak in the Portland Metro area. Given the import of the subject (public health), the article couples a formal and serious tone with terse language and short, choppy paragraphs (most not longer than a single sentence).

The story uses an inverted pyramid structure that classifies information based on local significance. It starts off by introducing the issue in a broad manner that focuses on local actions: Plaid Pantry stores in Oregon and Washington are pulling peanut butter snack products. It then goes on to add more specific information about the issue, such as the particulars of the product, its sources and the manufacturer. The middle of the article focuses in on the outbreak, addressing its ramifications (deaths and injuries) and the how and why, such as its cause and where, exactly, products were sold. In accordance with an inverted pyramid structure based on locality, the article concludes by broadening out to the outbreak’s effect on a national scale.

The story’s lede, much like that of the New York Times article in the previous post, offers a brief but comprehensive summary: “Plaid Pantry stores began pulling popular peanut butter snacks off their shelves Thursday as the list of people sickened in a nationwide salmonella outbreak grew longer.” The lede includes the critical information, such as who (Plaid Pantry), what (pulling peanut butter snacks), when (Thursday) and adds why (more people getting sick) because the reason for these actions would otherwise be unclear. Because the article comes from a more local newspaper, the information it views as important differs somewhat from the previous one, which has a more national readership.

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One Response to “Plaid Pantry Removes Suspect Snacks”

  1. Brandon Galloway Says:

    If I can’t eat pre-packaged peanut butter treats without getting salmonella, I don’t even want to live in this country!… But seriously, I liked how the writer conveyed a sense of urgency and importance in the story without terrifying people. We get enough irrational fear from Fox News…

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