Archive for the Hard News Category

King Holds Talks With Saudi Monarch

Posted in Hard News on January 20, 2009 by jessicapruitt

This Jordan Times article, like the previous two I’ve looked at, utilizes a brief, formal tone, including only pertinent information.

The beginning of the article concisely notes that Jordan’s King Abdullah attended an economic summit entitled “Solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza” in Kuwait on Monday. The middle of the article then goes on to elaborate on key points, such as the king of Jordan’s side meeting with Saudi King Abdullah, which concerned solutions for the current crises of the Arab community. The article concludes with a broader perspective on the issue from Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Salah Bashir, who noted that it was necessary for the Arab community to present a unified stance on the issue.

The lede of the story, like the previous two, is a simple summary of the most pertinent information: “KUWAIT (Petra) – His Majesty King Abdullah, along with 16 other Arab leaders, on Monday participated in the economic summit, “In Solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza”, which commenced yesterday in Kuwait.” The writer provides the who (King Abdullah and 16 Arab leaders), the when (Monday), the where (Kuwait) and the what (participation in an economic summit). This focuses in on the information that is most relevant for Jordanian readers and serves as a good way in which to introduce Jordan’s stance on the current Israel-Palestine issue.

Because of the brevity of the article, the author could have left out certain information, such as the fact that Jordan’s King Abdullah “attended a lunch banquet hosted by the Saudi King.” This information does not contribute relevant new information and interferes with an otherwise logical inverted pyramid structure.


Plaid Pantry Removes Suspect Snacks

Posted in Hard News on January 20, 2009 by jessicapruitt

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.

Russia and Ukraine Reach Deal On Gas

Posted in Hard News on January 19, 2009 by jessicapruitt

Russia and Ukraine Reach Deal On Gas“, from Monday’s New York Times, uses formal language and a concise writing style that packs a good deal of information into a small amount of space.

The article kicks off with only the critical information: as indicated in the title, the prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement concerning their natural gas dispute. It goes on to provide history of the dispute and past deals and, in the middle, goes into more detail concerning both Russia’s and Ukraine’s political investment in the issue and what the deal will mean for the two countries. Here, the article also provides quotes from experts, such as the European Commission and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in order to provide authoritative political analysis. Towards the end, the story delves into more specific gas price information.

The story’s lede exemplifies the basics of a hard news lead, stating: “MOSCOW — The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed Sunday to resolve their gas dispute, with an understanding that prices would be pegged to the price of oil, but with a discount for 2009 that means Ukraine could pay little more than it did last year.” In just the first paragraph, the reader is given the who (the prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine), what (resolution of gas dispute), where (Moscow), when (Sunday) and even an allusion to how (an understanding that prices would be pegged to the price of oil).

Overall, this article provides more analysis than I would expect from a hard news story, but provides the short, summarizing lede and the inverted pyramid structure that lie at the heart of hard news.