Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pulitzer thoughts

I read two of the Pulitzer prize winning stories from this year and wrote a bit about what I noticed.

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex

By David Barstow of the New York Times

Read the story;message%20machine&%2334&%2359&sq&st=cse&scp=5&%2359;%20and%20barstow

my thoughts as a journalist

There is very thorough reporting strung together by consistent chronology in the piece. As a journalist, the question that first arrives in my mind is “how in the world did he get such transparent access with all of these top figures?”

There is a good story arch within that chronology as well. First of course the story shows McCaffrey’s credentials and why he was such a hot commodity. But then it dives into what he did, what it led up to,

I wonder what his notes looked like. How did he interview these high profile people and get information out of them? How did he organize his transcripts and turn into the story I read today?

This story arch is important in showing the complexity of the problems investigated in this piece. If it were just a list of facts, it wouldn’t be at all apparent to how deep the story goes or how much one man’s actions dangerously pervades the system.

As a reader:

It’s interesting: earlier today I was cynically thinking to myself “I wonder how much good ideas or readings actually do. Do they actually incite emotion or promote change of some sort?” But then I read this story and realized how as a citizen it makes me angry to see this going on and how much tax dollars are being wasted by bribes and greed. It’s not like I can do something about it right now, but maybe someone can as legal actions take place and people

It also raises the questions of how do consumers interpret and trust media outlets? Sure, a news organization might be credible, but if it’s unsure how their analysts are benefiting or not benefiting from a particular viewpoint, part of the credibility is stripped away.

Extra note:

I noticed that the winner of investigative reporting category had two corrections on the Times’ Web site, two days apart. It is interesting that a piece of journalism with two corrections was still at such a high caliber to win the most prestigious of journalism awards.

Girl in the Window

By Lane Degregory of the St. Petersburg Times

The alliteration and word usage at the beginning works powerfully. Often the perception of cops entering a house is one of authority, not stumbling back to the sunlight and vomiting in the yard. The words, too, that the “rookie renched” somehow gives the words more power than just simply saying “the cop threw up.” We were learning about word usage yesterday in intermediate writing, so I’m pleased that I noticed this so quickly and was able to observe the power it had to the beginning.

Detail, detail, detail infiltrates this story creating haunting imagery of what the little girl was forced to endure. I cringed and grimaced at my table in kaldi’s as I read of the conditions. Now THAT'S good writing then.

The reporting in this also was wonderful with the storytelling archetype of Danielle seeming to be a “rising from the ashes” figure.

I thought it’s interesting with how Degregory decided to end with info about the mother’s whereabouts and her background. I’m glad they included that and it seems to fit well at the end.

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