Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fires, hurricanes, and...what is 'fringe' science?

Tragedy, crime, business, entertainment-all of these can describe news headlines we may find in the morning paper. So what exactly is news and what makes an article worthy of that title? I think it lies in how the article makes a connection and communicates its message to the public within a few words. It grabs your attention in a way that, even if you're not into sports, you'll be interested in hearing about the latest news on Tom Brady.

When looking over the homepage of Baltimoresun.com, a few articles drew me in for various reasons, which can all be linked to the traditional news values that we will be discussing soon. These values include impact, prominence,unusualness, currency, timeliness, proximity, affinity, and human interest. If it is to be considered a "great" article rather than just a "good" one, then I believe the more values the more successful the article will be.

The first article to catch my eye was the article about the fire that destroyed a community playground on 33rd street in Baltimore. Living so close to Baltimore, this makes the article one of proximity for me. It seems tragedies like these are a daily occurrence. As I continued to read on, more values seemed to apply including timeliness and human interest. The playground was built up by the surrounding community of volunteers marking a great accomplishment for those who worked so hard putting it together. When something like this happens, we become interested in it because we immediately feel a connection to want to help out in some way and make things right. That's what drew me in the most about this article, how it evoked emotion in me and sympathy for all who were hurt by this tragedy. It truly had an impact on me.

Following this article, I was drawn to read about Hurricane Ike and how it is affecting those in Texas. Timeliness first played a part to this interest because we recently had a tropical storm hit the east coast which affected some more than others. Many were taking precautions the same way those in Texas have began. Conflict also plays a role since many in Texas seem to be battling against nature itself, not really knowing how badly it will affect them and their lives. Affinity may also be considered for those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina because they can relate to the fear that many of those in Texas are feeling as they begin evacuations and precautions for the storm.

Lastly, I just HAD TO READ the article on J.J. Abrams new series, Fringe. I love all of his shows, including Lost! I must say I am a fanatic and have all of my little theories about the island and it's "mysteries," just in case anyone else watches :) Anyway, the article appealed to me mostly for human interest purposes, but it can link to prominence, timeliness and conflict as well when you read more about the plot of the show. It is very twisted and crazy, much like the others, and delves "into the world of fringe science: astral projection, mind control, re-animation, telepathy." This article fed my curiosity, making me want to learn more about the show and it managed not spoiling the premier, even though I'd already watched it.

I think these articles can be considered news worthy because they are what makes news interesting for everyone. They appeal to a variety rather than a select group of us. So no matter who you are, there is always news that pertains to you, even if you can't see it yet. Sometimes it takes more than a quick glimpse to make the connection.


Stacy Spaulding said...

Very detailed blog post here, Melissa. It's clear you read the chapter and can apply the news values. Love the headline!

Mikal said...

I too really liked the headline, I still havent figured out how to do that, so good work. I thought your entry was also very thorough and descriptive.

Claire said...

Love the new header!

Mike said...

I like the layout of the blog, and the writing style. The writing was interesting too. It didn't sound too formal, but didn't sound sloppy at the same time.