September 27, 2005

Media Analysis

On August 30th, we were asked to compare and contrast the TV version, the print version, and the online version of the same news story. In the hard copy of the Tribune Review, the article entitled “McDonalds robbed” appears under the In Brief heading on page A14 of the regional news section. It is at the very bottom of the page, and is given the least amount of attention. The article gives nothing but the barest facts, no eyewitness accounts, and only a brief description of the suspect. He is described as “a black man between 18 and 21 years old, about 6 feet tall, with a lanky build, and wearing all black clothing.” The article also claims that “there was no information available on what, if anything, the robber took.”

During the 6:00 news, this story appeared as the first story during the Local segment. The reporters gave more details about how the crime was committed, describing how the suspect placed his order at the drive-thru, drew his gun, crawled through the window, held workers at gunpoint, took cash and fled, but left out the physical description of the suspect. They were also able to show the exact location of the crime in a video clip.

In the online version of the Tribune Review, the same story was given two separate articles. The first was given the headline: “McDonalds robber sought,” with the exact same text as the print version. Although it appeared about six articles down on the page, it was given proportionally the same amount of space as the leading article. Later in the day, however, another article was posted that gave more detail. Entitled, “Robber who crawled through window sought,” this article combined both the bare facts found in the original story with the descriptive details of the TV spot, adding a few more relevant details of the crime and the suspects appearance: “At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a baseball cap and a red bandana that covered his face.” The second article also incorporated quotes from authorities on the scene, including the investigating officer.

I was very disappointed at how irrelevant the TV’s version of the story was in comparison to the print and online versions of the Tribune Review. While the details given in the TV story were certainly more interesting, they did not give any useful information that would help readers recognize and identify the suspects.

Posted by JohannaDreyfuss at September 27, 2005 10:42 PM | TrackBack
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