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Current Event: Local News & The Setonian...

For this particular exercise I chose a story from my own home-grown newspaper The Daily Times, which is located in Salisbury, Maryland. I first searched for a story on the newspaper's local news webpage. The actual article that I chose to analyze was entitled Oystering: A hard life in hard times and it dealt with issues facing local waterman as skipjack restrictions and efforts for bay restoration went into effect. Issues surrounding the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland affect me greatly because I was born and raised in Ocean City [one the beach] and my grandfather was very active in marine life.

This particular article really hits home because it deals with real people and the problems they are having as they try to sustain their livelihoods as waterman during a difficult time for the industry. I thought that this article was relevant to our focus on community journalism because it is in fact centered on a community: the fishing/watermen community of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The topic of the article directly affects this small community of people and may not be seen as newsworthy to someone outside of that area. People in Greensburg aren’t living on a coast line, and for that reason they might not care about this news. Also the people that don’t work as waterman may not care.

This article also relates to local and community news because it brings a very human oriented perspective to the subject matter. There is a specific focus on the watermen’s days off as well as how they judge when to go out on the water. Several skipjack captains are quoted on their life as waterman and the difficult times they have seen over the span of their careers. I did find one particular quote in this article rather unsettling, but then again I suppose these watermen may be from a different generation where it was ok to say things like:

"We're worse than women," Delmas Benton said. "We talk about everything."

Along with the watermen's issues the article also discussed the pollution and toxin related problems facing the Chesapeake Bay. One quote that really stuck out to me about this article was one regarding the nature of becoming a skipjack captain. It is a tradition and like most things in a small town or community it is something to be proud of.

"If you're a skipjack (captain), it's because your father was one and his father was one," Walt Benton said.

Well now that I have summarized why this article is a local news article with a focus on community journalism I must talk about the Setonian. The student paper can definitely benefit from this articles use of the human interest angle. The article examines struggle, factual conditions adding to the struggle and a possible solution. I think a lot of the time the Setonian tends to have editorials that rant about a problem rather than suggesting a solution. Clearly these watermen have problems, but they are not opposed to the moratorium idea, and they remain optimistic about the conditions. If we are in fact trying to take more stories into the community of Greensburg it may be a good idea to look into where the city's economic staple lies.

If we are in fact trying to take more stories into the community of Greensburg it may be a good idea to look into where the city's economic staple lies and examine what has affected it over the years. Money is something that everyone needs and when the economy is down a lot of people suffer. We could also tie something in here with the paper about students working as waitresses or other gratuity dependent jobs and how it effects they ability to go to school [if that is not overstepping any boundaries].

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 3, 2008 9:50 AM.

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