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Babies and Sunshine

"He was incredibly loving. One girl described him as 'sunshine'."
--Sophie Elsworth, "Brisbane man James Nielsen dies as bus plunges over cliff"

"In the mishap, a three-month-old baby which was thrown inside a bush was miraculously found unhurt. The child is of Rajiya of Bolyaru."
--"Mangalore: 21 hurt as bus plunges into ditch"

I picked these two stories because they both had pictures that drew me in and want to read about them. I was almost afraid to click on the one with the baby, because I was scared it might describe the horrible death of an infant. But it actually was a bright spot in otherwise rather mundane story. They just listed the names and ages of the injured, and I can't imagine there'd be any reason anyone would read through all those names unless they though they might know someone who was in the accident. It was pretty miraculous that that baby survived the accident; it's sort of reminiscent of what Dr. Jerz said in his blog about cats surviving shipwrecks, although this is obviously a little bit more emotionally rewarding. It's interesting how they put the detail about the baby at the end of the story instead of following the inverted period format. Maybe they thought people would read through all the names just to find how the picture of the baby is relevant.

The story about James Nielsen was a much higher-quality bus plunge story. It was kind of a combination of a profile piece and bus plunge story. I really liked how they got into the details of his life and showed how these kinds of events really affect people. It told the story on a much more human level, which aside from the interesting detail about the baby was pretty bare-bones. Although the families of the other victims might wonder why the reporter didn't cover their loved ones with the same amount of detail, it was good that they put a face on the situation that kind of represents the larger tragedy of the accident. Of course, Elsworth seems to have had much more space and time to craft this story than whoever wrote the Mangalore story, so that's part of why it's a more interesting read. I still think the Mangalore story could have spent more time getting quotes from people who witnessed the accident or from the relieved parents.

Link to Newswriting class website

Comments (3)

Derek Tickle:

Ver nice comparison, Matt. I think that the baby story would catch a reader's attention much quicker than the story about James. Even though they both involve bus plunges, they have much more emotion connected to them. It is interesting that the baby story was a bus plunge article. I believe that it could have been much more involved and could have potentially included phone quotes.

Aja Hannah:

Wow, the bus plunges you picked seemed really out of the norm. They didn't follow the plot/outline of the two I picked and they had more rewards, fuller detail than expected of a filler.

Angela Palumbo:

I'd have to agree with Aja on this one. Mine were both pretty flat. I thought about picking the one with the photo of the baby but didn't because, as you said, I was afraid of what might happen to him/her. I must say that bus plunging scares the crap out of me. On our way to one of the colleges we play in West Virginia, our bus goes over a large gorge, the New River Gorge. It's beautiful but also hundreds of feet to the bottom. The bus driver would drive over the line so we could see down the gorge but I was always terrified that his hand would slip and down we'd go.

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