Cyber Tydings


September 2015

Hard News Analysis with Audio

This week, the news was riddled with stories about religious events. The head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, made his first visit to the US. Many Catholics received him joyously. On the other hand, it was a sad day for the families of many Muslims making the pilgrimage to Mecca as 717 people were killed in a stampede. Each article takes a very different tone, one cheerful and one somber, to suit the events that are being covered. The article about the pope is in an audio format, which can  be an effective method for hard news reporting. The Hajj/ Mecca stampede article is in a more traditional format, utilizing images and text.

The article about the Pope puts a political spin on the event, discussing the Pope’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress. The audio format is suited to this article because it includes clips of the Pope speaking interspersed with a reporting talking about the event. Although audio-only news stories can become tedious for some listeners, this article was brief enough that I believe it could hold a listener’s attention. This article did not have the audio start immediately unless the listener clicked on the audio player, which is a good thing because when articles automatically start the audio it can be a disruption.

The Mecca article uses a slide show of images in the beginning but no audio. In some ways, audio free news articles are better for readers because many readers want to learn the news at work or school and audio would not be appropriate for that environment without headphones. The reporting was relatively straightforward, although it was attempting to understand why the stampede happened.

It appears that audio can be helpful in adding another dimension to a news story, but it is not the preferred mode for some news consumers because when it is not accompanied by other media, it can be difficult to follow along.


College Students Weigh In on GOP Debate

BLOOMSBURG- On Tuesday, Bloomsburg University students tuned in to CNN on laptops, TVs and phones to watch the Republican debate between 11 of the leading Republican candidates. A moderator conducted the debate, asking the candidates questions about policy and relaying questions from viewers via social media.

Conservative junior and history major, Danny Dugan, said he “likes the fact that something new is coming for this fine country,” citing that the top three Republicans are not politicians. Other students indicated that they feel the same way. Freshman Nick McGuire says he supports  Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina for exactly that reason. Many students feel as though Fiorina was the strongest candidate in the debate.

Non-conservative students also watched the debate, although reactions were much different. Gabby Santana, a junior communications major from New Jersey, said she could not believe the statements that were made on national television. Many viewers had issues with perceived anti-Muslim comments and a disregard for environmental reform that some debaters exhibited. Some students argued that the debates were more of a means for the network to boost ratings than a true political show-down.

Even those who did not flip the channel to CNN Tuesday night feel they are privy to what is happening in politics via social media. Self-described “liberal, hippy, free, non-political” education major Val DeStefano says she stays informed via Facebook and Buzzfeed. She does not support GOP ideals and hopes the Trump does not win the election. Bloomsburg junior, Dom Ferraro, an English major, is of a similar mind, although he is politically conservative, saying “[Trump] is an ass-hat.”

Other Resources:


2016 Republican Polls

Val in the library
Liberal Val DeStefano discusses her views on the debate
3 students watch debate on laptop
Bloomsburg students react to GOP debate on Tuesday

Hard News Analysis

Originally, I intended to do a hard news story about college athletics, but upon researching and comparing two hard news stories, I may have revised my decision. It seems sports stories are more suited to feature stories.

The timeliness of “Fun and Games,” a story about a recent match between Serena and Venus Williams’ makes it a hard news story. The author, Joe Posnanski, begins with details about the score of the match and how each sister played. It goes on to explain the sisters’ backgrounds in tennis and has elements of a feature story in the less direct, slightly narrative style of writing. Additionally, the length of the article made it more like a feature story than a true hard news story. Yet, as it is directly relevant to a recent event, it could not be published at any time like a regular feature story.  Although the author did not seem completely unbiased (touting the Williams’ sisters as the greatest tennis players of all time) each claim was supported with a result from a tennis match or a relevant fact.

I would not cite this article as the best example of hard news reporting or writing, because it borders on a feature story. In some cases, sports stories can be breaking news and even hard news, ut in order for this to be true, they usually contain facets besides the sports themselves. For instance, when a professional athlete committing a crime could be considered hard news. Stories that detail what happened primarily on the court, field or track, are for entertainment and less suitable for hard news reporting.

On the other hand, the article “U.S. troops arrive in Sinai to boost security,” by Barbara Starr, exemplifies a traditional hard news story.  It is concise and direct, explaining only the integral facts related to US troops occupation of Sinai. Starr employs direct quotations sparingly and addresses the main points of the story (when, what, where and why) in the first sentences and elaborates from there. This follows the typical inverted pyramid structure of hard news stories. Although the writing was dry and straightforward, it was appropriate for the type of information that was being recorded.

In my own news story, I will choose a specific, timely and unusual event to report on. It needs to be an occurrence that impacts many people in Bloomsburg. I prefer the style of “U.S. troops arrive in Sinai to boost security” for a hard news story. Concise and direct reporting seems to be the most important features of hard news writing.

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