Friday, February 27, 2009

"Chicago schools moving ahead with closings"

This article follows up on the article discussed in my first post.  In this article, also written by Carlos Sadovi, the results and effects of the Chicago Board of Education vote are discussed.  Using an effective summary lead, Sadovi answers the important questions.  Although the lead is a bit long, it incorporates all the necessary points of the story in an easy to read manner.  
The greatest strength of this article is its balance.  Sadovi incorporates the viewpoints of local residents who are losing their schools, as well as Board of Education officials who voted for the 16 schools to be shutdown in the fall.  The quotations he uses are incorporated seamlessly and useful and appropriate information to the story.  
The article concludes in a way that leaves the reader a bit confused about what will happen next.  It does this by saying that the Chicago Teacher's Union President asked the Board of Education to delay the vote, but it does not include a response, or an estimate of when a response may be made.  Otherwise, I found this to be a well written and timely piece of journalism.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Schools hope for best, prepare for the worst"

Tara Malone and Jo Napolitano coauthored this article concerning how the as much as $3 billion dollars in stimulus funding could effect Illinois public schools.  The article's lead is a bit of a combination of both summary and feature styles.  It begins in summary form, answering the 5 W's, but ends with a humorous simile.  Normally I'm in favor of trying to make the news more fun, but from what I've learned in journalism 200 so far, it shouldn't be.  The end of the lead is misleading because it conveys a lighter tone that the story really conveys.  
The authors did a great job of finding quality sources for this story.  Many of the quotations come directly from high ranking officials and experts.  This article also demonstrates great depth, with information on many different school district's and how each plans on using the stimulus funds they hope to receive.  
There are no signs of the authors' biases in this article, as they did an excellent job of reporting facts and attributing information to sources. 
The main focus of the article is on how different school districts are going to use the money they receive from the economic stimulus.  Since they do not yet know how much they will receive, many school districts are being very cautious.  The authors deliver the main points of the article in a clear and easy to read manner.  I especially like the quotations used in this article, they flow nicely with the story and contribute instead of simply repeat points.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Group calls for delay in plans to close city schools"

This article, written by Chicago Tribune reporter Carlos Sadovi, covers how two studies have produced new information concerning the effects of closing city schools.  Sadovi uses an effective summary lead that fits the story well.  He provides ample background information, and does a great job of integrating it with new developments in the story, making it easy to read and follow.  The story doesn't contain any quotations, but is heavily based in facts, statistics, and the results of the studies.  An interview with one of the researchers of the studies would add some depth to the story, but I don't believe its necessary for a story of this length.  A longer piece would benefit from more sources.  Overall, I found this news item to be well done.