Monday, March 16, 2009

"Examining shockingly deadly year for public schools"

Authors Carlos Sadovi and Angela Rozas open this article with an effective feature lead.  By setting the scene with a grim picture of the violence that the article discusses, a serious tone is developed for the entire story.  The story details an increase in the number of youths killed in the current school year.  The authors acknowledge that the numbers are skewed because the statistics only account for youths who are enrolled in public schools, so youths who had dropped out, were not enrolled, or died in the summer months are not included.  This information helps the reader to understand the facts better and not be mislead by statistics.  The authors quote both official and civilian sources, providing a nice balance.  The article shifts focus in the middle of the story.  While the first half deals with an individual case and tells the story of a particular youth who survived a violent act, the second half describes how gang culture is tied in with the problem.  I like how the authors told the story first and followed with the more fact based information.  The only major problem I had with this article is that the authors intentionally do not use the last name of the youth, but do choose to include the full name of his mother.  I am assuming they do not share a last name, but by including her full name it becomes easier to find out who the youth is through her.  I believe it is insensitive to the victim to have done this.   This was a well written article that provided good information as well as a good story.


  1. It seems like most scene-setter leads are saved for light-hearted feature pieces, but I love when a serious news story uses a creative lead. It's the difference between reading the first few paragraphs of a story and thinking "Yep, another death" and being late for class because the lead was so compelling you had to finish the whole story. Those are the kind of stories that move you and that you can't stop thinking about. While the inverted pyramid style is effective and sometimes necessary, I wish more stories in newspapers had a narrative feel to them; they are so much more interesting.


    We also do better when we remember that stories are about people.