Saturday, February 5, 2011

Case Study 5

    The two stories by The New York Times and USA Today display how drastically different two news organizations can present the same story. Although both newspapers presented factual information accurately and clearly, one is negative while the other is positive. This is because the reporters presented the information in different contexts and relied on different sources.
    In general, I think The Times did a better job at presenting the facts in an objective way. The writer did not speak to any human sources. Usually I think having human sources is essential, but in a story about a survey, sometimes it’s best to just stick to the facts. USA Today, however, uses several human sources. This doesn’t necessarily make the story any weaker or less objective, but the quotes can sometimes get in the way of the facts.
    Although it is significant that a majority of Afghans are confident about the direction of their country, I think it is even more significant that the number of people who believe this had decreased in the past two years when the story was written. This is the context that was made clear in the story in The New York Times, but USA Today only briefly mentioned it in the story. The Times centered the entire story on this very important detail, but USA Today only said: “Still, the optimists were down from 64% in a smaller Asia Foundation survey conducted in 2004.”
    No matter how many people are confident in the country, even if it is a majority, if this number is declining, it’s not a good sign. Focusing on only the current statistics displays the state of the country in a false light, perhaps in favor of the United States and the war effort in Afghanistan. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah ha - you hint a possible political bias vs. journalistic objectivity here.
    I would argue, too, that the NYT story is better because it has more heft and depth. I call this Journalism of Discernment.