Ming Fearon & Jacqueline Wang
This week we decided to examine several news sources in order to see how they report on a single story. After first scanning the CNN.com website, we noticed that a particularly riveting story had to do with the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections that occurred early on Thursday morning. The nation-wide election doesn’t occur until the weekend, but the polls were opened a few days early to soldiers, police officers, and security officers so that they could be available to monitor the subsequent public elections. It is interesting because this election is especially important for Iraqi since it will determine who will fill 325 seats in the Council of Representatives and select Iraq’s next government. According to Ad Melkert, the head of the U.N. mission in Iraq,
“The conduct and outcome of the election will be the most decisive moment for Iraqis' future since 2003.” The year refers to when Saddam Hussein, who was the president of Iraq for 24 years until that point, was taken out of office.
Next, we looked at the same story on the nytimes.com website and also tried to find reports of it on Hong Kong news sites. However, we were limited to English newspapers and therefore could only look at the Standard and the South China Morning Post. We were limited in our online viewing capabilities of SCMP and could only see the title of the article and the first line of the article. Meanwhile, the Standard didn’t report on the story.
After reading the two American news sources, we noticed pretty different styles of reporting. The CNN article was more fact-based and straightforward. The Times incorporated more human-interest elements by using quotes from police officers who had survived the suicide attacks at the polls. The CNN article used more numbers and facts in the article and was therefore able to present the logistics of the situation more clearly; however, the Times article painted more of a picture of the situation by using first-hand reports from eyewitnesses of the situation, as well as describing the situation of the actual victims and bystanders in more detail. After reading both articles, we felt more clearly informed by the CNN article, but we felt more of a human connection to the situation after reading the Times article. For instance, Ibrahim Said, a police officer, was quoted saying of his friends, “They promised each other to dance in front of every one of the polling stations” after surviving the attacks on the city’s hospital. However, CNN chose to elaborate on details such as international borders and airports being shut down and early morning curfews for cities being implemented.
What little comments we can make on the Hong Kong newspapers have more to do with language than with content, since we were unable to access the full article in the SCMP. First and foremost, the title of the article (“Suicide Blasts Kill 33 Ahead of Iraq Polls”) is a bit confusing because the word “ahead” doesn’t quite make sense to us in the context of the sentence. In the first sentence of the article, the reporter describes the suicide bomber as “blowing himself up,” which is we thought was an unnecessarily melodramatic way to describe what happened, and we think could have been worded better. Of course, we’re obviously sensitive to the language because we’re native English speakers, but we think it’s important to use appropriate words, especially when reporting on unstable situations.
“Bombs mar early voting in Iraq”. CNN.com. 4 Mar 2010. <http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/03/04/iraq.elections.voting/index.html?hpt=T1>.
Myers, S. L., Santora, M. “Deadly Attacks Mar First Day of Voting in Iraqi Elections”. 4 Mar 2010. The New York Times. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/world/middleeast/05iraq.html?hp>.
“Suicide blasts kill 33 ahead of Iraq polls”. 4 Mar 2010. <http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2c913216495213d5df646910cba0a0a0/?vgnextoid=a673d1acad727210VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=teaser&ss=Asia+%26+World&s=News>.