“Relief for a Parched Delta”

Good evening!

This article http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/science/earth/optimism-builds-for-effort-to-relieve-a-parched-delta-in-mexico.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=science explains a restoration project aimed at connecting the Colorado River to the ocean once again.  This article takes an optimistic approach to the project, something we’ve talked a bit about in class.  Do you think that the article is less interesting because of it’s optimism, than say, an article that poses a severe problem?  Do you think the article is memorable?  How does the author grab and engage the reader, if at all?


8 Responses to ““Relief for a Parched Delta””

  1. There are many things to take into consideration when talking about fundamentally changing an ecosystem which the re-inclusion of a large amount of water has the potential to do. The water will need to be used efficiently and effectively due to the drought that is felt throughout North America. Current agricultural irrigation practices are inefficient and can often use too much water. Also be wary of planting new vegetation without research. Certain plants can be invasive to an area and can end up doing more harm than good. Similarly, one must take into consideration the effect plants will have on the soil of the area and whether this will have implications to agriculture or existing ecosystems. Despite these vital considerations one will need to take into account, I think this project has potential. However environmental legislation has been insufficient in enacting change to the levels that most environmentalists would prefer, or consider optimal, and when it comes to bureaucracy, the devil is in the details, so it will be interesting to see what action is actually taken.

  2. I wouldn’t say that this article is less interesting because it’s optimistic. If anything, stories like these are necessary to prevent feelings of powerlessness in the face of economic development and environmental crisis. I understand that tragedy is a valuable thing for selling newspapers, but in the wake of so many tragedies in the US, I think that there is a need for optimistic journalism as well. The prospect of bringing back the “paraíso” to Germán Muñoz is something that triggers the emotion of the reader and their connection to nature. I think this article is very effective.

  3. I agree with Maura when she says the optimistic view of the article is not a downside of the article. I found the article to be very interesting and informative, and I appreciate the structure of the piece. However, on my opinion, they have an extensive description of the geography and landscape, and that can be somewhat boring. Since they interviewed a person who studies the area, Dr. Zamora, the author could have done a better job on integrating quotes that would help the flow on the second page.

  4. I think the article is not very engaging. It doesn’t highlight the severity of the problem enough and thus loses the audience with its hook. I also didn’t see too much of a news hook with this. I understand that there should be some positivity and the article should highlight progress, but if people aren’t engaged by the initial problem at hand, then it becomes rather mundane. Also, i agree with some of the comments above that the extensive description of the geography is a little unnecessary for a news feature.

  5. The article is a sort of mixed bag to me. I agree with Yash that it is not as engaging as it could be, and a lot of that is due to it’s light treatment of the issue. It seems to assume much about our familiarity with the ecosystems and water issues in the area. I would have appreciated more detail about the history of the issue (when was the first time the Colorado did not reach the sea?). I don’t think the positive tone overall hurts too much, except to the extent that it glosses over some things that require more attention.

  6. I would also agree that a more in depth history of the region would be helpful. I was especially intrigued by the idea of dolphins traveling miles up the river to catch their fish; this was a particularly effective scene used in the beginning of the article to capture the reader’s attention and I would have liked to read more about how those animals were affected by the water’s disappearance. For myself, this was the most engaging part of the article while the rest was mediocre.

    A more detailed map would have been helpful to more readily identify with the places that were mentioned in the article. Also, the journalist could have been more effective if he had considered delivering the various numbers as comparisons. For example, it’s difficult for me to imagine how large 40,000 acres of land (is there a state this can be compared to?) is or how much 35 billion gallons of water is. I appreciated the optimistic tone, as most environment stories are often ‘gloom and doom.’ It was still interesting at certain points because of the subject’s national and international implications.

  7. I would not say that it was the optimistic stance of the author that affected my reading of the article. Although, I do suppose you could say that the author’s optimism affected the way that she wrote the article. There is a way to give readers hope and show them that a good thing is happening, while still giving the gritty, bad details about the situation. I do not think the author made is evident enough that this was a huge, devastating issue. She passes by the description of the dried-up delta, and skips straight to the good news. A little more background and some horrifying quotes or verbal images would have made this much more moving.

    Another thing that bothered me were the quotes that came from her first interviewee. I am not sure if they are a typo, or if the bad grammar is the result of a small language barrier, but it makes the person she is interviewing seem unintelligent. It reminded me of the article from AnnArbor.com that Julie read in class last week. You should not embarrass your interviewee.

  8. I actually think this article does a good job of using optimism to grab the reader. Sometimes speaking aspirationally can be a good way to draw the reader in and make them think about what can be done. Presenting a story in a dark and ‘we’re doomed’ manor can leave the reader feeling hopeless.

    I also think that a more positive note can stick out to a reader in comparison to what they normally read.

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