Explaining the Effects of Water to the General Audience

I found two articles particularly interesting: “Flood Task Force Assembled to Prepare for Spring Thaw” by Gambla and “Great Lakes Ports and Shipping Companies Confounded by Climate Changes and Water Levels” by Schneider. They both explain how the changes in water can affect our environment. However, Gambla’s article is much shorter and is to the point. On the other side, Schneider makes sure to provide detailed information regarding how and why the water can affect the environment, economy, etc. 

We talked a lot in class about the values of simplifying complex concepts. Do you think that the two authors were successful in clearly explaining to the audience? Also, how would you improve these articles?

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2 Responses to “Explaining the Effects of Water to the General Audience”

  1. Allison,

    The ability to simplify information is definitely a valuable skill for a reporter to have, but there is a line between simplicity and underreporting. The first article by Gambla was much too short for such an important topic, and extended very minimal information. The author really only touched on flooding when, as we saw in the Schneider article, there are so many more areas of concern when it comes to changes in water level. Also, it ended with the curious sentence, “9&10’s Alyssa Gambla and Erin Malone learned more about the Flood Task Force and what they are worried about for the Spring thaw,” which didn’t really seem to have anything to do with anything.

    I enjoyed the Schneider article because of its thoroughness of detail while still maintaining a readable length. This author covered all the thinkable bases of water level changes, although I personally think he could have tied together all the pieces a little better at the end.

    Thanks for these articles!

    Miriam

  2. I definitely think there are benefits from each type of article.

    I think the Gambla piece is much more approachable for a local audience as an interest piece that they can maybe share on Facebook about a passing concern. I know many people are of the opinion that this type of reporting is “dangerous” and doesn’t give enough weight to an important issue. This is true to an extent, especially because the author is not tying it back to the main issue of climate change, but this might be to keep the focus important-based instead of “political.”

    The merit of the Schneider article is that it addresses the issue of “mathematics of waterborne transport” and how this is changing, but also immediately attributes this to the real issue of climate change. What is intriguing about this article is that it begins with an interesting phenomenon that most people don’t know about and ties it to a bigger issue like climate change.

    I feel like this is key to engaging readers in an issue so constantly discussed as climate change. And many people may also gloss over an article that is just focused on digging out channels, so it requires the combination to become truly interesting and impactful.

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