“New HIV cases in Washtenaw County hit 15-year high”

As a whole, I thought the story incorporated a lot of information without being too stuffed full of numbers. The section headers helped separate the many facets of the story, and allowed the writer to go more in depth with each one since the angle of the story was clear. The pull quotes and photos added an additional visual element.

However, the first thing that stood out to me was the past tense wording of the first few sentences of the intro. The statistics are from 2013, and the story was written in July 2014. This begs the question– why is this being written now? The current angle is not readily apparent to the reader in the first section; the article refers to the results from the 2013 survey as “new cases,” but this hardly seems like a timely response to the release of the epidemiological study. In the next section about testing, there is mention of the upcoming HIV testing day and a segue into what local groups and organizations are doing to promote the testing services that will be available that day. To me, this would make more sense as the focal point of the story, with the statistics from the study as additional information later on in the story.

Another thing I felt was missing was the perspective of someone affected by HIV or AIDS. This is, after all, a story about them. There are many claims and observations made about the demographic and behaviors of HIV affected individuals in Washtenaw county, however it doesn’t  appear that the author did any interviewing of someone who can confirm that, or at least offer their own narrative. This would also help ‘humanize’ the issue and put a face to it for readers. The article mentions several reasons for the decline in public concern about HIV/AIDS, and efforts to promote awareness and prevention education would be greatly improved if readers were more engaged and connected to a character in the story, rather than more numbers.

What did you think about the angle/coverage of the issue? What aspects can be altered or developed to better accomplish this?

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One Response to ““New HIV cases in Washtenaw County hit 15-year high””

  1. I thought that the article was very well written and presented many facets of the issue clearly and concisely. I do think, however, that it could have had a little more focus on a newsier aspect like you mentioned. I think that the story could have been more about why it’s so high now (or at the time it was written) or what measures are being taken to address this. A lot of it seems to be focused on raising awareness to get tested, and it would be interesting to hear other initiatives going on around the area to address this.

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