Student’s Choice: Zika virus: its effects, how it is spread, and the possible threat to women

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/21/zika-virus-cdc-symptoms-mosquitos-united-states-pregnant-women-microcephaly

This article, published in early January by the Guardian provides a very direct, need-to-know approach for reporting on the Zika virus. The author structures the article in a question and answer style format that makes the article very straight forward and to the point. In my opinion, the author does well to create organization that makes the article easily comprehensible.  Do you think this is an effective way of reporting on news stories? While I believe there is something to be said for this directness, I also feel that it can create deficiencies in the human and personal element that makes for great news stories. In other words, the article does not feature any person or community’s personal story, it solely reports the facts. Do you think this is something that creates any deficits in this article? A few other observations I noticed when reading was the article is quite short and that the author does try to use some visual aids such as the picture at the beginning and the map. Do you think that the articles length strengthens or weakens the articles effectiveness at conveying the necessary information? Secondly, would you have liked to see more use of visual aids such as a video or additional graphs and pictures to supplement the articles short length?

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4 Responses to “Student’s Choice: Zika virus: its effects, how it is spread, and the possible threat to women”

  1. I think this was a very good choice for this unit for a few reasons. First off, I agree that this is a very direct explanation of the issue happening globally, and it is well organized in the piece. Additionally, I believe the piece is a good length because it covers a wide variety of topics concerning the virus in a concise and effective method.

    As for the problems with the piece, it could do with more visual materials to explain what we are reading, as it did with where it is occurring. Also, I think a quote from some of the experts in the field could have done the author a favor. It seems like they are pulling information out of thin air at some points.

    With that said, I really enjoyed the piece because it does not employ techniques of fear mongering, but rather gives the facts in a very fair and discernible way. Removing the human element of the story somewhat assists in keeping the fear out of it. Again, great choice.

  2. This article did a good job at presenting what the virus actually is. However, because of the lack of personal sentiment, I did feel that the article was not as “newsy” as it could have been. I felt like I was more so reading a piece from a scientific journal or website rather than an actual news article. If one clicks on a link near the end of the article (“Harris County Texas”), however, one will be led to a different piece of writing about the Zika virus that is more personal in my opinion. This article focuses on a Texan woman who became infected with the virus after her return from El Salvador. This story is a lot more intriguing to me because it has a personal story attached to it and still is able to include all of the relevant scientific and research material in it. I would recommend people read the first article for pure factual evidence and knowledge, but would direct readers to the second article if they wanted to read about a personal story and how the Zika virus can affect humans negatively, especially women. The second article also had more perspectives, which is something a piece of news really benefits from. I happened upon the second article because I was interested in what story it told about Texas, which quite literally hit close to home. With states in the U.S. being affected by Zika virus as well, it really caught my attention, and so I think it is important to think about the audience and why the story is relevant to them in the first place.

  3. I really liked this style! Any time you can chunk information into smaller, more easily processed bits, its a good thing. This works great for things that are purely informational, without many clashing opinions. Also, its good for quick updates and short articles. For example, a story on the Flint water crisis could have been like this. Presented to readers that know nothing on the topic and want to get updated quickly and efficiently. However, if that same reader wanted to know how it was impacting individuals in the area, they would have to look elsewhere for personal opinions and input. So this type of writing has its place in journalism, but anything in this format definitely would not be considered a work of art.

  4. This article was great for explaining the zika virus in simplified terms. The only issue that I had with the article is that it lacked getting attention of readers it was very stale and scientific and a normal reader would probably lose interest fast.

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