Sunday, February 6, 2011

Case Study 5: Afghan

Both Afghan poll stories had their pros and cons as they where written from different points of view and presented the facts on different platforms. These differences made deciphering between the two difficult, and compiling them even more of a challenge. 

USA Today portrayed the facts in a blatant manner, while getting some input from credible sources on the results of the survey. The story also sides with the Afghan people saying that they are “optimistic about the future, satisfied with their young democracy and rank security low on their list of every day concerns.” The story also established the survey’s credibility in the three paragraphs after the first one.

The Times’ story lacked outside sources but took the data and presented it in a way that was easier for readers to understand. The story is written with what I’ll call “an American point of view” because we so often hear and read about the negative aspects of Afghanistan, and this story is no different. The story states that “Afghans have lost a considerable amount of confidence” and notes the number of people with negative or mixed views on the country’s future has grown since a 2004 survey. The story also established the survey’s credibility after the most important results are presented.

Overall, this exercise shows how easy it is for two different organizations to report a survey. I appreciated the Times’ method of breaking down the results and when it chose to establish the credibility, but I would have preferred it paired with USA Today’s point of view and use of outside voices.

1 comment:

  1. While a bit sourceless, I would argue the NYT story is better because it has more heft and depth. I call this Journalism of Discernment.