Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chicago Cubs win 11-6 as offense comes alive,0,2988538.story

This story was kind of a hybrid story, in a way. It really covers three topics all in one story.

The first topic covered was Kosuke Fukudome, the Cubs outfielder who became a platoon player this year. The article mentions how Fukudome has accepted his new role as a back-up, and also played his best game as a Cub with four hits, four runs, and a Home Run. Along with this, the nut graph also mentions the final score of the game, 11-6.

The article then moves on to the actual game itself, briefly mentioning Mike Fontenot and Aramis Ramirez, as well as Fukudome, and tells how the Cubs jumped out to a big early lead in the game. Here, there is a nice transition to the next topic of the article. The writer talks about how the team probably thought that they were in line for an easy victory, but that because of Ted Lilly's poor pitching, that wasn't the case.

After the transition, the article moves on to the poor peformance of Lilly. It does a good job of explaining why this is significant: because it is a trend that has continued from spring training, not just a bad day.

This article, contrary to many of the previous ones, doesn't use many quotes to tell the story. The reason for this is that most of the information is factual public knowledge. All of the stats, scores, and players are known. They aren't opinions or things that need to be confirmed by a reliable source or attributed to somebody. Therefore, the article is able to be written without many quotes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mike MacDougal impressing White Sox coaches,0,6651533.story

The title of this story is a little misleading. The article is actually just a few small tidbit stories, instead of one story about Mike MacDougal. However, there was no way to tell this from the title.

Other than the title, the stories were pretty informative. They were short, but to the point, and gave the reader the important information that a casual reader would want.

The first small story about Mike MacDougal does a good job of explaining how MacDougal is impressing the coaches (as the headline implies) and why he is forcing the coaches into the difficult decision of whether or not he should make the team. It does a good job of mentioning the team's different options, and then gives the information for the reader to draw their own conclusions about the situation.

The second story is about the Danks brothers and them playing together in the same game for the first time since High School. However, there isn't anything to this story. Its interesting, as this isn't something that doesn't happen very often, but nothing of significance will come from this. It may be worth mentioning, but not at this point. It may have been worth a mention at the very end.

The last story is about the White Sox cutting down their rosters to 25 guys. The article doesn't mention why 25 is a significant number though, so a reader who doesn't know would not understand the importance of these decisions. It does, however, name the players that are in danger of being cut, as well as some other guys who are pretty secure in not being cut.

Overall, the story accomplishes the goals of giving the reader information in a quick and easy to read format that doesn't require much time to read. The reader can get the important info from the stories and move on. However, a reader looking for more information on some of these topics would most likely be disappointed and may have to go to another news source for what they want.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Slow-starting Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee searches for hitting stroke,0,7536921.story

When I first read this story, the very first thing that jumped out at me was the number of quotes involved. The writer did an amazing story of basically letting the story tell itself through the quotes of the player and coach themselves. The writer could have easily written these same things himself, but its much more believable and a better read to hear it from an authoritative source.

The writer also did a good job of setting up these quotes with facts and statistics, lending the quotes more credibility and giving the reader some context for what is being talked about.

One thing the article doesn't do is analyze the situation at all. It talks about the fact that Derrek Lee hasn't hit well this spring after an equally bad second half last year, but it doesn't talk at all about reasons for this. They don't have any sort of quote from Derrek Lee, Lou Piniella, or any other coach as to why he may be struggling right now. That might have been something that could have added a lot to the article. Maybe they could have mentioned something that changed in his swing, but that he is working on fixing in spring. This would be the "Why?" of the article, but isn't discussed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No doubt about it: White Sox's Gordon Beckham a big-time talent,0,2643671.story

This article is about White Sox prospect Gordon Beckham's play thus far in Spring Training and the possibility of him making the team. It starts out with by setting up the context for a very good quote:

"If there is one telling statement about the influence Gordon Beckham has had during his first spring training, it came Sunday from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen:

'It seems like he belongs in the big leagues.'"

This intro does a good job of telling you that the story is going to be about as well as letting the sources tell the story. The writer can tell us all he wants about Beckham and what he has been doing, but we have no reason to believe him without evidence. The quote from Ozzie Guillen is a very good one that reinforces the main point of the article. It is also set up on the page well: it is a semi-shocking quote, and the way that it is set off from the rest of the text in its own paragraph helps to highlight it and make it stick out to someone who may just be scanning the article.

The nut graph is two paragraphs long. The first plays off of Guillen's quote, while the second uses statistics to further back up the main idea. The article then uses mostly quotes to tell the rest of the story. Only small paragraphs are used to set up or wrap up quotes, with large portions in between of quoted material from relevant sources. They use excellent material taken from Gordon Beckham himself as well as coaches Ozzie Guillen and Greg Walker. Since those two will have a large part in the decision of whether or not Beckham makes the team, it is important for the article to show their opinions to support its claims. For example, the pitching coach could have an excellent opinion of him, but a quote from him would be almost meaningless because he isn't really relevant to the decision.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2

In reading some more of the feature articles from Cubs' and White Sox' spring training the last few days, I have noticed one thing in all of the articles: they do a great job of using quotes. Most of the articles start off with one or two short paragraphs that tell you what the main point of the article is, and then pretty much can tell the entire story just with quotes. Its obviously much easier as they are getting these quotes from athletes who do interviews almost every day, but they still do a great job of getting the quotes they need and using them effectively to tell the story.

This is especially evident in a certain kind of article that they use. This article covers 3 or 4 stories in each posting, with each story only one or two paragraphs long. These especially show their good use of quotes, as each mini-story is made up either mostly or sometimes entirely of one or two quotes.

In the next post, I'll cover some more of the "hard news" stories, the coverage of the actual games and news stories instead of feature-type stories.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 25

I am covering the Major League Baseball beat in the Chicago Tribune. I have been reading the stories over the last few days, and have really enjoyed them. The writing is very good and engaging, and keeps me reading the story until the end. They are also very informative and have lots of good information. The Tribune also does a very good job of covering the major story lines for each team. With Spring Training just beginning, there is lots going on with each team, and there has been good coverage of these events so far.

With two professional baseball teams in Chicago, the baseball coverage must be split. Recently, the stories on the White Sox seem to be more in depth and more informative. However, it is probably too early to call this a bias. It more than likely is just a simple fact that there is more going on with the White Sox than the Cubs at this point in time. It is something to keep an eye on though should the trend continue.