What Works Assignment #7

For this week’s What Works assignment I decided to find an article from a more local newspaper. I looked throughout The Clarion-Ledger’s website and found a really interesting article titled “Flag, lottery amendments die again”. I chose this article because it was relevant to me as a college student at the University of Mississippi and because it talked about various news aspects involving legislature in Mississippi. What made me click on the article was obviously the headline because it was SEO friendly on a local scale. What I mean by this is that the article could be easily found by people in Mississippi who are concerned about the “flag” or the “lottery. The article was also an easy read with a short and concise lead that summed up the whole article. In this type of story, the traditional hard news lead was most effective because this story contained mostly hard news.  The directness of the lead also mimicked the directness of the legislative process regarding the state flag and the state lottery. Both bills were quickly shot down and, as the article put it, they were “killed”.

In my opinion, the writer didn’t do much to pull the reader in because there were all sorts of quotes and facts thrown in from the beginning. If I could’ve done the story, I would’ve began with the rulings and then back-tracked through the repetitive history of these bills and bills that were similar. The writer also put the nut graph as the third paragraph, which I thought would’ve been better situated a paragraph or two later because the article lacked credibility in the beginning. This story could’ve done a better job of pointing to the bigger issues regarding the state flag and the lottery by separating the two bills into two separate stories. I would’ve liked to have seen more background on the bills and some links to previous articles regarding the legislation.

As far as sources, the writer only interviewed one primary source and missed the opportunity to interview more interesting stories and provide more perspective on the impact of each bill. If I had written the story I would’ve spoke with legislators who were for and against each bill. I would’ve maybe interviewed someone who is in the Our State Flag Foundation or a bystander on the street in order to gage public opinion on these bills. The article, in my opinion, was well-written, but had few sources to provide it with any major credibility. However, I argue that there was so much information regarding each bill and their previous legislative history that there should’ve been separate articles.



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