Tag Archives: Brittany Fox

Seldes, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story”

In his article, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story” from In Fact, January 13, 1941, George Seldes maintains a constant tone of objectivity and credibility by providing the reader with a series of linked statistics having to do with the effects of tobacco use. He sets the reader up with a method that is relatively straight forwards, citing the origin of facts and statistics as the biology department at Johns Hopkins University. The lede that Seldes uses is not stylized narrative or a creative approach typically used to entice the reader into reading the rest of the article, but rather confronts the reader with cold hard facts right from the start, conveying a message of seriousness about the implications the information he is sharing.
By displaying a series of charts and quantitative information about excess death rates, the difference in percentages when comparing alcohol and tobacco, as well as other scientific evidence, Seldes is able to maintain a degree of ultimate honesty in his writing. The fact that he incorporates so many tables and numerical comparisons allows for the readers to draw their own conclusions based upon the seemingly unbiased information in front of them. By basing his article strictly on the different statistics and facts, Seldes is able to accomplish independence of mind. He doesn’t use a lot of excess language to fluff up the information he is displaying in an attempt to represent his viewpoint in a particular setting or light, but rather allows for the recorded data to stand on its own. In turn, this lack of linguistic fluff is what makes this article an effect tool for reporting the news of the suppressed tobacco story.

Wells, “Lynching of Innocent Men”

In the beginning of her article from A Red Record, “Lynching of Innocent Men (Lynched on Account of Relationship),” Ida B. Wells sets the stage for her argument through the use of opening with a strong, perhaps confrontational lede: “If no other reason appealed to the sober sense of the American people to check the growth of Lynch Law, the absolute unreliability and recklessness of the mob in inflicting punishment for crimes done, should do so.” After reading this, I found myself wondering “Why?” Wells was able to convey a sense of certainty and confidence in her opening lede, which in turn made me want to know more about why she felt this way. Her lede is effective in setting up the dialogue format of writing a news story right from the beginning, thus organizing the rest of the article to as to explain the reasoning behind understanding the opening statement.
Wells continues to build on her lede through citing specific instances and situations in which innocent men have been lynched due to their relationships with other people. She includes quotations from a New Orleans newspaper in her descriptions of the various events. By intertwining these dispatch excerpts into her article, Wells is providing her readership with detailed accounts of the circumstances surrounding the lynching relevant to the time period in which they occurred. The quotations are used effectively, providing additional historical support, and making the information seem more accurate and justifiable to the reader.
Wells delivers the information with precise, clean-cut details describing the happenings of each individual lynching. She is able to create a tone of seriousness and distaste in her straightforward descriptions. It is in the plainness and lack of embellishment that Wells is able to convey the unsettling quality of the unjustly events that she cites in writing her article and supporting the argument she sets up with the initial lede.