Tag Archives: Kat Allen

Kat Allen 9/14/11 – The Fine Line of Undercover Journalism

While reading through Kovach and Knight’s recent chapters assigned to the class I was wondering what I was going to post for this assignment and which articles would be presented to us in Shapiro.  The one article I found the most interesting and emotion rendering to the reader was Stetson Kennedy’s The Klan Unmasked.

The article begins with a direct quote (which we were taught are sometimes good lede’s if used properly).  But it does not give us any indication as to who is who or where is where, which makes you want to figure out why this article is using the “I.”  We soon realize that Stetson is actually undercover in the Klan and is essentially recording everything they say and do, which is very dangerous.  Even at first glance, perhaps the reader may think Stetson has some sort of ties to the Klan or used to be in the Klan and it reporting on those past experiences.  This would bring up some of the subjects discussed in Chapter 4 and 5 in Kovach’s book The Elements of Journalism, which discuss bias and truthfulness in reporting.  I believe that Stetson reported the truth of the Klan and kept most of his own biases at bay. His undercover reporting led to a murder and luckily his wasn’t found out by the Klan because it could have ended indefinitely in two.

Kat Allen 9/5/11 – Guilty is Always the Verdict

When reading through all of Ida B. Wells articles about lynching I was shocked and it made me upset to think how many men died due to the insanity and brutality of ruthless mobs.  At first I thought to write about the article Nellie Bly had written about going undercover in an insane asylum because of the detail and characters mentioned, which gave the story so much life, but I read on, only to discover more despair in the lynchings.

Ida B. Wells articles not only told the story chronologically, but also gave the reader insight into both sides; in this case the mobs and the accused.  These articles could have been done in such a way that the reader would have become bored or thought perhaps that the writer was biased, but Ida B. Wells did not do this.  She told the stories based off of the facts that were recorded through these processes and turned the story into something that people cannot put down.  I was expecting a lot of biased comments that would make me hate the mobs that killed these men, but I found myself making my own judgements based off of the facts given in these cases.  In this case, I hated the mobs.

The details in which she described the killings were very in depth, but I think that gave the story a “oh my god” factor and made the reader feel disgusted and mortified that these things could be happening to them or their neighbors.  Ida B. Wells in fact made those dishonors towards those men into reality for the world to see what is truly going on.

By: Kat Allen ’12

Kat Allen 8/31 – Do Numbers Make the Best Lede’s?

San Francisco school officials have some explaining – and complying – to do. Last year, the district failed to follow the strict rules attached to a $56 million, three-year federal grant to improve student performance at 10 of its lowest-performing schools. The schools could lose the second installment – about $18 million – if they don’t make adjustments.   Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/30/BAT11KTPED.DTL#ixzz1WeQbw3Di

As a reader of the News online I wanted to find an article that not only caught my eye, but also made me wonder “what the heck happened?”  So I searched the newspapers in California hoping to find something that would intrigue me.  In Robert M. Knight’s book Journalistic Writing he teaches us to focus on lede’s (the first lines) and how they should draw you in as a reader and therefore keep you reading.  So I focused in on the first lines of stories hoping something would make me want to read on instead of move on.

This particular article I found at the SFGate.com (seen above) which caught my attention immediately due to the lede written.  I was a student in California and I had immediately been intrigued by the statement that the school officials had some explaining to do.  I liked that this article did not mention in the first line why they had some explaining to do.  If they had mentioned it then I would have the entire story and not be interested in reading the rest.  I guess that is the whole point of a lede; to make a reader read on.  This article was quite long, but I read through due to the information and outrageous numbers that were precisely placed in the story to keep me reading to find out more.  A chart was even included to show which schools were doing which of the 4 Reforms given to them so that they can stay funded.  This visual was great because it simplified the information into chart form instead of putting it into words; and perhaps if it had been done that way the readers would have become bored and stopped reading.

Sometimes the numbers can be a little daunting or boring to most, but when they are about children’s schools and people losing their jobs because of overall bad decisions people can’t help but be interested in this story.  A successful lede leads to a successful story in this case.