What Works : Meredith statue incident ‘life-changing’ for witness

This headline really caught my attention while scrolling though news on the Daily Mississippian.  The story about the vandalism is obviously a hot topic at the university right now.  Yet, I have only heard about the story from students perspectives and of course from the university itself.  It seemed very interesting to see how the man who made the discovery felt.

This story illustrates many news values.  Firstly, it has impact.  Race has been a huge issue at Ole Miss for quite some time and people always jump all over the school when a story like this surfaces.  Secondly, it also has proximity, since we’re in Oxford, Mississippi.  It also has timeliness since the first incident occurred on Sunday.  Finally, it shows oddity since it was such a strange, shocking event.

This piece uses a narrative lead.  Since it is a more emotional story, the author used a softer approach.  It has to do with Mr. McMillian’s feelings about the vandalism, so the author starts the story by talking about how the witness’ day started.

The seventh paragraph down is the nutgraph of the story.  Although the paragraphs above tell of what actually happen, these are not the main idea of the story.  The point of this story is to tell the reader about the witness’ feelings.  This seventh paragraph is a quote from the witness about his emotions.  It is in this paragraph that he describes how although he had been prejudiced  growing up and for the majority of his life, he was sickened that someone could do something like this.  This paragraph is what really conveys his emotions and thoughts.

This story provides a huge amount of detail about both the incident and emotions that go along with it.  The first half of the story provides a complete eye witness account about what happened that Sunday morning.  The witness gives great detail and describes the sights and sounds he experienced.  The witness also provides detail about the general consensus of emotions that have risen from this.  The story uses emotionally charged quotes from the witness to show disgust.  “Seeing that sent chills down my back,” he said. “I’m a 64-year-old white man that grew up in rural, backwoods Mississippi. I’ve always been a little prejudiced at times, but this changed my life.  This was a quote that was really striking, as it spoke about a life changing event for this older man.

This story only used two sources, the eye witness and a police chief, who provided little information.  The police chief’s quotes were not really relevant, as this was an emotional piece but the witness’ were what certainly charged the story.

There was no multi media in this story.  I think a video would have been really nice.  I think it would have been very emotional and make the story even more effective.

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