Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NYTimes vs. Wired

Shannon Maryman

Every year the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) acknowledges a distinguished writer for each writing style including large newspaper, small newspaper, magazine, television, in-depth reporting, radio, online, and children’s science news. Each style utilizes different approaches to communicate which has pros and cons in their specific medium.

I focused on the comparison of the magazine winner, Gary Wolf, and the large newspaper winner, Carl Zimmer.

Gary Wolf was acknowledged for “A Simple Plan to ID Every Creature on Earth” in Wired which discussed the work of Paul Hebert along with Dan Janzen on barcoding every species by analyzing the CO1 Mitochondrial Gene.

This lengthy piece of work included numerous pictures depicting researchers in the field which helped provide a visual connection with the story. Also, Wolf interwove Hebert’s past of how he got to where he is today along with the key intention of the story. Many quotes from various scientists were interjected in the piece which helped the reader to understand the viewpoint of barcoding and how it is not widely accepted.

For three articles in The New York Times, “Now: The Rest of the Genome,” “10 Genes, Furiously Evolving,” and “Blink Twice If You Like Me,” Carl Zimmer was also acknowledged. I focused on “Now: the Rest of the Genome” which discussed the misuse of the term gene and how it is not fully understood.

Above the article, a large picture of a scientist writing on a whiteboard draws the reader into the piece, but it is the only one included. Throughout the piece many terms are defined such as gene and RNA which draws away from the story. Also, the piece is divided into sections with each one starting with a bold title.

While this helps to keep the audience’s attention and for them to understand the important key points, it disrupts the flow of the story and becomes choppy.

I viewed both of these articles online which hindered my ability from seeing them in their natural medium.

When compared with one another my attention was maintained in the magazine article even though it was three pages longer than the newspaper piece because of the incorporation of pictures and the inclusion of story details that were not prevalent to the overall idea.

The newspaper piece can not incorporate as many pictures because of the competition it has with all the other articles. Also, there is not enough space in a daily paper to incorporate the minute details that Wolf displayed in Wired.

The New York Times circulates to a more expansive crowd than Wired so the inclusion of definitions and bolded titles help the general audience to understand the piece.

Both writers understand their audience and style of medium which has made them successful

Read More Wired: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/16-10/ff_barcode#ixzz0hhN6ZCjQ
Photo Wired: http://jenruby09.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/coverimage1_681x440-1.jpg
Read More NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/science/11gene.html?pagewanted=4&_r=1
Photo NYTimes: http://www.logicalscience.com/videos/index_files/NY%20Times%20Logo_250.jpg
Read More AAAS Winners: http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/sja/winners.shtml

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