Friday, November 26, 2010

Appearances and Opinions

Two reporters. Two water stories. Same newspaper. Much different writing styles.

And the result?

On Thanksgiving, the Los Angeles Times published a story about the proposed canal or tunnel around the Sacramento Delta. In this story, the reporter draws focus on the state and federal pumps as the main reason for negative impacts on Delta wildlife, although recent science is indicating that ammonium from agriculture runoff is perhaps having a bigger impact. The reporter acknowledges there are other "players" causing problems, the reporter chooses to paint the pumps as "the most conspicuous villains."

Conspicuous villains?

The next day, the LA Times publishes a story about another water CA water canal. Although the focus of this story is safety, the tone of describing this water system is much different. The reporter describes this water system as "an engineering, hydrological and agricultural wonder." Yet, anyone who has involved in water issues will tell you that this canal also has its environmental baggage, particularly being another "straw" that takes water out of the Colorado River and leads to downstream environmental issues in Mexico.

Engineering wonder?

Two different reporters. Same topic. Same newspaper. Vastly different writing approaches.

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