Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

Three media outlets, three views of the Boston Marathon bombers

rollingstone nyttsarnaevHere we go.

Students in my classes did their midterms looking ahead to the Boston Marathon, profiling runners who hope to complete their 26.2 in 2014. Many had stories of their 2013 experiences, when the Marathon was shut down after two bombs exploded in the crowds at the finish line, killing three and wounding nearly 300.

For the final, students will be covering the Marathon, taking into account the increased security around the event and interviewing spectators at various points along the route, creating a longform multi-media package for their blogs. Part of that project is examining last year’s coverage, which will start next week.

Reading assignments:

All three of the stories examine the Tsarnaev family — brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were the subject of a manhunt in the aftermath of the bombing. Tamerlan is now dead; Dzhokhar is awaiting trial. I recommend not reading them back-to-back since they do cover the same material and they’re all fairly lengthy. The Globe story even has chapters!

Bonus story, which was in response to the controversial Rolling Stone cover: “Behind the Scenes of the Hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev” from Boston Magazine’s September 2013 issue.

Thoughts for class discussion:

  • The Times and Rolling Stone used the same photo of Dzhokhar on their covers. Why did the Rolling Stone story create so much ire?
  • Compare the Times and Globe’s pieces — the Times story appeared within weeks of the bombings, the Globe’s after several months of reporting. What insights are gained?
  • The Globe did something quite a bit different with their presentation of their story for their online edition. Does the layout enhance the story or distract from it?

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2014 by in Boston Marathon, Journalism and tagged .

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