Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Content that isn't there

Can you do "content analysis" on stuff that isn't there? Try it with this AP lede:

WESTON, Wis. — The mother of an 11-year-old girl who died of untreated diabetes said Wednesday that she did not know her daughter was terminally ill as she prayed for her to get better.

What regular element is missing? Here are a few more grafs for context:

Madeline Neumann died Sunday from a treatable form of diabetes.

Her mother, Leilani Neumann, told The Associated Press that she never expected her daughter, whom she called Kara, to die. The family believes in the Bible, and it says healing comes from God, but they are not crazy, religious people, she said.

Puzzled? Here are a few hints from one of last month's discussions:

A Canadian man has been charged with murdering his own daughter, and her friends say the two clashed over her refusal to wear a Muslim head scarf.

A man on the run from police since his teenage daughters were found shot to death in a taxicab on New Year's Day had threatened to hurt one of the girls for dating a non-Muslim boy, according to police documents.

A father who said he was upset with his teenage daughter for text-messaging a boy was arrested Saturday on charges of killing the girl, whose burned body was found stuffed in the boiler of his apartment building, police said.

Anybody want to take a swing? And for bonus points, to introduce a concept from discourse analysis that helps explain what you aren't seeing?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

who didn't know and who prayed for whom to get better?

Do I win a prize?

6:05 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if Jen gets a prize -- she shold -- but those ledes take the cake. Somebody's trying too hard to get too much in the lede without making sure any of it makes sense. Too bad none of those newspapers had copy desks to look at the prose.

8:30 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Ah, the perils of posting AP ledes unedited! All of them are AP stories as published on Fox News.

Yes, Jen claims the coveted Antecedence Award. But there's more hardware to be taken home.

10:06 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

They're not crazy religious people (or crazy, religious people) - they're just people who pray instead of going to doctors.

But this story is a bit different, in that the mother doesn't seem to have been angry at the daughter and actively killing her - just letting her die rather than violate their (assuming an 11-year-old can actually have beliefs) beliefs.

Still, it would have been nice to see a reference to Christianity in the lede - had they been Muslims it sure would have been.

8:42 AM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger TootsNYC said...

You can't be terminally ill with a treatable form of diabetes.

Perhaps the mother did not know the child was likely to die, or did knot realize the child *could* die.

But "terminally ill" means "there is no way to avoid dying." Not true for this girl.

as for the mentioning they are Christians--I guess this is bias, but since no other religion was mentioned, and prayer was, I assumed this was Christianity. I got the impression, from the fact that no church or denomination was given in the few stories I saw, that they were not members of a mainstream religion, and maybe not of any particular church.

1:37 PM, March 28, 2008  

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