May 8, 2012
For my final magazine post, I picked the main piece from ESPN’s “Money Issue.” The story covers boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, one of the most wealthy athletes in the world, and his nearly absurd level of income. In the article, it describes Mayweather’s two dozen cars, $80,000 gambling bill and “The Bag,” a bag containing his walking around money and gambling slips. The piece is interesting because while it is known that athletes are paid well, this is a huge fortune from a sport that isn’t particularly popular when compared to baseball or football.
For the story, writer Tim Keown interviews Mayweather, his adviser Leonard Ellerbe, and even comedian Chris Rock. The story does a good job capturing Mayweather’s extreme talent and wealth, though it could also wok as a documentary or other visual medium, though the website did have an accompanying video. This story would be interesting to anyone who thinks that professional athletes are overpaid, or someone who is interested in seeing an athlete buck the trend of being taken advantage of financially or going broke.
Sample Tweet: “Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather lives up to his name.”
May 8, 2012
For my final writer post, I picked Cillizza’s article titled “Why is President Obama still ‘evolving’ on gay marriage?” As the title suggests, the blog post deals with the recent pro-gay marriage made by Vice President Joe Biden in support of gay marriage. While Obama has repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and not given support to the Defense of Marriage Act, he has said that he believes in civil-unions instead of gay marriage, but he “wrestles” with the issue. At the end of the article, Cillizza projects that Obama’s evolution may be complete be the general election
For the piece, Cillizza quoted Obama and Biden, and used data from results from three Post-ABC News polls. The article was well written, and had several visual elements, in the form of pictures and graphs, to show the growth in support of gay marriage. Gay marriage has been a wedge issue in politics for sometime now, and I think this article and the information it provides would be of interest to those on both sides of the debate.
Sample tweet: “Is Obama evolving in the gay marriage debate?”
May 4, 2012
For my last post on CURE Magazine, I thought it might be good to read some articles that hit closer to home. My Dad was diagnosed with some health problems last summer and I thought it would be good to look at the magazine from someone affected by cancer. That being said, I looked up kidney cancer and found some of the articles the magazine offered on it. The articles were informative and encouraging.
After reading and skimming through some of these articles, I came to really appreciate what a range of articles the magazine offers. For instance, some individuals impacted by cancer may not want to read more about their disease and the science behind it. After all, it may have already changed their life drastically. As a result they may not want to allocate any more of their time to the disease, even if it is learning about it. For these readers, the magazine also offers lifestyle articles and articles about survivors as opposed to just exploring the science in cancer. For those individuals who want to learn more about the science, the magazine presents it in a comprehensible manner. I really like that the magazine has articles about cancer as a whole broad topic, but also the individual kinds of cancer. After all, these cells have become so specialized that they need individual articles to really discuss the varying diseases.
May 4, 2012
When I searched for recent articles by Dr. Gawande, I found one that was recently posted in the New England Journal of Medicine. I thought it might be interesting to see if he approaches his writing differently when writing toward a medical audience as opposed to the audience reading the New Yorker. The article recounts and explores the past 200 years of medical history, more specifically, surgery. He discusses how surgery has progressed to becoming less violent and increasingly successful. Dr. Gawande didn’t seem to explain the science as in depth as he does in the New Yorker, but I am not a doctor and was still able to follow his writing.
I wanted to share what I have learned from following Dr. Gawande’s writing this semester. He is with out a question an outstanding writer and there is much to be learned from following him. After keeping to tabs with his work, I feel that a few characteristics of his writing really stood out to me.
1. There is an art to talking negatively about someone- Dr. Gawande often would write about how to improve situations in medicine. In doing so, he would have to address failures of his failures as well as those of his peers. He was very wise in how he do so. A specific example that comes to mind is when he was discussing coaching for an article. A athlete’s coach advised him not to do something, the athlete did anyways and won a metal. Dr. Gawande has two options in how to address this story. The obvious would be stating the coach misguided the athlete and expounding on it. Instead, Dr. Gawande brought out the positive in it by focusing more on the athlete’s success and mentioning that coaches too can be incorrect. I noticed that he approaches touchy situations like this consistently.
2. Explaining clearly has power- Dr. Gawande thoroughly explains whatever he is writing on, regardless of if it is medical or something completely unrelated to medicine.
3. Research is vital- Dr. Gawande’s writing is extremely strong not only because of his writing skills, but because he is thorough in his research. He finds a topic and explores its relevance in not only medicine, but many other fields. And as I mentioned in point 2, he explains all of his research very clearly, in a way that allows readers to comprehend him 100%.
4. Powerful stories can arise from unexpected places- I think the main reason I really enjoyed Dr. Gawande’s work is because of this point. He looked at common sense ideas like checklists or coaching and thoroughly explored them in 9 page articles. Turns out there is more to these ideas than I could have possibly fathomed. Not only does he assess these common sense articles completely, but he uses them to create big solutions to big problems.
May 4, 2012
PC Gamer must have known that they only had a short amount of time left to impress me with their writing because they have recently posted several interesting stories. They have a follow up to their Pirate Bay story that notes the 12 million user increase in Pirate Bay traffic since the UK announced their wish to ban the website. It makes you think, who exactly would gain from shutting down the website?
They also posted a story about a UK official’s desire to make violent video games less accessible. This was a good piece because they gave both support and criticism to the official, which, in this case, is appropriate due to the lack of scientific backing on either side of the “effect of video game violence” debate.
And I was also intrigued by their innovation story about LaSeRs!!! (sticky caps and exclamation points are necessary). Connecting PCs to routers using lasers may result in a faster than WiFi internet connection, which would be amazing. Thanks for letting me know PC Gamer! But despite this recent influx of decent posts, I will not continue to read the magazine. I want a gender-balanced nerdy magazine to be in my life, but since that apparently doesn’t exist, I’m going to stick with the Mary Sue.
May 4, 2012
Following Susana Polo’s written work this semester has been a joy. Her articles were fun and interesting for me to read and The Mary Sue blog never fails to entertain and inform. Overall, Polo’s writing tends to be rhetorical and analytical. She does not needlessly flourish her language which allows for succinct, to-the-point articles. One of her recent articles concerns the effort to include more playable female characters in Call of Duty.
It is good to read about this piece of news with Polo’s added snark, because otherwise the silly quotes like “…there is a female character role in the game. We wanted to explore that part of storytelling” would send me into fits. What does “that part of storytelling” even mean? Polo has some suggestions.
I’m definitely going to keep reading Polo’s work and the entire Mary Sue blog.
May 2, 2012
Andrew Evans is still in South Africa and has been for a while. Today’s blog is, once again, focused on people, not places. The story is about meeting Gandhi’s grandchildren and great- grandchildren. The piece is short and too the point, but still gives the reader a lot of information about Gandhi’s beliefs and the family he left behind.
His granddaughter, Ela, still lives in the house that she helped build with him. The piece begins with a line about the neighbors obnoxious music, but in true Gandhi fashion Ela is unconcerned and just wants them to ‘live their life’. To me this piece really brought someone idyllic and grand, down to earth in a manner that everyone could relate to.
May 2, 2012
This article is shorter than many of Nat Geo’s pieces and I kind of liked that. It outlines the severity of koala endangerment in Australia. Although everyone associates this fuzzy creatures with the country, many don’t know how few there are left and how quickly they’re disappearing. The article is more about raising awareness of the issue than really exploring the life of a koala. I still enjoyed this article though, they seem to be very cute little guys.
May 2, 2012
In his April 28 column, NBA Playoffs Preview, Bill Simmons stays consistent with his style as he lays out the NBA postseason’s most interesting storylines in list format. Right off the bat, I was intrigued that he made no secret that he wrote the lede after he wrote the column. I think that’s a good strategy as well. Anyway, my favorite part of the column is at storyline #22: Vinny del Negro. Instead of using his words, Simmons portrays the potential matchup of (Clippers’ coach) del Negro vs. (Spurs’ coach) Greg Popovich in round 2 of the playoffs with a clip from the movie, Bad Santa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxWCAJS7Co8 . The scene depicts a kid (Popovich) essentially toying with Billy Bob Thornton (a.k.a Bad Santa and for the sake of the analogy – del Negro) in a game of checkers and then triple-jumping Bad Santa for the win. Depending on point of view, Simmons creatively suggests that del Negro is an incompetent coach, or that Popovich is a coaching mastermind whose team will tactically crush del Negro and the Clippers. Either way, it is a hilarious and simple way to demonstrate his point. These commentary cross-overs between pop culture and sports are what I believe give Simmons his staying power and massive popularity. It’s rare that one can actually receive great insight to sports and belly laugh from the same source. Simmons delivers both.
May 2, 2012
It has become increasingly hard finding articles of Wendy Perrin’s that are worth blogging about. Not in a bad way, but I just wasn’t expecting each of her posts to be a paragraph or two at the most. Having found a slightly more substantial post, I found this one to be very interesting. It may be old news by now, but the Costa Concordia sinking in Italy is still changing the minds of many who were considering taking a cruise for the first time (my parents included). Perrin’s take on the situation, however, is that we should not view this disaster as a hindrance to how great (and safe) cruises actually are. In the article labeled “Why I’m Not Panicking,” Perrin mentions that “the risk of a traveler dying in a cruise ship maritime accident is roughly 1 in 6 million,” adding that her children were more likely to get killed in a car crash en route to the pier, with odds of 1 in 7,000. We do a very good job of remembering disasters such as these, but need to keep in mind how uncommon these kinds of situations really are. She does, however, discuss her fears of an incompetent or missing crew, such as the crew in the Costa Condordia. Even though she knows the odds are tiny, she compiles a list of safety precautions passengers should take, just in case. This includes making her that her children know where the lifejackets are, and how to get to the muster station. She also adds that you should always bring a mini flashlight with you- it’s always the little things with Perrin. Now knowing that my odds of dying of heart disease are tenfold higher than sinking on a cruise ship, I can definitely say that I would feel safe taking a cruise to the Caribbean as soon as anybody is willing to pay for it.