Chris Griesedieck, 2/25/2014
This special report by CBS42’s Leigh Garner was published on Monday, February 24, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In my opinion, the story is told with the inverted pyramid structure. Important information is delivered right at the start to grab readers’ attention. This beginning info includes the fact that Feb. 24 was the one-year anniversary of Kate Ragsdale’s murder. Then, in the middle, I noticed a large portion of important quotes that told the story well. Lastly, there was more at the end, a quote and a sentence about a phone number to call. It is also structured by an interview with unit commander of the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit, Sargent Dale Phillips.
I did not see any use of sources in this report. No one was cited, however, a good portion of this report involved relevant quotes. I think these quotes were extremely effective to the story. Garner would often say the general words of “investigators are still trying to identify the killer…” but the only one who spoke was Phillips. Without Phillips’ input, Garner has nothing to back up her facts and points made in the story. Since he is the unit commander, it was absolutely necessary to ask him how they’ve been doing in the investigation, and such. His quotes told me that they are putting the pieces together and have narrowed down the list of possible suspects.
Any story in the news regarding murder and/or crime fascinates me. I thought the writing was fairly clear and to the point. No huge, unknown vocabulary words were present. Enough detail and background info was included about Kate Ragsdale, but not too much detail that I became uninterested. It was a perfect balance. I learned that she was a retired librarian at the University of Alabama, and the person who murdered her most likely knew her. I understood Garner’s writing because of her balance of quotes from Sargent Phillips and facts that were backed up by those quotes. Garner did a great job of telling the story how it happened, and I did not at all get the impression of any sort of bias being presented in this article. As stated earlier, the writer’s conclusions were supported by the interview with Sargent Phillips.