Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Perspectives, One Story

One important aspect of the editorial process is the paradigm an editor applies to a story. Age, gender, and socio-economic status can affect the tone, structure and content of a story. One of the biggest paradigm gaps is between cultures, as seen with Al-Jazeera and the The Associated Press' coverage of Akio Toyoda's apology to members of the U.S. Congress.

One of the most striking differences between the two sources is the scope of the coverage. In the AP's Feb. 25 article "Lawmakers scorn Toyota chief's apology," no attention is given to the response from Japan or the international community. Alternatively, in the Al-Jazeera's Feb. 25 article "Toyota chief apologises for recall," global impact is the story's focus.

According to the Al-Jazeera article, "In Japan, meanwhile, politicians expressed growing worries that the impact of the recalls and the investigations into Toyota could have a lasting impact on Japan's image abroad and its ability to pull its economy out of recession."

The portrayal of Akio Toyoda also symbolizes the editorial mindset applied toward the stories. Al-Jazeera puts words such as "apologize," "promise" and "commitment" in the forefront of the article, painting an apologetic and honest Toyoda.

The AP sides with the legislator's sneering perception of Toyoda. According to the article, "Toyoda's testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee got off to an agreeable start. He promised to tell the truth and gave an opening statement in clear, if heavily accented, English."

This individual case study is not isolated, as seen with the San Diego's KGTV, Transworld News, and USA Today's condescension-laden articles when compared to the BBC and The Financial Times' forgiving coverage.

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