Blog Post #9

The New York Times – Signs of the Evolutionary Step From Land to Sea

This article begins with an indirect lede detailing a mystery over an ancient species’ origins. The Ichthyosaur is what they are looking at, and the LA here is the history of that species, and speaks of a recent fossil discovered that may solve some clues on the evolutionary history of the creature.

We are given a fair amount of background, such as when the creature walked the earth, some of it’s features, and how the new findings support certain theories. One such theory is that the species evolved from land-based reptiles to ocean-dwelling sea creatures.

Following that up is a quote from a paleontologist, which is a very reliable source and even though it is the only quote, it has a lot of impact. Overall this was a good article and covers a pretty overlooked part of the earth’s history.

The Baltimore Sun – Damming the bay’s pollution

This article begins with an indirect lead. It summarizes a recent report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detailing the effects of a dam in the Bay. The LA follows it up by explaining the adverse effects of the dam, which includes thousands of tons of sludge sitting behind a wall and how it isn’t stopping all of the chemicals that get into the bay through runoff.

The writer does a great job giving us a lot of background information, including detailing a lot of the processes that happen in the bay and how a lot of our issues occur.

Unfortunately, there are no quotes used in this article so we don’t really get a good sense on higher level views on the issue or opinions. That would have made this article stronger.

The Daily Times – Why blame farmers when rest of Md. still pollutes bay

This is an opinion article that starts with an indirect lead which acts as more of a personal experience. He says that a lot of people in a certain area have moved away due to pollution.

His LA is a statement that he doesn’t understand why farmers take the brunt of the blame in terms of pollution the Chesapeake Bay, when everybody else around the area does probably even more harm collectively.

There are no quotes used here, which isn’t necessarily bad since it is an opinion piece, but they would still help nonetheless. Another thing that bothers me a little bit is that he asks more questions than he answers in the article. He doesn’t even really answer the question in the title of his own article.

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Blog Post #8

The New York Times – In Beijing, Clearer Views Hide Real Life

This article starts off with an indirect lead which basically features as a story of a Chinese woman who can’t burn a flower because of new restrictions. This leads into the LA which essentially tells us about China’s air quality and air pollution issues.

We are given a lot of background information on how the Chinese are aiming to make Beijing come off as a cleaner city after being publicized as a very polluted city. We learn that the government is implementing a lot of changes, that are leading to a cleaner air quality but having adverse effects on society such as limiting driving, mourning the dead, and even marriage.

There are a lot of quotes from government officials, and more importantly, Chinese citizens who live in the city. These quotes give the story a whole lot of substance and weight, making it a very strong and well written article.

The Baltimore Sun – Hands-on lesson in environmental science for Marley Middle School students

This article begins with a direct lead, telling us that a group of students from an area middle school started learning about environmental topics such as erosion. The LA we are given is an outline of events over a three day period where students spent time in nature planting trees and other plants that help reduce erosion.

The background information that is provided covers different issues going on in this region, such as how these activities will help prevent runoff from getting into the bay. Some of the more important details were over the fact that just getting kids involved in their surrounding and in the environment is good for everyone.

There are quotes from the kids that add to the article as well, and get the first hand view of those who were directly involved. Overall this is a well written article with a positive, optimistic tone which contrasts from the usual outlook of environmental topics these days.

The Daily Times – Oyster: A delicacy, a community’s way of life

This very long, detailed article starts with an indirect lead introducing a man named Johnny Crumb, who grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and relied heavily on the oyster industry. The LA that follows gives us a story of his family, who moved down from Connecticut and formed what is now Oyster Bay.

There are many quotes from Crumb himself, which form almost a story, which is how the article itself is structured as well. There is a more than impressive backstory and background information in this article, which covers a wide range of topics from how to village started based off of oysters, to the present day where there is only one oyster shucking house remaining.

There is a very impressive amount of information in this article that really gets to the reader, as it details the whole history of a small community that literally lives off of one thing. It is a local story as well, which adds a lot of impact to locals who read about it because it is something they can relate to.

Blog Post #7

The NY Times – UN Panel Warns of Dire Effects From Lack of Action Over Global Warming

The article begins with a direct lead that really emphasizes the issue at hand which is the lack of action over global warming. It also contains a potential consequence of the lack of action.

The LA gives the reader an example of the issues, which includes high numbers of greenhouse gas emissions in the West. It also tells us what will happen if we fail to correct these ongoing problems.

The article then gets into a lot of background information including what some of these alternative measures would be if more action was to be taken in the near future. These assertions are backed up by quotes from the U.N. drafted report that the article covers, and also an Oxford scientist named Myles Allen.

Overall it is a very informative article on a very important environmental issue but it would probably lack the ability to draw in a reader that isn’t familiar with the topic or one that had limited interest in it.

The Baltimore Sun – UM to study intersex fish in Bay region

This article begins with a direct lead that highlights one of our biggest issues in the environmental category, which is the sex change dilemma involving fish in the Bay.

The LA is the explanation of a grant from the US Geological Survey to help researchers understand the effects of some pharmaceutical substances on wildlife. Great background is given, which covers the issues in the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers of male fish carrying eggs, which is obviously unnatural. Informative quotes are included from a USGS scientist named Vicki Blazer, and also senate member Barbara Mikulski.

This very informative article is very easy to read and contains a lot of things that are relevant to us living in the area. It also makes you think more about what you’re doing and how you can contribute to stopping this, as it eventually comes back around to affect us.

The Daily Times – Deadly bay-dwelling bacteria elicits warnings 

An indirect lead starts out this article that has a deep meaning in our area. It says that a new deadly bacteria is in the bay, but does not name it until the LA in the second paragraph.

We get a lot of background information on what the bacteria is and how it thrives. It also highlights warnings made to help protect those who frequently are on or in the bay. A worker from the Department of Health is quoted here, which is the only quote – more would have been helpful, but this article is more fact based. Also included are a number of tips to help avoid being infected and also an account of one man who contracted the disease.

This is a meaningful article because of where we live. We eat a lot of food from the bay so you never like hearing that you could get a deadly infection from this. There isn’t much that can be done about the presence of the bacteria, but it is helpful knowing ways to avoid it.

Blog Post #6

The New York Times – ‘Putin’s Tiger’ in a Territory Grab All His Own, Swims to China

This article begins with a delayed lead about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “own” tiger, which then carries into the LA where we are told that said tiger has swam across a river into China. It then follows the efforts to catch him in order to prevent him from being poached.

We are given a bit of background info later in the article, which tells us how the tiger being in China is a serious danger, as poaching is very common. We are given a “price” for each tiger, as well as statistics on how many Siberian Tiger’s are left, and also how many are killed each year.

Quotes are also included from sources such as Li Quan, leader of a Big Cats program for the World Wildlife Fund. There are also quotes from a Russian newspaper.

Overall it is a very good article with a wealth of information. It gives us an individual story of the tiger and then also a lot of background information on the tigers themselves and how they relate to each country involved.

The Baltimore Sun – Howard offers oyster shell recycling at Alpha Ridge Landfill

This article begins with a very catchy and direct lead. “Don’t just shuck ’em and chuck ’em,” is how it begins, a play on words with what we do with oysters when we bring them home to eat. The LA here is backing up the lead and gives us information on what the plan is, which is the group collecting shells and eventually placing them back into the Bay with oyster larvae.

The article gives some useful background information, such as what people generally use these oyster shells for, and also what oysters mean to the bay. There is one quote from a county executive which is a good source. There are also instructions for how people should do this, which includes when and where.

This issue is sensitive and very important to our area so it is definitely effective and impactful. It is a very interesting project and is a simple yet effective way for people to contribute to helping the bay and the environment they live in.

The Daily Times – Wicomico candidates to take on environment 

A direct lead is how this piece begins, which tells the reader the direct intention of the article which is what local politicians have to say about an important local issue.

Some important backgrounding is included, including the fact that elections are very soon so this is even more important for them to talk about. The event has not happened yet so there are no quotes or tidbits from what was said.

This is important to local people as the article above was, and also the fact that this is within the county we live adds some importance and intrigue to the article.

Blog Post #5

The New York Times – Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change

The lede for this article is very informative and fills a lot of the information holes left from the title. The LA details the report itself on the security issue and the plans that the Department of Defense will take to address that issue which also gives us a lot of information.

The use of quotes from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are very useful and informative especially because they come from such a high source. The report itself is very ominous in nature, predicting rises in incidents of terrorism, diseases, poverty and food shortages from climate change over issues such as a lack of water and droughts.

The article has a lot of information and is very easy to get through. I like how it is organized and how it brings a wide range of environmental issues into the focus. I think the outlook may be a little exaggerated, but that isn’t necessary on the writer.

The Baltimore Sun – Marylanders want more solar, wind power

This lede brings the article almost down to a more personal level, when it says Marylanders “really, really” want solar and wind power. It is almost informal which makes it a little more relaxing right off the bat. The LA is a survey by George Mason University which backs up the lede.

There is some background information included, consisting of where a lot of Maryland’s energy comes from and a poll on the state’s clean energy mandate. There aren’t any quotes but there are positions on the matter taken by candidates Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan.

The lack of quotes is disappointing, and they would’ve helped back up the main claim of the article behind the poll.

The Daily Times – Building designed to reduce its impact on environment

This lede doesn’t really tell us much, but rather leads us into a bulleted list of what relates to the title itself. It is organized, but it doesn’t contain any LA. The background information is what stands out as there are seven specific bullets that tell us what the MTSU science building is doing to help the environment.

As it is only a list, there are no quotes or opinions of any kind really. It would be really helpful to have opinions from people who work there or see it enough to notice any differences. Also, it doesn’t really tell us what was wrong with the building in the first place, just what has been implemented now.

Blog Post #4

The New York Times – A Gulf in Ocean Knowledge

This article begins with a dire lead, using strong word choice with the word “significant” to describe the underestimation by scientists over the issue of rising ocean temperatures in the past 40 years. A strong lead amplifier follows with an explanation of a recent study done to determine why such a serious underestimation was made.

The article is not long, but contains a lot of information as well as only one direct quote. A lot of the information is technical, so the paragraph dedicated to really explaining everything, including how sea rise is linked to climate change and why they go hand in hand would help just about anyone understand the issue at hand.

The article is well written and informative, but the only problem I had with it was the fact that there was only one direct quote. In an article filled with so much information, I wish that they could have obtained another quote of two from the leader of the study, and other sources.

The Baltimore Sun – Hardford residents spot unusual animals in their backyards

This was an interesting article that was a little more lighthearted than some of the negative environmental issues that we see portrayed in the news. The lead tells us a story of a woman who saw a rare albino hummingbird in her backyard. The lead amplifier tells us when it happened and then leads into quotes from her and a Maryland wildlife expert.

Much of this story is quote based, which gives us a much more in depth look at the experiences of those who the story is about. Another featured story in this article is that of a man who believes an albino deer has been in his backyard. It is an odd story, very unusual for sure, but it is very interesting nonetheless.

The amount of background information provided perfectly balances the quotes that are given, to provide a very detailed story that is enjoyable to read.

The Daily Times – Ethanol hits the bullseye every time for America

This article begins with a very creative and direct lead that targets a rival viewpoint. A strong LA follows which defends the writer’s opening statement by explaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.

It is more of a response article to another article written previously, but there are no quotes in this article which kind of diminishes the impact from the information it gives us. It does offer some interesting information on gas prices which is important in a world today where we often watch gas prices skyrocket without knowing why.

Overall, it is a very short article that does have enough information to get a point across. Quotes and more background information would be effective and make it a little easier to read for a normal person.

Blog Post #3

The New York Times – In Alaska, Thousands of Walruses Take to Land

This article begins with more of a story than a true lead, talking about a plane spotting thousands of walruses piling onto the shoreline in Alaska. The lead is basically summarized in a caption under two pictures of the shoreline before the actual article starts, so we get a good idea of what is going on right away.

The use of these pictures gives a true view of what is going on, and this visual aid adds a lot of impact to the story itself. The reason these walrus’ are doing this, according to a wildlife biologist in Alaska, is that the ice levels in many areas of Alaska’s seas are disappearing. The use of this information, and other instances of the same type of situation, are included in a very convincing lead amplifier.

Using quotes and statistics help the validity and impact of the story, and the closing paragraph in the article adds an emotional mental image of a problem involved in having walruses piled up in close quarters. Imagining baby walruses being trampled by bigger, older animals simply because they have no where else to go is a sad reality that is a good inclusion in this well written article.

The Baltimore Sun – For Annapolis native, 35-year rowing trek creates unique perspective on Chesapeake

The perspective in this article is very different and uplifting. It begins with a lead that gives you a bit of information but also not enough which works well in this case, because it makes you want to read on. The rest of the information is filled in quickly after the lead.

It is the story of one man’s journey through the Chesapeake Bay, so there is a plethora of quotes from him which really bring you into the story. His quotes are very rich in details – this isn’t a story that really needed statistics or data. It is also one of the few stories you will hear of the environmental measures being put in place over the past decades that depict it as being successful.

This is a very emotional and optimistic story about our region. The story itself is very well written and it was very enjoyable to read.

The Daily Times – Natural gas exports from Chesapeake Bay OK’d

This is another article with very local implications, and it says so right from the beginning. The lead, while giving the needed information, is very bland. It almost gives you the entire story in one sentence, without any drama.

The rest of the article is filled with a lot of background information that might help people on either side of the argument understand what is happening. There are many quotes used that also describe everything. There are also future projections of what this “fracking” will accomplish and explains the exact process that happens.

This article contains all the necessary information and more to be a well rounded article. Those of us in this area that could be eventually affected by similar situations should pay especially close attention and understand the potential impacts.

Blog Post #2

The New York Times – Protection for Wolves is Restored in Wyoming

The lead in this article is very straightforward, and tells you exactly what you are about to read. There is no particular flair or drama, which isn’t a bad thing. The lead amplifier does a good job of following up the generalized lead and builds off of it very nicely. The lead itself tells us that the Endangered Species Act was restored for wolves, while the amplifier goes into detail about what the Act itself is and what it means for all parties involved.

It is very evident that a lot of research was done for this article. It contains a ruling from a District Court judge in Washington pertaining to the issue,  and and also quotes from a representative for a Wild America campaign who disagreed with the ruling, and also an endangered species director at the CBD (Center for Biological Diversity). Statistics were used from these same sources. Overall, it is a very well organized and thought out article.

The article itself could be very impactful for someone interested in the issue. It really only applies in that area, so that’s another aspect that could draw readers.

The Baltimore Sun – Howard Students Take to the Fields for BioBlitz at Belmont Manor and Historic Park

The play on words in the lead here really helps start this article off on a funny note. The first half of the article is organized almost chronologically as if it were a story being told. It involves children spotting a bird and a spider, and the quotes show the excitement exhibited by the children. It mentions how the group had walked less than 20 feet and had already seen two animals, to highlight that it was an accomplishment and a feat for those involved. What the children investigated also involved trees and plants, all parts of the living environment around us all. The writer uses this well as a way to extensively cover all of the details surrounding this event, and lots of information backs it up. Accounts from chaperons and the participating children add to an already well written article.

The article is very relevant and important. In a changing world where we are trying to get everyone involved in helping sustain our environment, getting children out into the world especially locally and seeing all of the great things out there are huge steps towards creating a better world. There is lots of impact in this article, and it is very well thought out.

The Daily Times – Shellfish harvesting closed in Dorchester waterways

A descriptive and informative lead start off this short article. There isn’t anything flashy about it but it is a daunting start to highlight a local issue. Other than this, this article is very bare. There aren’t any quotes used, and there is hardly any kind of background information either. The story around this article is a very big issue and thus could have been expanded on here to really give a good look into the issue.

The problem itself is huge, as our local economy thrives on seafood. The fact that our local waterways are now being affected and are full of unacceptable levels of bacteria is a big problem. It is very relevant for many people around us, as some people, like watermen, depend on the viability of these things completely. This is an important story demonstrated in a relatively disappointing article.

Blog Post #1

The New York Times – To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees

This article starts out with a very straightforward lead that gives the reader a lot of information right away. The lead amplifiers give a lot of detail as well, including a lot of background information on recent meetings on reducing deforestation and addressing the need to reduce carbon emissions. When the article claims that all of the “conventional wisdom” from those meetings is wrong, it really draws you into the article because it is a very bold statement. The way the article is organized makes everything much easier to understand.

The article is very easy to read, and the writer does a great job of explaining his point of view in a way that just about anyone could understand what he is trying to say.

While a few key aspects of the article were good, there were many issues that I had with it. The lead itself didn’t really have much of an impact besides telling the reader a lot of facts, that almost sounds like the article is just a story. You have to get through the first couple paragraphs to really get to any part of his point. Also, the many claims made were not really backed up by any statistics or science, other than a study that the author’s own group did at Yale University. I believe the idea would be stronger if other scientists backed up the same ideas.

The Baltimore Sun – More Baltimore animals, plants in danger of extinction

The lead starts this article off on a great note,, which gives off a cautious-positive tone almost as if to say “we won the battle, but not the war,” when we are told that one of Maryland’s endangered species, the fox squirrel, has had enough of a resurgence to not be on the endangered list anymore. It’s a dramatic start which draws the reader in immediately.

Wheeler, the author, uses a lot of quotes in this article and uses several pictures and videos as evidence. At the end of the article, numbers are also used to demonstrate other at-risk-of-extinction animals and plants. This is proof that is helpful to readers.Also, credible sources are used, such as the Maryland DNR and the Center for Biological Diversity. People love animals, so all of these have an impact on the reader, and could make the public want to do more to help.

This article was very well written as a whole, and had a great amount of useful information. This is a topic that appeals to many people of all backgrounds and covers a whole range of views on the subject. It is an article that any average person could get a lot out of.

The Daily Times – Bay’s destiny may be out of our hands

This article opens up with a very dramatic lead that summarizes the big picture of what the subject is. “Losing farmland” stands for many things in this area, so it is something that is definitely going to appeal to people in the Chesapeake Bay area.

The claims are very well backed up, and provide a grim view of the bay’s future. Facts and quotes are very effective in helping support his points as well. It shows how now, it may be too late for us to make a huge change any time soon in regards to the bay.

There is a lot of factual information in this very well written piece. There are a lot of good parts to this article, and it is something that is very relevant in this area today. The details are full of impact that highlights the major concern over the issue.