Newspaper Articles About Lance Armstrong Stepping Down
A comparative analysis of 2 newspaper articles from different publications, both reporting the same issue. Abstract This paper compares 2 newspaper articles from different publications, both centered on the same issue. After a brief background of the publications and the journalists, this paper will provide an initial analysis of the coverage. The articles will then be further analyzed based on the following criteria: * Intended audience * Objectivity * Accuracy & documentation
The articles that will be compared are Armstrong resigns as Livestrong chairman by Andrea Ball and Suzanne Halliburton, published on Oct. 7, 2012 in the Austin American-Statesman daily newspaper and Lance Armstrong steps down as chairman of cancer charity, dumped by Nike by Oliver Moore, published on Oct. 17, 2012 in The Globe and Mail. Publications The first article, Armstrong resigns as Livestrong chairman, was retrieved on Oct. 17, 2012, from the Austin American-Statesman. The daily newspaper, or at least some version of it, has been in publication since May 31, 1914. The Statesman serves Austin and the majority of central Texas, with readership hitting 68% in 2009 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The newspaper had a circulation of 180,345 in 1991. At that time, it had also joined the Associated Press and the United Press International News Service. The second article, Lance Armstrong steps down as chairman of cancer charity, dumped by Nike, was retrieved on Oct. 17, 2012, from The Globe and Mail. The prominent, Canadian based, newspaper has been in production since the 1840s. The Globe has an extensive national readership, averaging 991,800 readers for their weekday issue and 1,101,100 readers for their weekend edition (GlobeLink, 2012).
The daily newspaper covers national, international, business, technology, arts, entertainment and lifestyle news. The paper claims it is, “An essential read for Canadians who want in-depth reporting on the issues, facts and opinions that affect our domestic landscape and the world at large. ” (GlobeLink, 2012). The Globe and Mail has a very clear mandate, “We will continue to represent the only definitive consumer choice of newspaper, magazines and websites that truly engages Canada in a conversation. We are the definitive word on both world and domestic events, supplying deep analysis, insight and perspective. (GlobeLink, 2012). Journalists The journalists of the article in the Austin American-Statesman were Andrea Ball and Suzanne Halliburton. Ball is the social services reporter for the newspaper. She is the 2012 Texas Associated Press Managing Editors organization recipient of the Star Investigative Report of the year. The newspapers’ online site explains her focus areas as, “…mental health, intellecual disabilities, poverty and nonprofits. ” (Statesman. com, 2012). She has been with the publication since 2009.
Halliburton, the co-writer of this article, has a more concentrated sports interest. The journalist has been with the paper since 1986 and is described by the Statesman’s website to, “…primarily write(s) about college athletics and Lance Armstrong” for the newspaper. The Associated Press Sports Editors, Women’s Sports Foundation, Texas Managing Editors and Southwest APSE have all honoured her. The journalist of the article in The Globe and Mail is Oliver Moore. Moore has been with The Globe and Mail since 2000, starting as an editor before becoming a reporter.
Although a native of Toronto, Moore has worked worldwide including the US, Afghanistan, Grenada and Tanzania. The Globe and Mail website acknowledges Moore as being, “…part of a team of Globe reporters nominated for a National Newspaper Award for their coverage of a murder-suicide. ” (The Globe and Mail, 2012). Initial Analysis The issue being covered by both articles is the recent news that former Tour de France cyclist, Lance Armstrong, has stepped down as chairman of his cancer foundation, Livestrong. He does, however, plan to remain on the charity’s 15-member board of directors.
The news comes in the midst of doping accusations by the USADA surrounding Armstrong, suggesting the 7-time Tour de France winner used performance-enhancing drugs during his participation with the event. He is also being accused of expecting his teammates to do the same. Based on its timeliness, impact, proximity, prominence and level of conflict, the issue of Armstrong stepping down, as chairman from his Livestrong foundation, is news. The way that the story is reported in each publication is quite different. Both articles are littered with facts and direct quotes from reputable sources.
The articles do differ dramatically, however, in the way in which they present their facts. The article in the Statesman, the local newspaper of Armstrong’s hometown, omits the lengthy discussion of the doping scandal itself, which is prominent in The Globe and Mail article. Ball and Halliburton start with a little background information on the scandal. This information is buffered with high-notes from Armstrong’s cancer-advocacy run, stating facts like: the campaign “has raised more than $500 million”. The article also proceeds to speak of upcoming fundraisers, a dinner for honourable donators and a recent surge in donations.
Ball and Halliburton conclude with a timeline of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which consists of all positive accomplishments and milestones, minus a final entry from August 2012 that states, “The U. S. Anti-Doping Agency declares that Armstrong’s refusal to arbitrate doping charges against him amounts to an admission of guilt and strips Armstrong of his Tour de France victories. ” The Globe and Mail article by Moore has a much different feel. Compared to the preceding article, Moore’s account of the issue is very scandal-heavy.
Where Ball and Halliburton emphasize what positive aspects they could find, Moore focuses on the USADA and their allegations, with an overall feel of failure and disappointment. Contrary to Ball and Halliburton’s article, which focuses primarily on Armstrong resigning and the foundation itself, only 6 sentences of Moore’s 2-page article mention the foundation or cancer-awareness. Of those 6 sentences, only one contains any positivity, “Nike said that it would continue to support the Livestrong Charity,” however, this was immediately followed by a direct quote from Nike stating that it does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Intended audience As previously stated, the Austin American-Statesman is a newspaper published in Armstrong’s hometown. The readership for the Statesman is citizens of Austin and central Texas. Armstrong has been the hometown hero of Austin since his first major cycling wins, dating back to 1993 when he became the cycling World Champion. Taking this into account, the intended audience for Ball and Halliburton was a city and a state that has idolized Armstrong for years.
Ball and Halliburton’s article is very Armstrong and Livestrong focused, most likely because Halliburton writes predominantly about sports and Armstrong for the publication. The heroism and courageousness of Armstrong, in turn, is a strong theme throughout their article. The Globe and Mail is a national news publication, therefore the intended audience is broader than that of the aforementioned article. Moore follows suit with global coverage of the topic, as the majority of articles found concerning the same issue focused heavily on the doping accusations.
Unlike Ball and Halliburton, Moore does not attempt to sugarcoat the situation in any way. Although the article includes little information concerning the resignation itself, Moore outlines the issue for his national audience with little support for Armstrong. Objectivity Objectivity, as it relates to journalism, refers to the fairness and factuality of news and the idea that it should be told value-free. Despite an adequate number of direct quotes and facts, objectivity is arguably nonexistent in both articles.
This is most evident in the journalists’ use of language and tone, as well as the completeness (or incompleteness) of both articles. Language and tone – Ball and Halliburton Ball and Halliburton, writing about their hometown hero, seemingly attempt to vindicate Armstrong in some respect. Referring to the USADA’s investigation as a “witch hunt”, the writers imply that they are on Armstrong’s side. They also use words such as “shield” and “escape” when referring to the foundation, conveying their feeling that Armstrong had stepped down to somehow save the Livestrong foundation.
As previously mentioned, any facts concerning the doping investigation and loss of sponsorship have been cushioned with statements that pull the heartstrings. A good example of this is the following statement, “The biggest sponsor to dump the 41-year-old Armstrong was Nike, the sports apparel giant that has had a financial relationship with Armstrong since before his cancer diagnosis in 1996. ”. The Nike “dump” is immediately followed by Armstrong’s “cancer diagnosis”. Ball and Halliburton comment on the future of Armstrong and the Livestrong foundation optimistically using a complementary, positive tone.
Concerning the athlete, the writers mention that he is “set financially for the rest of his life”, that (at the time the article was published) “his name is still on the race results” and that he would “continue to play an active role in his cancer-advocacy foundation”. Regarding the foundation, readers are ensured that none of the charity’s sponsors “have indicated they will sever ties”, that the foundation has received donations at “twice the normal levels” since the scandal began and that the foundation will continue to run under high quality professionals.
With few negative words or statements the overall tone of the article, despite the negativity of the topic itself, is positive. Language and tone – Moore Moore implies a more pessimistic view of how Armstrong and his foundation are surviving the problem at hand. Phrases such as “took a beating”, “quick blows”, “escalating fallout”, “abandoned” and “damning accusations” are just a few samples of the language used by Moore to amplify his facts about the doping controversy. Presented more as evidence to prove Armstrong guilty, Moore’s article has little to say about Armstrong stepping down as chairman like the neutral headline suggests.
When mentioned within the article, the resignation is explained as follows, “Lance Armstrong’s brand took a beating Wednesday as he was abandoned by longtime corporate sponsors and acknowledged that he could no longer head Livestrong, the cancer awareness foundation he launched. ”. Not only does Moore highlight that the Livestrong brand has been negatively impacted, he also seemingly attributes the resignation to Armstrong’s inadequateness to continue as chairman. Moore presents no positivity in his article. Both Armstrong and his Livestrong foundation are described either with a neutral or negative tone throughout the article.
Not only does Moore use an excess of gloomy language, the strength of the negative words is surprising. Instead of using cheating, for instance, Moore uses the phrase “cheating on an epic scale”. Instead of saying accusations, he adds the adjective “damning”. The overall tone of this article supports the negativity of the topic. Moore uses a strong negative tone consistently in his article. Completeness of the articles Both articles are incomplete in coverage of the issue. Ball and Halliburton focus heavily on the Livestrong campaign, leaving out much of the background information as to why Armstrong had to step down as chairman.
This article does manage to back up its headlines in the body, explaining both the resignation and the cancellation of Armstrong’s endorsement deals. Moore’s article, although briefly describing the resignation and Armstrong being dumped by Nike, focuses the majority of his article on the doping conspiracy itself. More coverage should be focused on the actual resignation and cancelled endorsement deals. Accuracy & Documentation Overall, the information presented in both articles seems credible. Both articles concentrate on facts rather than opinion.
A concern is that only select facts, supporting the overall tone and audience for each article, have been used. * All facts from the USADA, as presented in both articles, are accurate. This can be verified from various news releases on their organization’s website. * All facts regarding the Livestrong foundation, including the timeline section of Ball and Halliburton’s article, have been verified on the foundation’s website.
All facts concerning Nike terminating its contract with Armstrong have been verified on the Nike, Inc. webpage in a press release. Facts concerning the Trek Bicycles sponsorship could not be verified, as the media section of the company website has not been updated in almost a year. It can be confirmed through the media contact provided – Eric Bjorling. * Direct quotes from friends, former teammates, credible sources and other members of the Livestrong foundation have been found in various other news articles. Further verification could be made through contacting the individuals directly, however, there is some ambiguity concerning credibility. * Ball and Halliburton provide an indirect quote from “a close associate”. This is not verifiable.
Both articles explain how information was obtained, providing specific references for the majority of facts and quotes. The exception is described in the last point above. Summary This paper compared 2 newspaper articles from different publications, both centered on Lance Armstrong resigning as the chairman of his Livestrong foundation. Analysis of the publications revealed that the readership of each publication was very different, both in number and proximity to the issue. The background of each journalist varied, one article being written by a sports writer and a social services reporter, while a general reporter wrote the other.
The initial analysis of the articles revealed that they had varying focuses. Ball and Halliburton focused heavily on the Livestrong foundation itself, whereas Moore placed more weight on the doping controversy. Through further investigation of intended audience, it was discovered that the reason for the varying points of view and slight biases could be most likely attributed to the readership – Ball and Halliburton writing of their hometown hero while Moore reported to the nation on the next athlete to be accused of doping.
An analysis of language, tone and completeness revealed that the objectivity of both articles is questionable. Ball and Halliburton used a positive tone throughout their article, softening the few negative facts they presented with an emotional appeal. Moore used a negative tone in his article. Many words were described with adjectives that carried a strongly negative feel. Positive aspects concerning the foundation and Armstrong’s work were essentially omitted. The final analysis was the accuracy and documentation of the articles. Both articles are accurate in their presentation of direct quotes and facts.
All information is verifiable and neither article contains opinions of the reporters. One concern noted was the one-sidedness of facts and quotes presented in each article.