backstory of Flight 253

The Flight 253 article took an interesting approach to telling the story of the terror attempt on the flight to Detroit. Instead of focusing entirely on the event itself and the aftermath, Ron French took his time setting the stage, taking more than half of the story length to describe the passengers and the atmosphere in the airport terminal and on the plane. At first I found the drawn-out approach to be a bit frustrating, because he covered so many different people and so much back-story. I was expecting to get to the dramatic parts fairly quickly, and three-and-a-half pages later he was still setting the stage. But, once he started to describe the fire and the ensuing action, the lead-up helped to add depth to the story. The story holds more meaning for the reader when there’s a thoroughly established background.

One of my biggest complaints about journalism is the formulaic approach to story telling. Just plug in facts a, b and c and click ‘publish.’ I think that the field of journalism could reinvent itself and help rekindle the interest of the public if reporters stop treating events like a formula and instead focus on telling a story that the reader can relate to. This article does a great job of breaking that formulaic mold.

– Laura Riess

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