Findings from The Guardian in JO304


Prior to this semester, I almost never read The Guardian. I would look to other publications and news sites for my daily news; however, after spending this semester tracking and analyzing the content presented by The Guardian, whether through written pieces, tweets or pictures and videos, it is clear that the company has persistently worked to include various progressive perspectives while catering to the concerns of the public. These are the biggest highlights and lowlights I’ve observed so far.

1. Broad Range of Platforms

The Guardian does a great job of utilizing different platforms to spread news. Whether it’s through pictures, videos, podcasts, Facebook or Twitter, each of these platforms is constantly updated with the most recent news. For instance, The Guardian released an in-depth podcast on EU citizens in relation to the Windrush generation and the Brexit vote. One particular strength of The Guardian’s podcasts is that they include a brief written piece that thoroughly summarizes the gist of the podcast. Additionally, if you find yourself without enough time to access the latest news online, both The Guardian’s constant Twitter updates and its mobile app make it easier to get the latest news.

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2.  Explainers

The Guardian has a strong explainer section, especially in the video category. All topics in the explainer section are a surprisingly balanced collection of both hard and soft news issues. In addition, The Guardian’s video explainer section ultimately makes it easier to fully comprehend what’s really happening behind both nationally and internationally controversial issues. A more recent example of this is the visual explainer The Guardian used to describe those who make up the British Windrush generation.

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3. Text and Visuals

The Guardian could improve the number of visuals they incorporate into their stories. Most written pieces only include one photo under the article’s header, while it would be more helpful and easier for the reader to process the written material if it were evenly complemented by additional relevant images. Not all of their articles are structured this way. Some include more visuals than others, but overall, I think readership would increase if blocks of text and images were properly combined.

4. Audience Assumptions

The primary audience of The Guardian typically involves educated individuals aged between 21-34-years-old. I feel that many of The Guardian’s articles automatically assume that the reader has certain knowledge of an ongoing political crisis, without first summarizing what the issue is and what it means. This is why “explainer” sections are extremely helpful when it comes to news sites. Though The Guardian has an “explainer” section under it’s video section, the explainer section doesn’t cover all of the controversial topics presented on the site’s home page. This isn’t to say The Guardian needs an explainer section for its written pieces, those same pieces can simply be made more comprehensible if The Guardian actively aims to do a stronger job of describing and summarizing the issue before delving into how it affected a particular official or aspect of a greater issue.

5. Moving forward

Ultimately, The Guardian has done an excellent job of honoring its mission–consistently organizing society for the common good, while working to open themselves to the concerns of the public. While it offers a variety of topics, including news, opinion, sport, culture and lifestyle, the publication also effectively covers news across several different platforms. The content presented in The Guardian, whether soft or hard news, is typically easy to digest; however, The Guardian could do a better job of including more helpful visuals to go along with their written pieces. Overall, The Guardian’s effort at giving a voice to the voiceless is clear.

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The Guardian Uses Captivating Visuals to Explain the Impact of China’s One-Child Policy

After the Chinese government decided to remove its one-child policy in 2015, the Guardian responded by implementing a different approach in describing the effects of the one-child policy–they included minimal text but copious visuals.

Originally published in 2015, the article included graphs and charts highlighting China’s decline of population growth, the decrease in the working age population, the increasing age dependency ratio and the gender imbalance that resulted from the 1980 one-child policy.

The data in the article was obtained from the United Nations and the World Bank.

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Overall, this article’s combination of both concise and informative summaries and its use of data visualization ultimately made it highly effective. I was able to simultaneously read the details and see them for myself. Additionally, all of the graphs and charts were accompanied by short, written descriptions that were easily digestible. Although there weren’t many colors other than blue and white, the visuals were nevertheless more interesting than extensive blocks and blocks of text.

Beyond Boston Strong Live Tweeting Event


Renowned journalists convened for a panel discussion amongst a relatively small audience Tuesday, April 10 at Suffolk University to discuss their experiences with the marathon that day and the journalistic work that spanned from the 2013 bombings.

The panelists included award-winning Boston Globe reporter David Abel, VICE writer Dave Wedge, independent journalist Susan Zalkind and photojournalist and Suffolk University professor Ken Martin. The event was hosted by The New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the discussion moderated by Jordan Frias, the president of the New England chapter.

The panel was especially intriguing in that it presented many different perspectives, experiences and lessons that the journalists had endured both leading up to, during and after the bombings.

Dave Abel said he covered the impact of the bombing for up to a year after it took place. He included that his main focus after the bombing was to focus more on the stories of the individuals who survived and less on the person behind the bombing.

Susan Zalkind said, when covering tragic events, it’s important to be in touch with the grief others are experiencing, while maintaining your duty as a professional reporter.

Later during the discussion while the panelists shared advice about reporting and journalism, Dave Wedge said that journalism is about much more than simply getting the story.

“It’s about human connection at the end of the day, and respect,” Wedge said.

Overall, the event was amazing in that it combined both separate and similar experiences from different journalists and writers into one powerful mission–to reflect upon and learn from the Boston Marathon bombings.



The Guardian’s Tweets

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The Guardian reports on breaking news through many different avenues. While the site is mainly divided into the news, sports, opinion, culture and lifestyle sections, it also covers the most recent, or breaking, news through mobile micro-blogging tactics like Twitter. While The Guardian’s London office also uses a Facebook page for news coverage, Twitter is by far its most efficient means of covering breaking news.

One of the most recent stories The Guardian efficiently reported on was a Venezuelan fire that killed 68 people in the cells of a police station. The Guardian tweeted about the tragic event at 6:19 a.m. and posted a video on the “Americas” tab of their world news section to describe the story in further detail.

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This heart wrenching video added the visual component to the initial tweet and ultimately revealed the emotional toll the fire took on families and loved ones. The Guardian followed up with a written piece to accompany the video.

Overall, this unfortunate story was efficiently reported on first through Twitter. The simple act of mobile reporting got the news of what had occurred out in a timely manner. The Guardian later effectively added its visual and written components to the story.

Mark Zuckerberg Apologizes for Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday that Facebook will be changing the way it shares data with third-party applications, according to a story written by Julia Wong of The Guardian.

Roughly 50 million American users had their personal data breached and shared with political consultancies, according to a report by the Observer. Zuckerberg additionally expressed in a Facebook post that this misuse of data was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.” He acknowledged Facebook’s mistakes but reassured its users that the company had already made corrections to some of the rules that enabled the breach.

The scandal, mainly involving a UK third party called Cambridge Analytica, occurred as a result of certain Facebook policies from 2007 to 2014 that allowed third-party applications to obtain personal data about users and their connections. Although Facebook made a major effort to reduce the amount of access to such data in 2014, a Cambridge University researcher ended up extracting the personal data of roughly 50 million people and selling it to Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg has promised to carefully examine the third party applications that had such access and to significantly reduce the amount of data access those applications receive when Facebook users use their profiles to get into these sites. Facebook has additionally promised to notify those whose data was exploited.

Overall, unless Zuckerberg and Facebook honor their assurances of protecting their users’ data and information, they could potentially experience a decrease in the number of people who use Facebook. This scandal, if not handled correctly and efficiently, could negatively affect the business side of this social media app.


Visual Newstrack 3/1

Talia Herman-The Guardian

This article delves into the issue of homeless life in California. Described from the perspective of Leilani Farha, a UN special reporter on adequate housing, the story reveals the extent to which the homeless situation has increased in San Francisco. Written by Alastair Gee, the story also reveals that 7,500 homeless people were counted in the city last year and that the city had installed numerous sheds housing about 35 people on patches of gravel. The photos displayed in the article ultimately give it a stronger emotional appeal. The desktop version, as compared to the mobile version, is definitely more effective.

An article that could’ve benefitted from more visuals was one that discussed Portland’s gentrification issue. Although the first photo below the headline and the second photo toward the middle of the story are visually appealing, The Guardian should’ve included maybe two or three more photos that furthered the reader’s understanding of how significant the issue is in Portland.


The Guardian’s Mission Involves the Common Good



The Guardian aims to embrace an array of progressive perspectives. Although it is primarily left-of-center, it additionally supports and publishes voices from the right. In the countries of the U.S., Britain and Australia, one of The Guardian’s key aims “will be to challenge the economic assumptions of the past three decades, which have extended market values such as competition and self-interest far beyond their natural sphere and seized the public realm,” said Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner. This media outlet also strives to organize society for the common good, while working to open their ears to the concerns of the public.

Dreamers Could Receive Alternate Route To Citizenship, Trump Says

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Prior to President Trump’s arrival to Davos, Switzerland, he told a group of reporters yesterday that he would endorse a plan that proposed an alternative route to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) recipients, according to The Guardian.

During the briefing, Trump included that he would allow Dreamers to gain membership over a period of time—a period that would last about “10 or 12” years, according to Trump.

Although Trump previously discarded the idea of providing young, undocumented immigrants with citizenship, he is now proposing a “legislative framework” that he believes members of both parties will endorse, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

This article was strong in that it presented the overall context of Daca, as well as Trump’s recent and current responses to the idea of its recipients securing citizenship. I also enjoyed reading quotes from different sources throughout the story. It ultimately gave me a stronger understanding of the issue.

LGBT Rights and Health Event Story

Professors Michael Ulrich and Julia Raifman sought to answer whether baking a cake constitutes as free speech in their discussion and analysis of the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission this past Tuesday afternoon.

The event, entitled “LGBT Rights and Health” and organized by Jessica Walsh, the Center Coordinator for the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, attracted more than 150 people to the Keefer Auditorium at Boston University’s (BU) Medical Campus. The discussion additionally examined how United States laws have affected LGBT health.

The case involves the Colorado Masterpiece Cakeshop baker, Jack Phillips, and the same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig. In July 2012, the couple attempted to order a wedding cake from Masterpiece Bakery, but were refused by the owner, Phillips, after he asserted that selling them the cake served as a violation of his firmly held religious beliefs. Phillips offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake or to make them any other kind of baked good, but maintained that he couldn’t support same-sex marriage by baking the couple a cake, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Michael Ulrich, an assistant professor of health law, policy and management, began the discussion by offering the audience a broad understanding of the case, and continued by laying out the arguments on both sides.

“The big question here is, does baking a cake equal speech?” Ulrich said.

He then analyzed the arguments in favor of the baker and included that Phillips and his attorneys are establishing their case off the fact that cake is speech. Ulrich expressed that the argument also stems from the claim that Phillip’s refusal to sell the cake due to his religious beliefs was ultimately a form of speech itself.

Ulrich added that the best way for Phillips and his attorneys to bypass the opposing arguments is to firmly contend that cake is speech.

“Speech was the best way to do that,” Ulrich said. “There is a strong disfavor in allowing the government to compel speech from people, particularly speech that they do not agree with and they don’t believe in.”

Ulrich continued, explaining that one of the primary arguments in favor of the couple ultimately revealed that if cakes are considered free speech, then many other things can also be associated with free speech.

“That opens the door for people to say, ‘well I’m not going to provide my product or service to you because this violates my religious belief,’” Ulrich said.

Julia Raifman, an assistant professor of health law, policy and management, extended the discussion with a presentation on the relationship between LGBT rights and health.

Raifman spoke about the changes in LGBT rights over the past few years and how most of her research is based on the Fundamental Cause Theory. She went on to relate fundamental causes to structural stigma and later explained how they relate to LGBT mental health.

“Structural stigma [are] the social conditions, cultural norms, and especially the institutional policies and practices that can strain opportunities, resources and well being,” Raifman said.

Raifman included that these structural stigma, such as higher structural stigma at the state or national level, affect structural stigma at lower level institutions like schools, hospitals, and families and peers. This is what leads to health disparities in LGBT communities, according to Raifman.

She also presented studies that indicated the correlations between recent laws and their effects on LGBT mental health. Raifman added that same-sex marriage laws typically improved LGBT mental health, while same-sex bans were associated with mental harm.

Raifman concluded the forum by addressing the following question: “Is it a cake or is it just structural stigma?”

“I think what the evidence shows is that whether discrimination takes the shape of a cake or a marriage license, or an adoption, that LGBT rights are linked to health and that is relevant to this story,” said Raifman.

The New York Times Cliches (12/7)

China Scolds Australia Over Fears About Foreign Meddling 

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The new legislation, modeled on American laws that ban foreign campaign donations and require registration of foreign agents, had been widely expected after a drumbeat of stories in the Australian news media about the perceived threat of Chinese interference.

China Scolds Australia Over Fears About Foreign Meddling 

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Both have zeroed in on China as a threat, accusing the country of trying to exert influence through political donations and pressure applied to Chinese students at Australian universities.

China Scolds Australia Over Fears About Foreign Meddling 

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China has long treated Australia asa laboratory for soft power experiments, flexing its economic muscle, sending students to study at its universities and creating organizations with close ties to the Communist Party,