Bullied to Death in Americas Schools written by Jim Dubreuil and Eamon McNiff for the online edition of ABC News. The article was selected based on two important factors. First is the respectability of the news outfit it was published. ABC News is a credible news organization and have years of experience in news reportage. Secondly, the article aims to influence policy on bullying by providing authoritative and compelling stories and arguments that require attention and action both from the public and policymakers.
As a news organization, ABC News and its correspondents are trusted sources of accurate and up-to-date issues in America and elsewhere. As a national media organization, it is a given for the organization to maintain standards of journalistic excellence, in addition to mechanisms that ensure ethics in news reporting. Reputation and track record are the two crucial elements that give a mantle of authority to any news published or broadcasted in all of its media platforms. Take the case of the article. It satisfies the elements of complete and professional news writing by answering the questions, who, what, where, when, why and how. This barometer in reportage may be obviously simple but it remains to be the fundamental basis of professional news writing. The facts were presented credibly by citing authoritative sources or when a point is being raised, it is backed by concrete evidence and not hear says. For instance, the authors wrote that bullying has spun out of control. They supported this claim by citing a statement from the U.S. Department of Education declaring that the problem is becoming an epidemic, causing “160,000 children a day to stay home from school because they are afraid of being .bullied.” Finally, the authors ensured that the whole article was comprehensive, detailing numerous background information, corroborative evidences and as many sources as possible. The website also provided mechanisms wherein readers and concerned individuals could contact the editorial department for issues such as accuracy or for information contribution, in addition to the comment functionality where the readers could express their own opinion on the article.
Objectivity in article writing can only be achieved by making the story as balanced as possible. This means that all attempts should be made to get and present both sides of the issue. This is what happened in the case of the article. A great deal of space was devoted to chronicling the victims side in the bullying controversy. However, the authors did not fail in trying to take the explanations and positions of the other party. For example, the reporters stated that “ABC News asked school authorities for an interview but they declined.” This was in response to a quote of one of the victims parents who claimed that the school administrators did nothing to stop bullying even when a complaint has been filed for action. The article may have focused much on the experiences of the victim, however, the emphasis came with the unwillingness of the concerned schools to respond and defend themselves. In addition, the emphasis was also designed to illustrate the need for policy networks to take action.
The article is updated especially when the reader look at three important elements. First, there is the articles subject, Tyler Long, the most recent bullying victim that catapulted the issue to national attention. Secondly, there is the reference to the current lack of policy and statutes that cover bullying. Citing new sources, the article demonstrated currency. Take the case of the following quote:
“Victims of bullying like the Longs who find no relief on a local level have few options at the federal level either, said Kevin Jennings, the U.S. Department of Educations Safe School Czar. ‘When its harassment based on sex or race or ability, we can intervene. But on other issues, there actually is no national policy or no national law,’ said Jennings.”
Finally, new information were also provided, such as the grim statistics, bullying projections and fresh insights coming from authorities. An excellent example to illustrate this point is the citation of Alliance School. It was explained, that “At Alliance, respect for individual differences is part of the culture and required behavior. Teachers are trained to intervene immediately in conflicts. What is accepted at other schools, such as “kids being kids,” is not tolerated at Alliance.”
All in all, Bullied to Death in Americas Schools, is a balanced and compelling article that both enlighten and educate its readers. It reported the story of bullying victims and how it claimed innocent lives. With the obvious writers empathy for the bullying victims and their loved ones, they were able to keep bias out of the story. The name of the bullies were not mentioned, the schools were not criticized. The writers intended to impart information. They also wanted to inform authorities and encourage them to take action. Both of these objectives were realized, making the bullying story the best source so far in my research on bullying.
Dubreuil, Jim and McNiff, Eamon. (2011). “Bullied to Death in Americas Schools” ABC News. Accessed 26 October 2011 http://abcnews.go.