JR 240 Assignment No. 2: Game Stories Critique

By Annie Jenkins

It was a re-rematch of the “Touchception” Sept. 24, 2012 debacle.

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This time around, it was every bit as intense and went down to the wire, as the Green Bay Packers fell 28-22 to the Seattle Seahawks in OT in the 2015 NFC Championship. [Disclaimer: I’m a Packers fan.]

Now while I thought Loss to Seahawks difficult to explain from Packers.com and Seahawks stun Packers in OT, headed to Super Bowl from NFL.com were interesting reads, I’m not including them as part of my analysis because these three articles below provided better content to compare/contrast and I’ll explain why:

In the FOX Sports Wisconsin game story, the pro-Packers recap makes sense because it is from the local Wisconsin beat. Packers beat writer Paul Imig used a more feature-like approach to publish his piece a few hours after the game ended on Jan. 18. It included quotes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ postgame presser to give a more intimate insider feel to the text. I would have liked this story better had it also included game quotes from head coach Mike McCarthy on his [awful] red zone play calls.

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The SB Nation article had a headline (one of the only I found in my Internet search) that talked about the Seahawks winning, rather than the Packers losing the game. Even so, “saved their season” indicates that Seahawks were on the verge of losing. SB Nation columnist Danny Kelly posted his story the next day (Jan. 19) in the morning and used more of a hard-news style, giving a detailed narration of the game’s final three minutes plus overtime. I liked how the bolded text and game times worked to make “chapters” in the recap.

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This article was the best for consumption because it was clean, organized and very thorough with the account of the game, despite Kelly admitting in his bio he is a Seahawks fan. The nut graf summary at the top of the page is what I liked best about this piece. It’s vital to nab your readers’ attention from the start. Using descriptive language heightens the intensity and plays to the drama for a game that punches a ticket to the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks were outgunned by the Packers in a do-or-die NFC Championship game for 57 minutes. Then, Russell Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch on a 26-yard pass and everything changed. Danny Kelly breaks down the biggest comeback in a conference championship game. (SB Nation summary)

The third article, posted by Bleacher Report is a more generic approach with no favor of either team, providing readers with game highlights, lots of multimedia elements and less of a bias. I think it intended to give the average football fan a very detailed account of what happened in the game. Featured columnist Kenny DeJohn used a very visual, play-by-play approach with multimedia elements tucked into his piece to supplement his analysis. This article was almost too much for me to consume all at once. I felt as though I was drowning in all the videos, pictures and Twitter screenshots.

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However, the online news world is transitioning to a place where we take advantage of using multimedia elements to beef up content. For someone who came to Bleacher Report to find out what happened in the game, 6.3 K people viewed the page according to the site statistics. The conversational, narrative tone and interactive media and graphics contributed in an informative way.

The lead sentences of the three articles read as follows:

The Green Bay Packers were less than four minutes away from advancing to their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history. (-FOX Sports Wisconsin)

 

The wild finish to the NFC Championship game will go down as one of the most unlikely and unbelievable comebacks in NFL history. (-SB Nation)

 

What. A. Game. (-Bleacher Report)

While each of these leads are different, they all suggest that something dramatic occurred in the game. Each lead draws in the reader, which is why choosing a hook is so important. It makes sense that the FOX Sports Wisconsin article focused on how the Packers let the game slip away. All three openings included numbers relevant to the game, the score, the yardage, timing and statistics– which is what I would expect to find in a football game recap.

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