Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fall Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin wall was historical. It ended the 28 year separation between east and west Germany. It’s probably considered at top news story of the 20th century because it signified the end of the Cold War’s last major incident. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was built, dividing the city of Berlin into two and dividing Germany into East and West Germany. The fall of the “Iron Curtain” ended division, and was part of the end of the Cold War.
Comparing anything contemporary to the fall of the Berlin Wall is difficult, but if there any that would resemble it, it would probably be the capture of Saddam Hussein and the fall of his political power. Though two separate events, both events dealt with politics and some sort of shift in power. While the decision to make treaties with each other does not compare to the downfall of Hussein, it is similar in that certain citizens of Iraq were able to enjoy more freedom. The war is still going on but a way of co-existing amongst each other in Iraq is progressing just as it did for the German states.

Thousands of people celebrated the fall of the wall. Many citizens of East Berlin, originally from the west, traveled within the first few days across the border back to their homes.

The New York Time’s approach to the story was celebratory. The reporter talked to many people on both sides of the wall, as well as got quotes from the Mayor of West Berlin. The story mostly is written as a straight news story. It was framed around the people crossing the border to go back to their homeland. The New York Times breaks the story into five sections: the fall of the wall, people crossing, the history behind the wall, the fate of the wall, and people who are skeptic of the incident. The New York Times’ coverage dealt more with first person accounts of the event, instead of secondary sources.

The LA Times covered the fall of the Berlin Wall differently. They, like the New York Times, covered the celebration of East and West Germans. The LA Times also looked at President Bush’s reaction to the incident. The story was structured closer to home, with President Bush hailing the opening of the border. Most of the people attributed in this story were U.S. government officials, such as President Bush, congress members, and at least three senators. In the article with President Bush hailing the border’s opening, President Bush was quoted that he never saw this change in politics change as soon as they did. In this article, the wall was not yet broken down at the time of this article but sources in Congress already had speculation that the opening would lead to the destruction of the wall.

Both reporters for these stories should have had more contact ambassadors from neighboring countries and reported on their thoughts on the situation. I feel that getting more government official thoughts would have made the story more two-sided. Each article focused too much on one point of view, whether it was through the eyes of government or the eyes of citizens.

Both, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times covered several different articles in their November 9th issues, in 1989.

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