Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Babe Ruth hits 60th Homer

NOTE: This is a repost of my blog. My original copy, which I posted on March 8, somehow got deleted.

On September 30, 1927, New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth hit his historic sixtieth home run in Yankee Stadium, breaking his 1921 record of 59. Around this time, the issue of objectivity arose as journalists began questioning the capability of facts to hold their own ground. During this period, “a sense of community or of the public had no transcendent significance and… one responded to other people as objects” (Schudson, 121). But newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times helped to establish New York’s sense in community following Ruth’s accomplishment. While The Post simply presents inning-by-inning coverage, The Times captures the significance of Ruth’s home run to not just the city of New York, but to Ruth himself, especially after the suggestion that “the King of Clout would have to postpone his record breaking clout.”[1]

Though both stories feature one picture of Ruth and none of either the home run or the celebration afterwards, reading about “the spirit of celebration [that] permeated the place”[2] can substitute for those pictures. Furthermore, readers may experience a great feeling that was felt when Barry Bonds hit his record 756th home run in 2007, breaking Hank Aaron’s previous record of 755. The Times also incorporates the exploits of Manhattan resident Joe Forner, who happened to catch the ball that night. The story also contains a very intriguing aspect: Emphasis on Washington Senators pitcher Tom Zachary as Ruth’s “victim.”[3] It’s stated that after Zachary failed to strike Ruth out, he “turned to his mates for consolation and got everything but that.”[4] Amidst all the celebration that occurred in Yankee Stadium, the writer momentarily focuses on Zachary’s disappointment and his infamous recognition as the man who pitched Babe Ruth his sixtieth home run.

Surprisingly, both articles lack comments from Babe Ruth, his fellow teammates, and the fans. While it’s great to read about Ruth’s happiness as he ran all the bases “with a grin a yard wide on his face,”[5] it would have been better to hear him discuss what thoughts were running through his mind as he was up to bat, as Bonds did minutes after hitting his 756th home run. Probably the most interesting comments would have come from Zachary himself, but his disappointment at the end of the game would most likely indicate that he didn’t have any. Still, any comments could have produced what Yumi Wilson, my newswriting professor, called “kicker endings” for both stories.

Ruth’s recognition following the home run is reminiscent of that received by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. Whenever he steps into the ring, even if anything isn’t mentioned in an article, photos are usually provided showing all the excitement and pandemonium his fans in the Philippines create whenever he wins, just as the fans at Yankee Stadium did for Ruth. In a country that is unfortunately plagued by poverty, Pacquiao brings hope to all the Filipinos as “the people’s champion,” and while Ruth may have not been given that prestigious title, he may have brought hope into some of the lives of the people who saw him play ball. Whether they boxed or played baseball, both men showed the world why they’re true champions and heroes.

[1] “Ruth Hits 60th Home Run To Break His Own Record.” The Washington Post. Oct. 1, 1927. pp. 15
[2] “Ruth Crashes 60th To Set New Record.” The New York Times. Oct. 1, 1927. pp. 12.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] “Ruth Hits 60th Home Run To Break His Own Record.” The Washington Post. Oct. 1, 1927. pp. 15

The Fall of Berlin

The Berlin wall built in 1961 to separate East and West Germany. The fight to bring it down began as soon as it came up. At midnight on November 9th, 1989, East Germany's Communist rulers gave permission for the walls gates to be opened. The East Germans were greeted by the West Germans as the gates were opened. Although the wall was still physically up on this day, figuratively it was down. Germans could now pass through with a Visa and didn't have to take a detour through Czechoslovakia.
Two big newspapers at the time were on the front lines, ready to cover it. The Washington Post and the New York Times both came out with stories the next day, telling the world what happened.
In the New York Times article, A Jubilant Horde, the writer begins with a light, happy summary of what happened the night of November 9th, 1989. The writer adds in excitement some words about the celebration and happiness the Germans endured and that the guards were not checking Visas, but in fact just smiling and taking snapshots of the historic event. Then the writer dips into some detail. He shares the statement of Gunter Schabowski, a member of the Politburo, in his decision to grant the Germans access quickly and with out preconditions, "we know this need of citizens to leave the country... the decision was taken that makes it possible for all citizens to leave the country through East German crossing points. " The writer adds interesting facts relevant to the wall, then continues to the history of how this came about ever since 1961. This article seemed to be framed around all readers. It is an informative article, that gives the facts but it is also enjoyable and easy to read. By the time the reader is finish, he/she has a solid understanding of who, what, when, where, how.
In the Washington Post article, East Germany Opens the Gate, the write begins with the joke, "East Germans no longer have to climb out the back window to leave home." The writer then spends the entire article, mixing opinion with facts, "They will still have to pass heavily guarded gates that they know could be shut down again at any moment." The writer has no source for this information, which may make the reader skeptical of it. Some other opinions of the writer present in the article are: "The Berlin wall is one of the ugliest monuments in the world", "because it [the government] fears that the alternative might be a violent explosion", "freedom of movement can be established immediately if the regime is courageous", "perhaps if Germany and the world are fortunate, the next great advance will be at the Berlin wall." Although this writer includes many facts, the amount of opinion that is present turns to be potentially persuasive.
Between the two articles the New York Times did a greater job and doing its job, telling the news.

East Germany Opens the Gate : http://0-proquest.umi.com.opac.sfsu.edu/pqdweb?index=0&did=734242562&SrchMode=2&sid=2&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1237338143&clientId=17866
East Germany's Great Awakening : http://0-proquest.umi.com.opac.sfsu.edu/pqdweb?index=3&did=114934338&SrchMode=2&sid=1&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1237338084&clientId=17866

Monday, March 16, 2009

MLK Jr's death not invain

While assassinations of important and historical people are not anything new in the American history, the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. was undeniably another tragic turning point in our history. Similar to the late President Kennedy’s assassination news headlines, the murder of MLK Jr. described the most important facts the public or reader would want to know… who he was with, who shot him and why. What were the details, when it was and other important preceding information to follow… who was survived by the victim, what does this mean for the American people and history and more importantly what does this change and what now.

It was on April 4, 1968 at approximately 6:01 pm a shot was fired and Martin Luther King Jr. who was standing on the Balcony of his room at a local motel in Memphis TN. It was described the MLK was shot in the neck, and next to him was Reverend Jesse Jackson. It was amazing to me how fast they got the shots of the late MLK. One shot was him in the stretcher and another of Reverend Jackson and some other people pointing out the direction of where the shot came from. It’s as if photojournalists or photographers just happened to be at the right place at the right time, but sadly in MLK’s case it was the complete opposite.
As a usual notion for many papers to do is to revisit and reprint some sort scenarios from the murder of these prominent and historical figures. Of course the time frame is an important factor. Whether we are celebrating what could have been their 60th or so birthday anniversary, or simply just their death anniversary.
One thing that separated JFK’s assassination from MLK was the lack of riots. Preceding Doctor Martin Luther King Jr’s shooting it was reported that many violence and riots followed. While both men help change the nation historically Martin Luther King was mourned by thousands of colored people. “In outrage of the murder, many blacks took to the streets across the country in a massive way of riots.” (Jennifer Rosendberg LA times January 2007)
I do not imagine any other story that would compare with this two. The heaviness and importance of this surreal tragedy forever changed the history and existence of our nation. A story I feel that should have made the top news stories of the century up to date would be Presidents Obama’s victory and the way he change the nation’s color margin today. Obama’s presidency not only showed that anything is possible in the land of the free but also, more importantly, I think it portrayed that the death of Kennedy and MLK Jr. was not for granted, it was honored and it still in our minds today. Both American legends- JFK and MLK JR. are gone but never forgotten.