Monday, February 20, 2012

Who's Counting Anyway?

Last week in class we discussed making the most of our words and looked at the 300 word stories. We also looked at the two very long stories that covered the Zanesville animals. All of those stories were very different because of their length, but each were written with the purpose of describing in powerful detail. Which do readers really prefer? Does length really have that much of an impact on the readers? Does anyone like to sit down and read a six page story? Are we doing readers a favor by keeping them short and leaving out detail? I found this story on The New York Times website and I was instantly drawn into it because of how unique of a story it was. In this instance I liked all of the detail because there was so much involved in this story and I wanted to know everything. What do you guys think?

This Story is about 60 people involved in a large kidney transplant swap.
Here's the link :


  1. Wow. I think this is maybe the most newsworthy of all that we've seen on this blog. Usually, we find the "if it bleeds, it reads" articles, or at least I know I am always drawn to them. But this article is so hopeful and its a true story about miracles actually occurring. This is the kind of thing that more newspapers and websites need to jump on to keep their readers.

    It is long, but it starts out with the story to draw the reader in and then continues by weaving the story into details and facts about donating, the people that need them, and the trouble that is sometimes associated with the donation process. I think that because of the rich content, once the reader gets into the story I don't think that they will put it down.

  2. Personally, I found this article powerful and a very interesting read. I think all of the individual anecdotes were all executed very well and the first few pages do a good job telling the bigger picture of the story. Rarely does journalism offer solutions to the problems in our society, but I think this story hits that right out of the ball park.

    However, I do question whether the mainstream audience would find this story appealing. While it is interesting, very few people have the time or patience to sit down and read something like that. I think there needs to be a good mix between long expo say pieces like this and the short quick reads in the paper.

  3. I thought this story was amazing. Sure it was long but it brought up a story that was captivating and was breath of fresh air from most of the negative stories we see in the news now.
    The different stories of all the people involved was great and I thought the writer did a great job weaving in and out of their stories. My favorite one is the one about the 66 year old woman who got her Kidney in Saint Barnabas in Livingston, NJ because that's where I was born! I know I'm just biased that way.
    The length of the story would still be an issue to the average reader however. I feel like the story won't get the attention it deserves because a lot of readers would quit after the first couple of pages, although I think they would do it grudgingly. It's the perfect feel good story to read while on the plane or a long bus/train ride.

  4. This story is newsworthy, and a rather compelling read, but for the average reader, it is way too long. Most people don't have the time in one sitting to read straight through this story. I think it would have been better fit for a magazine, but the New York Times does reach a larger audience than the average heath magazine would.

    I enjoyed reading about the various people and how they were all connected. It really shows that there is still good in humanity and that people are willing to do selfless acts.

    I think this story does a great job showing the inside world of kidney transplants. Stories like this will make people more aware and possibly willing to help out.

  5. Although this story was long, it had a great pull throughout the story. It kept me interested and at a few different points, I got chills. Its just a unique story that is truly heartwarming and just gives you a feeling of hope in people.

    I'm not sure if anyone else watched the video that went a long with it, but i thought that this multimedia aspect was really well done and further showed the human and personal element of this story. It followed one person specifically and showed how and why these swaps take place. I enjoyed the visual.

    Over all, I thought this was a well written, newsworthy story that you don't often hear. I really liked the entire piece and learned a lot from reading the article.

  6. This is a very well written story, and although it did run pretty long I was generally interested throughout.

    The human element we talked about in class is illustrated pretty clearly here.

    I do think length matters to the average reader. Perhaps we’re so interested because we’re journalism majors; it’s not hard for me to imagine someone I know saying something like,”It was so interesting but I just wasn’t ready to commit to the whole story."

  7. I found this story compelling. I thought the opening reeled me into the piece quickly. It went along well with the types of leads that were discussed on Monday's lecture.

    I couldn't imagine what it would be like to give up and donate a body part to a stranger, but it's touching, and that's what I liked about the story. It's interesting to think about how you are immediately connected to someone else's life when you donate something like a kidney, and you don't even know that person. I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if I went into surgery, and I received the heart of a person who died in a car crash...

    The length of the story was slightly overwhelming, but I pushed through. The quote, "This chain ends, but another one begins," was a nice way to end the story.

  8. I found this story very interesting, and i think the length was necessary. First off, this story could have easily been boiled down to a headline, a paragraph. 60 person kidney chain goes off, or something along those lines. However, when we take the time to get into the backstory of what took place to set this up, we learn more and are more fulfilled. The story becomes much more important, so we can see why this works, why it may work in the future, and what it means for the medical community. And even further, when we learn of the people taking part, of the families, the participants, then we get that human connection. Yes, this is an important news event due to its medical significance, but its easy to forget what it really means. Here are 60 people who are alive now, who would've been dead. 60 families who are not torn apart, suffering through tragedy. It's one of those hopeful stories that we so rarely see, and I think the length is totally justified.