Suicidal Golfing

Once again I have looked Outside the Lines reporting to see how they frame their stories and report them.

Outside the Lines

The piece from OTL that I looked at was ‘ Erica’s Story.’

Journalistically:


The reason why this piece of journalism stood out to me was because of the taboo topic of suicide that is discussed. You have a young professional golfer with all the talent in the world, and she commits suicide because ‘she feels lonely.’ And the journalist who takes on a story like this has to figure out the main question that will open the can of worms: What does ‘being lonely’ even mean? And once that question is answered then you can figure out the source of the depression, warning signs, and the root of the problems.

The root of the problems however were difficult for the journalist, Colleen Dominguez, to come by. Some of the people closest to her seemed like they didn’t want to talk: not the best friend, Cho and neither of the married men. Cho saw Blasberg right before her death and saw all the signs and didn’t want to deal with it. Both men seem to have affected her decision as well, but didn’t want to talk to Dominguez. So at first glance, the story wasn’t there, but Mel Blasberg, Erica’s father spoke out and made the story.

The interview with her father, was well framed and well done. He came out and was forced to defend his actions in pushing his daughter toward golf and that lifestyle. In addition to the father, the research put into the story is what made the story quality. The info about the phone records, suicide note, court documents, as well as other things, really show how much work was put into this story. Overall, the story that was finished product was the best possible piece of journalism, considering the so few amount of sources willing to talk to OTL.

What set this story apart from others was the story became real from the opening video of Erica screaming and yelling into the camera. And then the story turned, finding out she died. The 9-1-1 phone call and the pictures, all made the story a million times better, but the writing to the video was superb. The story frame set up the viewer with surprise, after surprise, after surprise. Whether it was finding out who was on the other side of the 9-1-1 call or the fact that she had an affair with two married men, the viewer had no idea what was coming next. Nothing was given away to early and made the viewer stick with the story.

Visually:

The visual graphics for the story really were done well. They earned some style points for the way pictures were presented and the video to start the story, but there was one problem. The problem was that there was only one picture of the first man. Sometimes you can’t help it because that is all there is access to, but I think through connections another picture at least could have been found.

The stand-up on the golf course was meant as a transition, and was very good, but it was very similar to the other OTL stories I have watched. Most of the stand-ups done on OTL consist of an empty course, field, or court, which makes sense to have the sports connection with it, but maybe something to show or demonstrate what she is talking about might have helped.

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