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American Homicides: Not As Deadly, But Better Off

1018 words - 4 pages

On January 8th, 1992, Time magazine published an article by David Elaine Ellis where, in review of the records of the previous year, they found that in 1991 America had it's “deadliest year yet.” This broke the previous record of per-capita homicides with over 25,000 murders. (Ellis, P.18) Eighteen years later, Time magazine did another article, written by David Drehele, but this time taking the time to cover all crimes, including the homicide rate and to quote them on the subject, “Last year's murder rate may be the lowest since the mid-1960s, according to preliminary statistics released by the Department of Justice.” (Drehele. Par.2). Aside from pointing out that the overall crime rate, and by extension murder rate, has actually declined since that record breaking year of 1991, the stark contrast in the both the articles' respective styles and overall format and structure varies greatly. There could be many explanations for such a stark contrast in style in those eighteen years, but the greatest change to the journalism world, and what probably had the most profound effect on Time's reporting style is the widespread use of the internet, and the new web culture that has affected everything, most notably journalism.
The first thing one can notice is the overall style and tone of the the two articles on this rather grim subject. The original article tries to be very factual and to the point, but there is a subtle negative tone that one can pick up on when reading it, and is most notable near the end, when Ellis tells us that at the very end of the year, when many were celebrating, several seemed to turn and fire upon others in an almost heartless manner. (Ellis. Par.8) Even their phrasing on various statistics varies greatly. One can see that in Drehele's article, he states that record breaking statistic as only about 10 murders out of 100,000 people in the population. (Drehele. Par. 1). Looking back at Ellis on the same numbers, his wording is very different, saying that that the statistics report over 25,000 homicides, breaking the previous record of 23,440. His use of large numbers conveys a sense of dread, giving the article a rather dark and helpless feel. Whereas in Drehele's article, the entire thing seems rather hopeful and optimistic, through that could be because the article is more of a retrospective look at all of those subjects. But, that is neither here nor there.
The web culture has changed many things between the two articles, the first to notice being the length of the two of them. Back in 1992, the magazine articles had to reduce themselves to only 1-2 pages, in order to allow all the stories to be presented. This lead to a lot of details being cropped out, as even though the article from '92 does go into some detail, there is much more that could be said about the subject. But, due to modern technology and culture, the more recent article spans up to four pages, going into great detail about numerous facets related to...

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