Nuclear threat is a scary topic that no one wants to hear or read about. Yet, it is currently spreading all over the world through every media source making it hard to ignore. The main point of this paper is to not focus only on nuclear threat, but to instead pay close attention to how different authors are using certain genres to talk about the importance of nuclear threat and the different techniques they use to inform the audience. They use techniques to attract those that are interested in the security of the nation to read their works, and for them to learn new things in regard to current nuclear threat events.
In short, authors use features to make their genre unique such as structure, word choice, and rhetorical devices because it allows them to convey their message that nuclear threat is an important issue. One of the most common feature that some newspaper articles follow is the formulaic newspaper structure. A news article from the New York Times, “ As Nuclear Security Summit Begins, Materials Remain Vulnerable to Theft” by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad is an example of a formulaic structure. The format starts off with an interesting headline to grab the readers attention; followed by the byline that tells who wrote the article.
It is then followed by the lead paragraph that explains the main point of the story by describing who, what, when, where, why and how. The significance of writing an interesting headline is that it attracts a person that is concern with the safety of the nation to continue reading the article rather than just skimming through it. Another example that follows the same format is an article from the Los Angeles Times, “Summit underscores Obama’s mixed results on nuclear security” by Michael A. Memoli and Tracy Wilkinson.
It has the exact structure as the article above and aims at achieving the same goal of informing the public that fears a nuclear war. Their objective is to have the most appealing story detailing current events on nuclear threat by having a well-organized story. Having a general formulaic format facilitates the readers choice between choosing to read an article written by either LAT or NYT. This is due to the fact that the reader is already accustomed to the specific features of each press that they already know what to expect.
In addition, a peculiar thing that both newspaper articles differentiate in is that they begin the lead paragraph with either an uppercase word “ WASHINGTON” or upper case letter “P”. LAT uses the uppercase letter, while NYT uses the uppercase word. This difference demonstrates that although they use the same format and genre, they have certain techniques to differentiate themselves. The readers interested in this topic understand that both the medias style of convention is different from one another, but still focus on the same story.
This affects the way a person may perceive a story written by NYT unappealing to read because they may not like the way that it starts off its story with a big capitalize word, and may feel that LAT has done a better job by only using one uppercase letter and not distracting them from the overall reading. In contrast, the format of a story can at times be flexible. An example of a flexible format is a blog post from the nuclearrisk. org website, “ Defusing the Nuclear Threat” by Martin E. Hellman, a professor at Stanford University.
The structure of the blog is different from that of a newspaper article because it is open to the author’s writing preference. It does not follow a specific format and allows the author to structure it to his own style. For example, Hellman provides a table of contents at the beginning of his blog in which he lists what he is going to focus on and what his blog is about. This is a more rational approach because it saves the reader from having to read a whole newspaper section to figure out the main point. His table of contents includes, “How risky are nuclear weapons, Isn’t the Cold War over, What role can individual play…” (nuclearrisk. rg).
Letting the reader know beforehand what they should expect in the blog story allows them to make a quick decision whether they are interested enough to read it or not. The title of the articles serve the same purpose and support each others claims that nuclear threat is a major issue. Another example of a blog that is flexible is from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) website “Doctors should still care about the threat of nuclear weapons” by Juan Carlos Chirgwin. This blog entry is slightly shorter than other blogs, but still expresses the main concern over nuclear war and its importance.
Rather than having to write a whole story to get the message across, Juan Carlos shows that it is possible to shorten a message but still have an impact within the audience. Even more, it provides a comment section where those who worry about a nuclear threat in their country can express their opinions on the issue, as well as to critique or support the author. In comparison, a newspaper article does not provide the option for readers to express their opinions on the subject or on the author’s stance. Another significant element used to grab the readers’ attention is the use of rhetorical devices.
Authors have an option of using logos, ethos, and pathos, which helps attract the audience by using logic, credibility, and emotion in their writing. The NYT article, “ As Nuclear Security Summit Begins, Materials Remain Vulnerable to Theft” achieves this goal by implementing pathos. Sanger and Broad remark, “…especially in Belgium, where the attacks last week killed more than 30 people” (New York Times). This helps ensure that the audience feels sympathy for the victims and are aware of the importance of a nuclear threat.
By using pathos the writers emotionally manipulate the audience and engage them to know more about the importance of nuclear threat. Writers are selective about the evidence that they use in their writing to make sure it has a positive impact in their story. Providing selective evidence that appeals to the audience emotions is one of the most used techniques. Every person feels sympathy to horrible situations such as the attacks in Belgium, therefore the writers decided to use evidence as this to hook people who are interested in the security of the nation.
Including the bombings in Belgium aftermath was a very strategic move because every person has feelings and what better way to engage them than by getting them teary. On the other hand, the blog, “Doctors should still care about the threat of nuclear weapons” uses ethos to give the story credibility. His blog gives credit to other authors to let people who are worried about the security of the nation that he is well informed on the topic by providing outside resources. He includes references to articles and websites in his blog to make himself more credible.
He remarks, “An article by Dr. Helfand and Dr. Sidel, “Docs and Nukes— Still a Live Issue…” (CMAJ. ca). Providing other sources or quotes rather than the author’s own words helps gives it credibility, especially when the authors of the quotes are doctors with experience and background knowledge. Furthermore, word choice is another feature that helps enhance the author’s intended message. Selecting a specific set of words helps the author build a connection with the reader. In the blog, “Doctors should still care about the threat of nuclear weapons” by Juan Carlos uses simple diction.
The selection of words that he chose are sufficient to inform the audience that nuclear weapons can have a great impact in the world. “If you have ever heard enough about global warming, you are probably not aware of its equality evil twin, nuclear war” ( CMAJ. ca). Juan Carlos used simple vocabulary to explain the topic in a faster and more efficient way, instead of using long dense words. He keeps it simple because what would be the point of writing and reading a long report if it were too hard to comprehend by the general public.
Also, in the blog “Defusing the Nuclear Threat”, the author’s word choice is straightforward and helps get the message across to the audience that nuclear threat is important, and that they should take part in dismantling the issue. His selection of words is understandable for the concerned audience to comprehend gaining more peoples attention to the readable story. Throughout his blog Hellman uses a series of contractions, “Imagine that a man wearing a TNT vest were to come into the room and, before you could escape, managed to tell you that he wasn’t a suicide bomber” (nuclearrisk. org).
He does this because this type of writing is a blog and not an essay that requires formality. For the most part contractions are mainly used during verbal or texting interactions. The importance of word choice is that it allows the writer have a connection with the audience and speak to them as they were talking face to face. Overall, it is obvious that each piece of text is considered to be of the same genre but differ in many ways. Yet, they still manage to get their message across and inform the audience of the ongoing issue with nuclear weapons and how it is a menace to the world.
Genres do not necessarily follow a certain structure and that is the great thing about it because each author writes and thinks differently. Each person has their own style of writing and ways of transmitting their thoughts as we have seen above. It is great that there are many options for expressing a topic because if everyone followed the same formulaic genre, it would be dreadful to read and now that would be the real menace rather than nuclear weapons.