Coming from Minnesota, I have seen some of the after-affects of tornadoes and have heard the stories of friends losing their homes. It seems like no matter how hard they try, the media can never always capture the full emotion behind the story.
After reading the headlines of 17 deaths in the southern states, due to the streak of tornadoes, I could not help but notice how the stories like ABC News and BBC News seemed to list the deaths as statistics. It was information more then stories.
I came across the Huffpost Green that caught my eyes with its narrative lead describing the home of one of the victims who died after a tornado ripped through his neighborhood.
I could tell this story was much more descriptive than the other versions by the poetic use of verbs and phrases. The writer did a better job of painting the bizarre scene of the town. By describing the surroundings, Philip Rawls was able to explain how the tornadoes demolished some areas, causing death, while leaving some of the most delicate sections of the town untouched.
This quote said so much more than just saying that the tornado destroyed some and left others.
"All he (Henley Hollon) saw were a set of wooden steps and flowerbeds, the blooms still on the plants as though nothing happened. An American flag once displayed outside Cheryl's home had been draped over a tree about a 100 feet away."
One big mistake I noticed in the story was the wrong attribution was placed after a quote. At the end of the lead it said "Willard (Hollon), his son Steve and daughter Cheryl all were killed when the winds roared through." But later on in the story there was a quote by him describing the after affects of the tornado.
"'When I shined the light out there I could see it was all gone.'" Willard Hollon said"
I thought he was one of the victims who died. I am not sure how the writer was able to get this quote. This is just an assumption, but the quote could have came from Willard's brother Henley. The paragraph before made reference to Henley coming out of his house after the tornado struck to make sure everyone was safe.
I saw that as the story went on, it gradually changed from being descriptive and story telling to more information. It was very complete for including the most recent deaths in the southern states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi. The other stories focused more on the governor's calling for a state of emergency.
I know from experience that living in a small town, the church is always the central point of the community. Rawls made a wise decision in putting the destruction of the church near the beginning of the story and again at the end with a quote about faith and hope.
"'We'd been talking about a new sanctuary,' she (Tammie Silas) said 'and God said 'OK'.'"
I saw that the many stories did not include anything about the church in these cities.
Overall I thought the story was very complete and threw in such a personal touch like the scene of the church members looking at photos of the Hollon family from the debris. It made the story very interesting to read.