Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Original Journalism at its Finest

By Nick Madigan and Arin Gencer

Baltimore Sun Photo taken by Patrick Smith

Article Brief:

In what officials say is the largest environmental penalty ever levied by the state, ExxonMobil Corp. has agreed to pay $4 million to the Maryland Department of the Environment for a 26,000-gallon gasoline spill at a Baltimore County service station almost three years ago.

Under the agreement announced yesterday, the oil giant could face an additional annual penalty of $1 million if it does not stick to a cleanup schedule that could last several more years in Jacksonville.

The settlement stemmed from a $12 million lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil by Maryland's attorney general, Douglas F. Gansler. He said in a statement yesterday that the agreement was a significant victory for the environment and residents of the area "who have had to live with this contamination for too long."

The settlement was more than twice as large as a $1.9 million civil penalty levied against the Potomac Electric Power Company for a leak in April 2000 that sent about 111,000 gallons of oil into the Patuxent River from an underground pipeline at the Chalk Point Generating Station, the state's largest power plant.

Article Summary:

This article is a great example of an original reporting story that shows many signs that this is a fully functioning journalistic story.  There are definate clues that usually tell the reader if the story is something that an actual journalist researched, interviewed and wrote from scratch.  Below is a list of clues that helped me come to my conclusion:

  • Article shows a byline, emphasising the fact that it was written by the person and that they should take full credit of their work.
  • The article has a good length to show that it was not taken from a short press release or police report.  This story is almost a full two webpages in length.
  • There are many quotes throughout the story to illustrate that the reporter was able to seek others out and capture a number of voices to boost their story.  This makes their story more credible as well.
  • There are multiple chunks of facts about Exxon and the surrounding area the story is dealing with, to show prior research when writing the story.  
These are all ways in which one can see that there is no press release here; this is full blown journalistic writing at its finest.  

Comment (1)

Hi Dan,
Good job listing your main points about the original reporting story so they're easy to read. I like your use of pictures and links.
Do you think it was necessary to post the photos of the suspects?