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Revision Sheet

For the writing project 1, I was supposed to identify and analyze the articles writing

about the same topic words by words, sentences by sentences and paragraphs by paragraphs

within the same genre.

After browsing the entire article, I found that my article was long and lack of

organization. And in this revision sheet, I will address each issue of my original article and

how I fixed the issue.

The first problem was that the transition of my writing project was not smooth and

natural, from Professor Speiser's comment. Hence, I added a transitional sentence between

the description of the context and my discovery of editorial genre convention. By adding a

transitional sentence, the introduction was more smooth and cohesive. Moreover, I added a

transitional sentence before each body paragraph. According to Stedman's "Annoying ways

people use sources", I noticed that my article lack brief introduction or conclusion before

each citation. Hence, I added more transitional and introductory sentences through citations.

The second problem was that my statement was not strong and clear. Due to Savini's

essay, I should establish a problem to be solved. I had two paragraphs discussing the

difference between genres. For instance, "Different genres have different styles and

structures……". However, my main purpose was to identify and analyze a certain genre

instead of comparing two genres. Hence, I edited a general conclusion of the editorial genre

convention. I introduced the purpose of the genre convention by relating the statement made

in Dirk's "Navigating Genres". I emphasized the importance of understanding the exigence,

audience, and constraints of a certain genre and article. By adding several sentences before

my body paragraphs, I made an introduction to the process of identifying and further

analyzing the genre, and most importantly, I further strengthen my statement and made the

connection among introduction, thesis statement and body paragraphs more cohesive.
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In addition, I added the concept of lexis from the discourse community, which was

learned from the process of writing project 2, and the concept “pathos” to my process of

analyzing the genre convention. Moreover, I included more explanation of my statements, for

instance, by adding “Because the purpose of reporting news is to present an unbiased view

towards the certain topic” to “As a result, news reports are short and do not include personal

opinions”. Such changes made each statement well explained.

Last but not the least, I corrected several minor problems including run-on sentences,

ambiguous word uses, the format of block quotes based on Professor Speiser’s comment. I

replaced words with their synonyms because some words were used too often. I cut out and

shortened some argument about the comparison between different genres and different news

source because my main purpose was to identify and analyze the genre convention within

editorial articles.
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Yichen Shao
Writing 2
Professor Speiser
10 Jun 2018
Privacy issues

Recently, Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked for Donald

Trump’s campaign, assembled data from over 50 million Facebook users without their

consent. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress about Facebook’s

mishandling of personal data. Multiple news sources had published several articles related to

the event. However, I noticed that editorial articles approach the topic differently compared

to news report articles. To further explore the topic and analyze the genre convention, I found

four editorial articles which write about Facebook’s latest privacy issue. Two of them are

from CNN and the other two are from The New York Times. Editorial articles present

opinions of a certain event directly to readers. While they all exhibit similar structures with

their own thesis statements, titles and length, each article shows slightly different tone and

word use.

According to Dirk’s “Navigating Genres”, the genre convention is created to help

people to accomplish goals. And due to a certain situation, features within a genre can

change. As a result, it is important to understand the exigence, audience, and constraints

about the article before one reads it to better understand why certain genre and certain

rhetorical strategy is effective.

Before reading an article, it is necessary for the reader to know the purposes of

articles. For example, the news reports are created to report the everyday news. Because the

purpose of reporting news is to present an unbiased view towards the certain topic, news

reports are short and do not include personal opinions. On the contrary, the editorial articles

are more organized and longer than the news reports. They are created to present writers’
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opinions of certain events to the public and to educate and advocate not only the public but

also companies and governments.

At the beginning of the editorial article, an introduction is presented which mainly

describe the background information. It helps to clarify the topic for audiences who are not

familiar with the context because the audience of editorial articles varies from experts to

students. The editorial article mainly includes summary sentences because its main purpose is

not simply reporting the news. For example, in all four articles’ introductions from CNN and

The New York Time talk the event of Facebook collecting and mishandling users’ personal

information in few sentences. “As recently as 2010, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief

executive of Facebook, believed that privacy was no longer a “social norm.” But over the

past few weeks — and not a moment too soon — he and his colleagues have learned that

privacy still matters to individuals and society” (The Editorial Board, “Facebook is not the

problem. Lax privacy rules are.”, The New York Times). Within two sentences, the article

provides the readers sufficient background information about Facebook’s mishandling of

users’ privacy.

Meanwhile, as they are news articles, their titles are short and include the thesis

statements. For example, articles from The New York Times called “Don’t fix Facebook.

Replace it.” and “Facebook is not the problem. Lax privacy rules are.” just simply show their

thesis statements on the titles. Why? Because it attracts people. As printed in daily

newspapers, most people do not have time and interests to read the whole newspaper. As a

result, making the titles short and putting thesis statement on the titles simply make people

willing to read. And the purpose of editorial articles is to present opinions and statements to

the audience after all.

Once we are introduced to the structure of the genre, we can explore further rhetorical

strategies and tones. Looking through the body paragraphs, the four editorial articles from
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CNN and The New York Times show serious and precise manners yet different tones. Not

only presenting opinions, the editorial articles also convince the public and government to be

aware of and take actions on a certain event. Because their audiences include people of all

kinds instead of a certain discourse community, the word use should be serious regarding that

the topic involves controversial arguments and barely include specific lexis. Hence, there is

emotion involved through the sentences and word use to make the appeal to a reader’s

pathos, compared to a news report. Meanwhile, due to their different opinions towards the

topic, tones are consequently not the same. The article from CNN called “Why Zuckerberg

needs to testify before Congress” argues that Congress should force Facebook’s CEO to

testify because the people whose data was shared without their permission had a right to

know about it. “It's unconscionable that Facebook didn't reveal what happened in 2015, when

the company now says it first found out about it. Facebook had both legal and moral

obligations to disclose all of this at that time” (Kara Alaimo). We can find that the adjective

“unconscionable” exhibit a critical manner which is strong and emotional. And the tone

involved in the statement emphasizes that Facebook had both legal and moral obligations is

obviously censuring Facebook’s breach of duty. Because the exigence of the article is to

present the reason and, furthermore, alarm the public. Such rhetorical strategy of pathos

makes the public aware of the importance of personal rights and alarms companies of social

media to protect the users’ privacy. However, the article from CNN called “Congress, let

Facebook fix its own problems” shows less critical tone among sentences. “In other words,

Facebook can self-regulate -- and we should give it a chance to put its new policies into

practice” (Alice Stewart). The sentence such as “give it a chance” implies to compromise.

Why? Because its exigence and purpose is to convince the public to let Facebook fix its own

problems and to show that Facebook is making efforts. Hence, the tone cannot be too critical.
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Moreover, the editorial articles are barely first person or second person narratives.

Instead, they prefer to state facts because, considering their audience includes experts, it is

less professional and convincing to be first person or second person narratives as news

editorial articles. The article called “Facebook is not the problem. Lax privacy rules are.”

from The New York Times mentioned “In 2012, President Barack Obama proposed a privacy

bill of rights that included many ideas for giving people more control over their information,

making data collection more transparent and putting limits on what business can do with the

information they collect” (The Editorial Board). By relating previous actions of government,

the argument of lax privacy rules is supported by not only the author but also the government

which makes it authoritative to most of the audience. But the article called “Congress, let

Facebook fix its own problems” from CNN uses the first-person narrative. It surprised me at

first, but let us take a close look at its author who is a former Communications Director for

the Ted Cruz for President campaign. "And I, for one, am interested in seeing Facebook

address this wrong, given my own experience with Cambridge Analytica" (Alice Stewart). As

an expert who has such experience, using first person narrative which contributes to ethos is

more convincing on a topic of Facebook releasing users' personal data to Cambridge

Analytica during the President campaign.

What’s more, to better convince people and government to take actions and

presenting writers’ opinions, editorial articles present their own statement in paragraphs by

using different reasoning skills such as comparison and contrast. For example, the article

called “Facebook is not the problem. Lax privacy rules are.” from The New York Times

argues about lax privacy rules are the problem, compares current privacy laws to the new

European general data protection regulation.

But someday new politicians will be in charge, and now is as good a time as

any to begin a serious examination of how American privacy regulations can


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be strengthened…… The new European regulation will also let people access

their own data, transfer their information from one business to others that

provide a similar service and delete it altogether under certain circumstances.

Companies will have to notify customers within 72 hours if they become

aware of a breach of personal information (The Editorial Board).

By such comparison, the writer presents the thesis statement in a logical way which makes

the audience realize the importance of imposing laws of privacy protection. The statement of

requiring laws of privacy protection is less direct and convincing if the author does not use

such comparison. Meanwhile, the article called “Don’t fix Facebook. Replace it.” from The

New York Times states that “But as Lyft is proving by stealing market share from Uber, and

as Snapchat proved by taking younger audiences from Facebook, “network effects” are not

destiny. Now is the time for a new generation of Facebook competitors that challenge the

mother ship” (Tim Wu). By giving examples like Lyft and Snapchat, the author provides

confidence to the public that it is possible to replace Facebook with a brand new social

media. As the result, audiences and companies may change their views on challenging

Facebook. Although the methods of reasoning of two articles are different, they all have

rigorous and logical structures to present evidence.

It is controversial considering the topic of Facebook’s mishandling of users’ privacy,

and people with different opinions will write differently. Hence, it is normal to find the

differences such as tone and rhetoric among editorial articles from different news sources and

even from the same source. However, the purpose of editorial articles is for writers to present

and advocate opinions and thoughts to the audience instead of simply reporting events. As a

result, each part of editorial articles serves for the purpose to make it organized while being

displayed to the audience. And the general structure of each article is similar, that including

introduction, support paragraphs, and conclusion. In addition, since the audience varies from
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experts and students considering social media, word use and citation can't be too professional

to understand yet can’t be too general. And the specific lexis is rarely used. The exigence is

to suggest and aware public and government to the urgency. As the result, strong reasoning

strategy and serious tone should be involved. The constraint is that there are plenty of daily

news articles, hence the title must be simple, direct and attractive. As the result, the editorial

article does its job effectively on everyday news such as the Facebook’s issue. Imagine that

without the editorial article, people might still neglect their rights on privacy protection and

the government might still not be aware of lacking laws of privacy protection.
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Works Cited

Alice Stewart, “Congress, let Facebook fix its own problems.”, CNN, 10 April 2018.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/10/opinions/congress-dont-overregulate-facebook-opinion-

stewart/index.html

Kara Alaimo, “Why Zuckerberg needs to testify before Congress.”, CNN, 20 March 2018.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/19/opinions/congress-must-act-on-facebook-cambridge-

analytica-alaimo/index.html

The Editorial Board, “Facebook is not the problem. Lax privacy rules are.”, The New York

Times, 1 April 2018.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/01/opinion/facebook-lax-privacy-

rules.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FSocial%20Media

Tim Wu, “Don’t fix Facebook. Replace it.”, The New York Times, 3 April 2018.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/opinion/facebook-fix-

replace.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FSocial%20Media