Question 1:Smart Leads: Iranian Embassy Attack
Britain deepened Iran’s isolation on Wednesday by closing the vandalized British embassy in Tehran, withdrawing all its diplomats and ordering the Iranians to do the same at their London diplomatic mission within 48 hours, escalating the most serious rupture of relations in decades. At least four other European countries also moved to reduce diplomatic contacts with Iran. (New York Times)
This lead takes into consideration that people have likely heard about this incident and is now focusing on the response by Britain, including imposing a timetable. The lead tells us what the British response was, and a little historical context for the seriousness of the event, which is good. What I don’t like about it is that the only clue it gives as to what the original story was is that it refers to the embassy as “vandalized,” which can mean many things. I don’t like the imprecision of “At least four other European countries.”
Iran is rapidly heading for increased isolation from Western countries, as the European Union is set to decide during a crucial meeting Thursday in Brussels to downgrade relations, diplomats said Wednesday.
A well-organized attack by Iranian hard-liners Tuesday on two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran set off a series of retaliatory moves in which Britain on Wednesday withdrew its diplomats from Iran and ordered the closure of the Iranian Embassy in London within 48 hours. (Washington Post)
This lead also focusses on the response, but does not give any historical context for the relationship. It informs the reader that it is important enough for the European union to act collectively, and that there is a timetable set by Britain. I like that this lead gives more information about the event, and who perpetrated it, which the NYT lead does not do.
My Lead: An orchestrated attack on the British Embassy by a mob of Iranian hardliners set off a flurry of diplomatic action in Europe in one of the worst ruptures in relations in decades. Britain ordered the closure of their sprawling embassy in Tehran and recalled their ambassadors, while ordering Iran to vacate their embassy in London within 48 hours. According to diplomats, the European Union will decide whether to downgrade relations with the Islamic Republic when they meet in Brussels on Thursday.
Question #2: Interviewing Al Gore
The first thing I would do if I had the opportunity to interview Al Gore is read up on what he has been doing since he released “An Inconvenient Truth” because that is the last I have heard of him. I would also research what his connection to Hampshire college is, because I would want my interview to be a combination of local interest (Why is he speaking at Hampshire College?) and national interest. I would buy a nice suit, and probably read as many recent interviews with him that I could find. Without doing this research beforehand, my interview questions that I list here are probably too general and not what I would actually ask, but I’ll give it a shot:
- Mr. Gore, It’s been over 5 years since you’ve released your internationally acclaimed documentary, an Inconvenient Truth. What is the shape of the environmentalist movement today, and do you think attitudes toward this science have improved?
- All over the country, and indeed the world, there are protests and demonstrations that are calling for higher accountability and greater democracy in our government. Do any of the messages put forth by the national occupy movements appeal to you?
- What is the most important thing that you, as an influential ex-presidential candidate, are choosing to spend the majority of your time on?
So I hear that Tom Brady is looking to, or possibly has already bought, a hill top house in Leverett. I would check a realty site, of course, and identify houses that I believed would be in Mr. Brady’s price range. I would personally go to all relators and ask them and use their own pride at the fact that they are helping Tom Brady get a house to get them to brag to me about it. I could look at a topographical map and identify which houses were on hills (though I would not exclusively look into this.) I would pay a visit to the Leverett town hall, and see if I could find any information on property acquisitions. I would call the Patriots press office and probably get turned down (but it’s worth a shot.) How much is the house? How big is it? WHERE is it? Why leveret? When is he moving? Will it be a full-time house? Is it being renovated? Is a local contractor working on the house? Who is the contractor? Once I found out where the house was I could wait around for someone to come by to talk to, and it would also be much easier to look up information on.
Question #4: Verbaitum
When talking to veterans, there is a wide variety of reasons that they enlisted in the military. For some people it was for the uniform and the guns, or as a response to the attacks of September 11th, but for Northhampton local Peter Duffy, it was the values.
[The Marines], he said “were honorable; they had traditions and a disciplined style of living that appealed to me.”
Duffy was twenty years old when he was first deployed to Iraq in the the 2nd Marine Division known as “The Warlords,” first as a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) defense specialist, and later as infantry in Al-Mahmudiyah, Zaidon, Fallujah, and Al-Karmah.
“Because there weren’t any weapons of Mass destruction, my job just didn’t mean anything,” he said. “The Marines are very adaptive-if you can’t do your job, you have to do another job.”
And adapt is what Duffy had to do. On his first deployment, he went from being a chemical specialist to manning a machine gun on the fourth truck in his division’s convoy. In this role he received an intimate first-hand look at the U.S. occupation of the Iraq-its successes and its dysfunctions.
He described meeting with Iraqis to try and build schools and police stations, which would often be destroyed right after they were built.
“Sometimes it was the people we’d hired to be the police, sometimes it was local farmers,” he explained.
Duffy explained that there was often an attitude of “The United States is going to come here tomorrow and build a new police station, and they’re probably going to come ask me to help build it.”
“It’s not as grandiose as people make it seem,” he said. “It’s really basic, people need to take care of themselves.”