On September 15, 2014, Miss New York Kira Kazantsev won the title of Miss America 2015 (Press Release). In the aftermath of her coronation, an online website, Jezebel.com, broke the story that the beauty queen was kicked out of her sorority, Alpha Pi, in 2013 for a hazing scandal (Ryan). The author of the breaking blog, Erin Gloria Ryan, is the news editor for the website. Ryan’s article employs a number of different rhetorical devices to establish a persuasive style. Specifically, Ryan’s credible research and detail compliment her strong diction produce an article that caught the attention of major news outlets and unleashed a public relations storm that the Miss America Organization and Miss Kazantsev must now address.
The detailed research in the article not only establishes the ethos of the author but also sets a logical tone that influences readers who might otherwise be uninterested in the happenings of a beauty queen. For example, Ryan includes information from Kazantsev’s press kit, corroborating interview quotations, and the exact hazing policy statement from Hofstra University. The impact of these seemingly unbiased details is to persuade the reader to trust the content and trust the author’s perspective. From an author’s perspective, hopefully the impact will lead to the effect of persuading the reader that this story is deeper than it appears and that the editors of Jezebel.com are legitimately pursuing the full story.
Ryan’s diction drives the persuasive style as she cleverly weaves her bias into the reporting. Phrases such as “publicly passionate” and “standard sorority pledge stuff” illuminate an affinity for alliteration that catches the reader’s ear. Ryan also enjoys inserting parallel structure such as “squeaky-clean image and a squeaky-clean resume.” With cleaver phrasing leading to sardonic statements such as, “It’s missing one unflattering detail,” the author shifts the tone from one of objective but witty reporting to ironic commentary on a beauty queen with an unflattering past. Ryan’s expert manipulation of detailed research and witty style reveal her persuasive voice, and that voice has now been seen by a much larger stage thanks to this Miss America scandal. She may be a columnist worth watching for a fresh take on old stories.
Ryan, Erin G. “Miss America Was Kicked Out of Her Sorority for Abusive Hazing.” Web log post. Jezebel. 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://jezebel.com/miss-america-was-kicked-out-of-her-sorority-for-abusive-1636095561>.
“Press Release.” Miss America. Miss America Organization, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Oct. 2014. <http://www.missamerica.org/news/press-releases.aspx>.