Analysis on Miss America Scandal Article

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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&gt;.

Do As I Say – Not As I Do

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This is my first post in months, but I’m jumping back into the Blog pool because I’ve asked my AP English students to do the same. Hopefully, my students won’t look back at my entries (and lack thereof) and judge me too harshly.  I know they are probably thinking the same thing!  So, since this is public territory, I want to share with my readers and students that I have three goals for this blog project and I’m posting them here so that we can see whether or not we meet or exceed the expectations.  I think we will all reflect on these three goals at the end of October. Good luck everyone!  Your enthusiasm is contagious! Here they are:

  1. We will all increase our technological skills – not just in posting our blogs, but also in working with our school WiFi, learning about other devices, and incorporating links and research.
  2. We will become better researchers – not just because of our Follow a Columnist project, but because we learn how to seek out interesting content.
  3. We become published, public writers – not just because we have to for our class grade (I know how that feels, too!), but because we have a lot to say and we know how to say it in interesting, entertaining, poignant, and professional ways.