Author: Greg Winter
Article: Jacuzzi U.? A Battle of Perks to Lure Students
Publisher: The New York Times, October 5, 2013
Greg Winter (see Fig. 1) is an American journalist who is an editor on the Foreign Desk of The New York Times. He received his master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000 and followed with internship experience at CBS Marketwatch, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In this article, Winter intertwines quotes from ten individuals with factual evidence from various universities.
Winter implements his article with an abundance of quotes by starting off a paragraph with a short portion of the quote, then interrupting it to introduce the speaker, and then proceeding with the rest of the quote. This is typically a common “no-no” in journalistic writing; however, Winter uses it as a technique of suspense. He does this when he writes: “ ‘An arms race,’ said Clare Cotton, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. ‘It’s exactly the psychology of an arms race. From the outside it seems totally crazy, but from the inside it feels necessary and compelling” (1).
Winter’s descriptions throughout his article are vague and not very literary. He does not employ any sounds or smells about the atmosphere of University of Houston (see Fig. 2), but relies merely on visual observations. He writes: “Beyond its immense rotunda stands a five-story climbing walls that looks as if it was transported straight from Arches National Park, while boulders and palm trees frame the leisure pools outside” (1).
In contrast to Winter’s lack of scene, we read another article in class today by Annys Shin, “A Job Brings Holiday Hope—And Uncertainty” which details one woman, Cristina Ford’s, employment at a Walmart in Washington D.C. in order to illustrate the larger national issue of unemployment and low wages. In this piece, Shin sets the scene by using descriptive details and images to actually show the reader what Ford does on a daily basis. She writes: “Without turning around, she sensed that a man behind her with a case of beer was having trouble entering his driver’s license identification number. Ford swooped in to do it for him. Across the aisle, a woman was staring down the neck of a shirt as if it was a black hole, unable to find the tag. Ford stepped up behind her and fished it out” (1). This type of description is a stylistic aspect that is very detailed and metaphorical. Winter lacks this stylistic aspect in his article which we analyzed.
A pivotal moment in Winter’s article is when he writes: “Whether evident in student unions, recreational centers or residence halls (please, do not call them dorms) the competition for students is yielding amenities once unimaginable on college campuses, spurring a national debate over the difference between educational necessity and excess” (1). This paragraph displays irony in the comment which is in parenthesis and it also illustrates a national trend. It allows the observations at the University of Houston to be applied to the entire nation.
The introduction of this article is followed by the research of many other universities along with statistics that connect to the scene Winter has set up at the University of Houston. For example, he writes: “Ohio State University is spending $140 million to build what it’s peers enviously refer to as the Taj Mahal, a 657,000-square-foot complex featuring kayaks and canoes, indoor batting cages. . .” (1). This comparative technique is important to use in our own literary articles because we must learn how to effectively implement statistics, examples and quotes from various sources.
Unlike many other journalists’ work that we have read which embody an abundance of dialogue, there is no dialogue in Winter’s article. There are, however, quotes that break up the facts and narrative structure. In class we discussed that the quotes should be interspersed throughout the article to adhere to an organized and interesting article. Winter does this very well on the second page of his article when he intersperses quotes from Representative Howard P. McKeon, Deniel M. Fogel, Mitchel D. Livingston, Kathleen E. Hatc, Liza Greifinger and Linda A Acciardo (2).
Winter ends his piece with a solid quote, which is a very common technique used in literary journalism. He uses an important quote from a university spokeswoman, Linda A. Acciardo who says: “People don’t give to institutions that look like they need money. They give to institutions they are proud to be associated with” (2).