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Analyzing a Speech (Grade 10)

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Analyzing a Speech

An excerpt from "We the Media" by Dan Gillmor

We freeze some moments in time. Every culture has its frozen moments, events so important and personal that they transcend the normal flow of news.

Americans of a certain age, for example, know precisely where they were and what they were doing when they learned that President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. Another generation has absolute clarity of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. And no one who was older than a baby on September 11, 2001, will ever forget hearing about, or seeing, airplanes exploding into skyscrapers.

In 1945, people gathered around radios for the immediate news, and stayed with the radio to hear more about their fallen leader and about the man who took his place. Newspapers printed extra editions and filled their columns with detail for days and weeks afterward. Magazines stepped back from the breaking news and offered perspective.

Something similar happened in 1963, but with a newer medium. The immediate news of Kennedy’s death came for most via television; I’m old enough to remember that heart­breaking moment when Walter Cronkite put on his horn­rimmed glasses to glance at a message from Dallas and then, blinking back tears, told his viewers that their leader was gone. As in the earlier time, newspapers and magazines pulled out all the stops to add detail and context.

September 11, 2001, followed a similarly grim pattern. We watched—again and again—the awful events. Consumers of news learned the what about the attacks, thanks to the televi­sion networks that showed the horror so graphically. Then we learned some of the how and why as print publications and thoughtful broadcasters worked to bring depth to events that defied mere words. Journalists did some of their finest work and made me proud to be one of them.

But something else, something profound, was happening this time around: news was being produced by regular people who had something to say and show, and not solely by the “official” news organizations that had traditionally decided how the first draft of history would look. This time, the first draft of history was being written, in part, by the former audience. It was possible—it was inevitable—because of new publishing tools available on the Internet.

Another kind of reporting emerged during those appalling hours and days. Via emails, mailing lists, chat groups, personal web journals—all nonstandard news sources—we received valuable context that the major American media couldn’t, or wouldn’t, provide.

We were witnessing—and in many cases were part of—the future of news.
What does the author present as the main idea of the passage?
  1. The changing role and format of the media
  2. The history of media
  3. The importance of the media in history
  4. The role of the media in people's lives
Why does the author reference specific events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the events on September 11, 2001?

How did the experience of people hearing about President Roosevelt's death differ from those hearing about President Kennedy's assassination?
  1. Roosevelt's death played out on television, while Kennedy's death played out in the newspapers.
  2. Both deaths represent key moments in media broadcasting.
  3. Both deaths were primarily broadcast by the media.
  4. Roosevelt's death was broadcast on radio programs and reported in newspapers, while Kennedy's death was largely broadcast on television.
According to the passage, how did media begin to change after September 11, 2001?

The author largely uses which organizational approach to get his point across?
  1. A chronological approach
  2. A sequential approach
  3. A compare/contrast approach
  4. A cause/effect approach
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career to associate with them for even one day?

Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert - also the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow - to have spent the next nine years with that wonderful little fellow Miller Huggins - then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology - the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy!

Sure, I'm lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift, that's something! When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies, that's something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles against her own daughter, that's something. When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body, it's a blessing! When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, that's the finest I know.

So I close in saying that I might have had a tough break - but I have an awful lot to live for!

Lou Gehrig - July 4, 1939
Lou Gehrig delivered this speech after being diagnosed with ALS, now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Based on the speech, how do you think Gehrig handled his diagnosis?

What approach did Gehrig take in his speech?
  1. Focusing on himself and his career
  2. Transferring the focus to others
  3. Educating others about his disease
  4. Presenting a tearful, solemn goodbye
Why does Lou Gehrig consider himself "the luckiest man on the fact of this earth"?

Why does Gehrig end his speech with "So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for"?
  1. To show how great his life has been
  2. To show his determination even in the face of a negative life event
  3. To show his fans he'll continue to play baseball
  4. To show he has resigned himself to his fate
Which statement best sums up the central idea of the speech?
  1. People play a large role in your life
  2. Baseball is the greatest sport
  3. A bad break can ruin someone's life
  4. A bad break can't negate a lucky life

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