Four year old boy dies: accidentally locked in car – The Nation

Date: April 13, 2011
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Description: This news-feature covers a traumatic accident which cost the life of a four-year-old boy. The child dies when he is accidentally locked inside a vehicle.   His five-year-old cousin survived suffocation. The article relates the events leading to this accident told by the grandmother, who is the care-taker of the child.

This news feature describes the story with empathy for the deceased and his care-givers. The story treats the source fairly and is non-judgmental.

The story is written in a manner which informs and educates readers of the potential danger of leaving children alone, even for a second. The story is told without attaching blame. From a gender perspective the sources are balanced: both grandparents are sourced.

The headline, “Four year old boy dies: accidentally locked in carÀ, captures the incident accurately. It is concise and informs the reader immediately of the core elements of the story. It highlights the key angle, the death of a child and the nature of the death.

Primary sources are secured, namely the grandparents and the police. The author missed the opportunity of providing helpful information such as emergency tips or parental advice. This could have been included in a side-bar as a guide for parents. Data on such incidents could have also been included as the numbers of “accidental deathsÀ are high and parents and care-givers need to be mindful of potential disasters.

The story is told in simple English and is well-written. It is a highly emotive incident and the story does not fuel negative emotion. The language is fair and non-judgmental.

Visual image
The image accompanying the story shows the traumatised grandmother with her granddaughter who survived the accident. The caption captures the accident sensitively. It reads: “Escaped death by an inch, Natasha with her grandmother yesterday.À The caption compliments the article as the focus includes the survivor.   It is a wide angle shot and conveys the domestic environment.

Story angle and perspective

The voice of the grandmother is primary as the incident occurred under her watch. The accident is described sensitively. The steps retraced, through the eyes of the grandmother, allow the reader to understand the moments leading to the discovery of the child. The accidental death is the focus of the story.

While the article does not forward child care guidelines or emergency advice it is written in a tone that alerts those caring for children of the danger of incidents like this.

Placement and positioning
The article is accompanied by a large picture and takes up a page. It is afforded the space it deserves as this is a newsworthy story.

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