Sino-U.S. Relations Group members:
This is a good attempt to combine several
significant strands of Sino-U.S. relations. You did well to lead on
tensions over how to handle North Korea’s nuclear program. However, the lead
needs work. For one thing, all verbs must be in the same tense throughout the
story, usually in the past tense. So it should be xxx “Tensions grew (or have
grown - instead of “grow”) between China and the United States over how to
handle North Korea’s quickening drive to develop nuclear weapons in defiance of
the world community. Xxx
You could turn the rest of your lead into a
second sentence: The United States pushed to tighten sanctions against the
North amid negotiations with China on a new United Nations Security Council
resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its latest nuclear test.
Your story would be better if you included a
solid “nut graf” with relevant background on North Korea’s push for nuclear
weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them. Rather than refer to the
test five weeks ago, give the exact date (Sept. 9). Specific dates are better
than an ambiguous formulation, which smacks of laziness. Our job as reporters
is to pin down the facts.
A good nut graf also would explain the
reason for China’s opposition to the missile defense system and China’s concern
about tightening sanctions against Pyongyang. Thus, you could explain that a
Chinese imperative is to avoid destabilizing the North for fear of a power
vacuum, waves of North Korean refugees streaming into China’s northeast and the
emergence of a potentially reunified Korean peninsula allied with the United
States. At the same time, China deems the U.S.-built Terminal
High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile capabilities as a threat to the
global security balance that could spark an arms race.
Speaking of facts, you wrongly say that the
United States and South Korea have deployed a missile-defense system against
the North in the past five weeks. In fact, the planned antimissile deployment,
announced in July, has not yet taken place.
You’ve got a grade of 85 for this group
report (out of a possible 100).
North Korea nuclear program strains Sino-US
Tensions grow between Sino-US over how to
handle increasingly erratic North Korea, as the US seeks to tighten the
sanction on North Korea, and negotiating with China on a new draft Security
Council resolution to punish Pyongyang.
Since North Korea's fifth and largest
nuclear test nearly five weeks ago,U.S. and South Korea have deployed a
missile-defense system against the North, which is harshly criticized by China
. The US also urges to ban North Korea’s coal export and block its tourism
industry, 90% of which are Chinese tourists ,cutting revenue sources for its
However, China pushed back against the US
bid to tighten coal sanction for "livelihood purposes".
"We cannot really affect the well-being
and the humanitarian needs of the people and also we need to urge various
parties to reduce tensions," Chinese UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi told Reuters.
A company in Dandong, northeastern China, is
suspected to have block trade with North Korea, and has been controlled,said
the local police.The US Justice Department recently unsealed criminal charges
against the company for conspiring to evade sanctions,according to AP news.
If the Chinese government failed to curb
North Korea's nuclear program, the U.S. would “ring China with missile
defense", as Hillary Clinton privately said in the leaked e-mails. While
China is backed up by Russia to defend against the shield, as Reuters reported.
In the turbulent waters of the Asian Pacific
region, Rodrigo Duterte, new president of the Philippines, will be the first
president of the longstanding US ally to travel to Beijing before Washington,
which is seen as “Jeopardize US Pacific strategy ” by The Sunday Times.
At the same time,tension also exist in other
areas. Remained as one of the handful of countries with trading surplus to US,
China is urged upon to trim the large trade imbalances with the US, the Obama
Administration says. The assessment sent to the US congress doesn't designate
China or any other major U.S. trading partners as currency manipulators, but
are all added to the list of special monitoring.
On Oct.5, Pew Search Center released poll
after conducting a survey among Chinese in 2016, showing that 50% of Chinese
Public are US favorable, and 45% names US as top threat in terms of its world power.
I feel as if you’ve missed the cybersecurity story
of the past week or so entirely, especially from an international perspective.
Your story doesn’t contain enough substantive news under the circumstances.
Specifically, the administration of U.S. President
Barack Obama formally has accused Russia of trying to interfere in the U.S.
election next month. As a result, there has been a focus on whether Obama has
told the U.S. National Security Agency or any other U.S. spy outfit to carry
out a retaliatory cyberstrike. The U.S. vice president, Joseph Biden, seemed to
suggest that Obama was prepared to order — or already has ordered — some kind
of covert action to retaliate after emails stolen from the U.S. Democratic
National Committee were published online. Biden made his comments in a taped
In addition, your piece doesn’t specify where Keith
Lowry was speaking. Every story must make clear where the action took place –
whether it was in an interview with a specific news organization, at a forum or
In your third paragraph, you say: “According
to him, background checks do little to stop potential document leakers such as
Manning, Snowden and Martin III.”
However, you must identify Manning and Martin III
immediately, even if you get around to discussing Martin III lower down in your
story. Who is Manning? Readers would want to know. You can’t have any holes in
a news story.
Also, you need more background information – a kind
of “nut graf” – to explain exactly what Edward Snowden did. This could be
something like: xxx Snowden copied and leaked a trove of
classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency in 2013. His
disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA
and close U.S. allies with the help of telecommunication companies and European
Finally, you need to take care when injecting
opinion into your piece, as you’ve done here: “The high-profile leaks of recent
years have done little to shake the private sector awake, however.
Organizations defrauded by staff and contractors are unwilling to air their
problems in court and engage in long and costly civil disputes.” Ideally, this
kind of analysis should be attributed to a specific source or sources, rather
than just popped into your piece – unless you or one of your group members is
an expert on the subject.
You’ve got a grade of 75 for this group report (out
of a possible 100).
Leaker-detector background check invalid
A former top US
Government investigator who looked into classified document leaks by Edward
Snowden has criticized the effectiveness of back ground checks, saying such
checks will not prevent further leaks.
Keith Lowry, formerly
US chief of staff to the deputy under secretary of defense for Human
intelligence, says that he was “intimately involved” at the time and sole
recipient for all investigative material on the cases for a period of about six
According to him,
background checks do little to stop potential document leakers such as Manning,
Snowden and Martin III. "I don't think there is anything anyone can do
using background and psychological checks to stop [Snowden leaks]…Background
checks and polygraphs only say who they someone is, what they have done, not
what they will do."
His comments come in
the wake of the arrest of NSA analyst Harold Thomas Martin III, an employee of
Booz Allen Hamilton, the same firm where Snowden was a contractor. Martin is
suspected of “hoarding” classified materials going back as far as a decade in
his house and car, and the recent leak of the hacking tools tipped
investigators to what he was doing. This “Snowden-like character” is still
under custody, while Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia, whose
extradition to the US is impossible on “legal and moral” grounds according to
the Russia’s ambassador.
The high-profile leaks
of recent years have done little to shake the private sector awake, however.
Organizations defrauded by staff and contractors are unwilling to air their
problems in court and engage in long and costly civil disputes. Meanwhile,
revelations of surveillance on personal privacy by the US government have
stirred up emotions among public. Snowden’s lawyers and human-rights groups
have launched a campaign to persuade President Obama to grant him a pardon,
because much of what Snowden revealed exposed intrusions on the privacy of
American citizens. This effort to win a pardon for Snowden has faced a powerful
pushback from both Democrats and Republicans as the disclosures also include
intelligence activities that didn’t impinge on the privacy of Americans.
Lowry estimates that
insider leaks constitute a major overlooked threat, something that ignites his
anger like “whenever someone stabs you in the back,” but as a professional in
counterintelligence, his job as an investigator will inevitably be “the role of
Chief editor: Natalie (Mengqi
South China Sea group members:
This is a worthwhile attempt to sum up several
developments in and around the South China Sea. But you’ve somehow overlooked
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to
visit China for the first time this week in a potentially important
geo-political switch – even though you’ve included Duterte at the end of your
piece. In any case, your lead should have spelled out that you’re talking
about U.S. Navy ships -- or that it’s the U.S. Navy News Service
that is reporting the latest U.S. naval maneuver. In every piece, you
must include such details so that the reader may easily understand the
significance of a news development. In your lead, you mention neither the U.S.
nor China – depriving the story of the context that it needs in order to be
meaningful. What’s more, the name of the expeditionary strike group isn’t
necessary in the lead – the name doesn’t in and of itself matter very much.
Instead, it would be better to say something like this if you’re leading on the
U.S. naval maneuver xxx
A U.S. Navy strike group joined two guided-missile
cruisers from a Pacific Surface Action Group for drills in international
waters, Oct. 3 and 4, the U.S. Navy News Service reported, amid U.S.-Chinese
tension over disputes in the South China Sea. xxx
The idea is to give readers a reason why they should
continue to read your piece, that is, why it matters and why they should care.
Lower down, you could support your chosen lead with more information about the
U.S. Navy expeditionary strike group – including its name – and a brief
explanation of what such a naval force entails. For instance, you might add a
line such as xxx The expeditionary strike group combines the capabilities
of surface action groups, submarines, and maritime patrol aircraft with those
of Amphibious Ready Groups and special operations-capable Marine Expeditionary
Units to provide greater combat capabilities to combat commanders xxx
Also, when you mention a group such as ASEAN, you
must spell out its full name and include a sentence that lists all its member
In other words, you can’t have any holes in your
stories. Each must answer any questions that it might raise from any reasonably
intelligent reader. You can’t assume that your readers know anything about the
subject that you’re writing about.
You’ve got a grade of 80 for this group report (out
of a potential 100).
Strike Group, Pacific
Surface Action Group
Link up fuelsB tension in
South China Sea
SOUTH CHINA SEA—The Bonhomme
Richard Expeditionary Strike Group joined two guided-missile destroyers from
the Pacific Surface Action Group for a series of interoperability drills in
international waters, Oct.3 and 4, reported by Navy News Service.
According to Kyodo News Agency, the U.S. military
aims to balance the power of China, which is reportedly increasingly flexing
its muscles to assert control over the South China Sea.
Asean, as it approaches its 50th anniversary, has
overcome a number of crises and challenges to its unity and integrity. As the
tension is continuously increased, developments in the South China Sea are the
latest challenge to Asean solidarity.
Singapore, facing growing
diplomatic pressure from China as regional tensions flare over competing
territorial claims in the South China Sea, urged Beijing to engage
"constructively" with other regional players including the U.S. to
ease tensions in the disputed South China Sea, even as the city-state wraps up
a deal here to sharpen its military skills, while Cambodia, as a key ally and
economic partner of China, supports Beijing’s ongoing
dispute with other Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.
Recently, Philippine President
Duterte threatened to end alliance with the United States and gave Beijing a
timely boost in its quest for more control over the strategically vital South
China Sea. Three month ago, China rejected the ruling of the Permanent Court of
Arbitration in The Hague, and an icy chill overcame the once-friendly bilateral
relationship between China and Philippine. Due to its location and history, the
Philippines is central to the US efforts to check China‘s
expansion in the region.
Analysts believe Mr. Duterte's attraction to a rising China
is typical of his ultra-pragmatic governing style, following repeated speeches
from him highlighting what he believes is the United States' diminishing
economic and military m
Mainland-Taiwan group members,
You’re off to a good start with this piece, nicely
summarizing the recent back-and-forth across the Taiwan Strait. But there are
several things that should be done to make this a more interesting, compelling
read. First of all, the lead would be stronger if it had more of an historical
Perhaps you could say, for instance, that xxx China
told Taiwan on Tuesday that it must take concrete actions to back up its stated
goodwill toward the mainland it has resisted joining since a civil war that
ended nearly seven decades ago. Responding to a major speech by Taiwan’s new
leader, Tsai Ing-wen, a Chinese government spokesman said xxx
The lead, as you’ve written it, starts with a
bureaucratic title that would be better to bring in lower down in your piece.
Remember, the lead is meant to draw in your readers, not put them to sleep or
turn them away.
Also, you need to include some background on the
split between the mainland and Taiwan. Something like this: China and
Taiwan split in 1949 at the end of China’s civil war. Beijing still views the
island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Reporters call such background a “nut ‘graf” –
because it contains the bare-bones information needed to put a development in
its context. You could add information to such a paragraph to explain the
significance of the U.S. connection to which you’ve alluded as well. Thus, you
might say something like: Washington is the leading arms supplier to
self-ruled Taiwan, despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to
Beijing in 1979.
The point is that you’re trying to pack as much
relevant information into your report as possible without adding many words so
that readers come away with a complete picture of a given development, its significance
and the context.
There’s another issue that arises in your report –
something that we should discuss in class. Specifically, you’ve used quotation
marks around the words president, National Day, Republic of China. Using such
quote marks is no doubt in line with the Chinese government practice in matters
involving Taiwan. But you should reflect Beijing’s view without appearing
to be siding with it, to the extent that you’re working as a professional
journalist. In other words, you can say in a separate sentence, Beijing regards
Taiwan as an illegitimate breakaway province. After saying so, there’s no need
to use such quote marks around the terms in question if you want to perform as
professionally as possible.
In the last sentence, you’ve misspelled the name of
the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. It’s
Daniel Russel, not Russei.
For your headline, perhaps it would be better to
say xxx China to Taiwan: Act, Don’t talk xxx (Instead of
Chinese mainland responded Taiwan: no play of
You’ve got a grade of 80 for this group report (out
of a possible 100).
Chinese mainland responded Taiwan: no play of words
Beijing — A spokesman for Taiwan Affairs Office on
Wednesday said that their so-called goodwill must be supported by actions, but
not words, in respond to Tsai Ing-wen’s speech.
An Fengshan, the spokesman for Taiwan Affairs
Office of the State Council RPC, said that “the political basis and nature of
relationship between Chinese mainland and Taiwan is something that can’t be
denied and there is no way to ignore the problem” at a regular press conference
in Beijing, October 12, 2016.
An also said that the 1992 Consensus, which affirms
that both sides of the Straits belong to one China, is a fundamental political
basis to the cross-Straits relations. Taiwan’s leaders’ attitude towards the
Consensus is a touchstone for Chinese mainland to test their so-called
Earlier on October 10, Taiwan's new “president”,
Tsai Ing-wen, delivered her first “National Day” speech, in which she claimed
to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and called on the two
government to engage in positive dialogue. “I call on the Chinese mainland
authorities to face up the facts of the existence of the "Republic of
China" and Taiwan people's firm belief in the democratic system,” she also
said in her speech outside the Presidential Office that they will neither bow
to pressure nor back to the old way of confrontation.
Meanwhile, the U.S. says it supports the Taiwanese
leader's call for dialogue with China amid increased tensions between the
self-governing island and the communist government in Beijing, according to the
Daniel Russei, the Assistant Secretary of State for
East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Tuesday that the U.S. has a "deep and
abiding interest" in stability across the Taiwan Strait, and welcomes
constructive steps by both sides to improve relations. He called for
flexibility, creativity and patience.