Connecticut's governor, M. Jodi Rell, just issued a veto on a bill that would allow illegal aliens to qualify for in-state college tuition in the state's university system.
Local papers dutifully reported the news. Below are headlines from various papers across the state:
- Illegal immigrants tuition bill vetoed -- Connecticut Post
- Rell vetoes bill to give undocumented children in-state rates for college -- New Haven Register
- Rell deals blow to children of illegal immigrants -- Danbury News-Times
- Veto Dissolves College Dream -- Hartford Courant
The Courant article also starts off by telling the reader of the "shattered dreams" of Victoria (no last name), a graduate of New Haven's Wilbur Cross High School. She will not be able to afford to attend the University of Connecticut (UConn) to study criminal justice. Yes, criminal justice:
The future looked bright for the young woman, holding a white rose to symbolize hope, as she prepared to graduate under sunny skies Tuesday from Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven.
But a few minutes before she was handed her diploma, family members who were watching learned that the proud graduate's prospects had dimmed.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have allowed students such as the woman - an undocumented immigrant from Mexico but a longtime Connecticut resident - to pay in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. Instead, they pay higher, often prohibitive, out-of-state tuition.
You can almost hear the violins playing in the background.
The first headline is fairly cut-and-dried, but each one after that becomes a little more emotional. By bringing children into the mix (it's for the children!), the "blow" dealt them and the dissolved "college dreams," sympathy is more likely to be aroused in the reader, therefore increasing the chance that he might become outraged by the plight of those being affected by the veto.
In fact, based on its construction, the Courant piece seems more like a feature article than a hard news story. According to this online tutorial from Central Queensland University in Australia:
Hard news, for instance, has little use for adverbs and adjectives; however, feature writers use plenty of these. News reporters also avoid opinion and comment; however, feature stories are frequently full of both.
The human interest angle is a time-honored tradition in journalism, and is often successful in getting a particular point of view across in what might at first seem to be a straightforward news piece. This is something we all need to remember when reading, watching, or listening to news stories about hot-button topics such as the current illegal alien debate.