Media Analysis: Sean Penn and Haiti

I read Moni Basu’s article about Sean Penn and the efforts the Oscar winner is making to help the people of Haiti. Penn founded the J/R Haitian Relief Organization that offers aid to the people who are suffering from diseases brought on by the earthquake. With his star power and money, this organization seems to sometimes be able to get certain jobs done faster then other organizations such as UNICEF. This is because their numbers are smaller but the amount of pull Penn possess helps tremendously.

The article begins with Penn’s fight to find an antitoxin or a 15-year-old boy, Oriel, who had developed diphtheria. Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system and the vaccine needed to cure him is nowhere to be found. The author, Basu, paints us a picture of Penn’s demeanor and attitude as he smokes cigarettes and struggles to find the cure for Oriel’s disease. We see the drama to save his boy unfold throughout the story and I believe it helps you connect more with Penn and how even stars can be compassionate.

This level shows Penn in a different light. We see him away from the bad-boy image he has been given and the awards he has received. Here, we see him using his opinionated attitude to save the lives of the people under his watch. However, Basu does not try to convince us Penn is a great humanitarian, she shows us with the actions she records. His fight to find the vaccine, his anger towards the hospital staff when they try to turn the boy away, and the lack of actions being taken by certain organizations.

This article used a lot of description and set the scene up for readers. Off the bat, we can picture Penn disgruntled and frustrated, sucking down a Marlboro Light and figuring out his course of action. If that wasn’t enough there is also a video available that shows the interview been Sean Penn and Anderson Cooper. Here, audiences can vividly see the emotion in Penn’s face as he describes how it’s taking hours to get simple tasks down. This article truly inspires me to get involved with helping Haiti get back on its feet.

About Ayan Jama

I am a University of Oregon graduate with a BA in Journalism with a focus in Magazine and Public Relations. I enjoy foreign movies, white chocolate, shoes, and friends & family.
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