Enterprise Analysis: The Float Builder

Dave Cohen and his hippo float masterpiece

The article I analyzed this week was from The Oregonian and is about Dave Cohen, a volunteer float builder for the Portland Rose Festival. It pertains to my enterprise story because it’s about a man taking time to better his neighborhood, in however small a manner. The extra time and energy spent by Cohen is what makes this article special, because so few people volunteer their hours for the enjoyment of others. It is not often that you come across people who take pleasure in trying to improve or create things for the betterment of the collective whole rather than just themselves.

Larry Bingham start the story off in a compelling way, with a bold statement about Dave’s wife being a “Rose Festival widow.” It automatically catches the reader’s attention, and cleverly relates to Cohen’s serious commitment to building floats for the festival. Bingham then moves into the popularity of volunteering for the festival, and how it has become a tradition for many groups every year. Bingham uses just the facts to tell the story, rather than having to state it himself. He goes into vivid detail of Cohen’s jobs as a float decorator, something that is interesting as well as admirable.

From a description of all the float volunteers to a brief day-in-the-life of a float maker, Bingham then moves into who Cohen is outside of float-making. Such a brief description gives a rather compelling look into Cohen’s life, which I think is probably the mark of good writing. Bingham packages this story into a fairly short news clip, but it reads like a mini-feature that gives all the necessary information and remains very interesting to his audience, especially an audience online. The quotes he uses from Cohen’s wife and several other sources are interesting and placed very well within the story.

What I love about this story is that it’s a feel-good story with a great message. Cohen gives back to his community and does it in a way that is creative and quite compelling. The story ends on a really great quote from Cohen’s wife that sums up the message of the story perfectly.

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