This article in the New York Times about Dave McDonald, a 70-year-old man jailed for drug use, was intriguing and infuriating, all good things for a story to do. It is about a man, strong in his convictions, who was denied basic human rights while in prison. When jailed, he had been a vegetarian for 42 years, but because he was not vegetarian for religious or medical reasons he was denied vegetarian meals, and thus lost 50 pounds
while in jail. The author, Scott James, is an Emmy winning journalist. He does a very good job of conveying both sides of the story and being objective, yet using language that conveys to the reader that this is about an individual’s rights. By explaining how McDonald lost so much weight and using quotes from him about his strong feelings, a reader will probably feel sympathy for McDonald, while James still explains the logistical problems that stem from the other side of this issue.
“‘I don’t want animal corpses on my plate,’ said Mr. McDonald, who is now free on bail. ‘My belief in not hurting animals is more powerful than any religious belief.’”
James still explains the other side, though:
“…accommodating a multitude of diet demands from the facility’s 300 inmates was problematic.”
The author also uses a multitude of sources, including the victim, jail personnel, the president of PETA, a civil liberties lawyer, and a captain from the sheriff’s office, among others.
This article, by Tiffany Hsu, is good because it addresses an issue that is very prevalent in today’s culture. Many people are vegetarian, gluten-free, or have other food allergies or restrictions. This article explains that restaurants are beginning to recognize that and accommodate those people who have food preferences or allergies. For example, Chipotle is making it clear that its pinto beans are cooked with bacon, and P.F. Changs has vegetarian and gluten-free menus. The article also has several statistics about vegetarianism and its prevalence, as well as food allergy statistics. These help bring hard facts to the story that proves the claims the author is making about customers needing this information. This proof is important to the reader because we now know, yes, there are a lot of people that need this extra information when going out to eat. It is very important for vegetarians because they need to know that their food isn’t cooked with meat, and at fast food places or even normal restaurants, knowing that can be difficult sometimes. This article uses a lot of sources as well, including the research director for the Vegetarian Resource Group, as well as everyday customers. She also describes a lot of different examples of this plethora of information regarding allergies and vegetarianism in menus at restaurants that is currently taking place.
This story by Kirk Johnson about restaurants in Aspen, Colorado jumping on the “meatless Monday” bandwagon is a great human interest story. Martin Oswald is the restaurateur who pioneered the effort, and has gotten many restaurants to join the movement. The author did his research on the subject and explains how hospitals and schools have already embraced vegetarian options for a while now in Aspen. He gives background about the effect of vegetables compared to meat on the environment and about the Meatless Monday Campaign. He also describes problems with the movement according to some restaurateurs about “tacking on” menu items for meatless Monday. He compares this health conscious movement with the city’s reputation as being very fitness oriented. He also talks about the possibility of passing a resolution for public support, which so far has gone nowhere.