The environmental journalism Sydney-(out)sider
On March 23, 2017, Elizabeth Roberts highlighted the dehorning of rhinos in the Czech Republic. In her article, Roberts argued that the decision to dehorn 21 rhinos at the zoo was necessary for the health and wellbeing of the rhinos after the killing of a four-year-old rhino in France by poachers looking to get its valuable horn.
Roberts uses her language and journalistic style well to convey her message to her readers. Her lead is very well done, including the Who, What, Where, and Why of the story all in the opening sentence. The When is also added later on in the story, thus allowing Roberts to include all of the details necessary for her point. Her word choice and sentence structure make the article easy to read for any audience that stumbles upon the story.
Her article loses some credibility, in my opinion, because of her very strong bias toward the practice of dehorning. Though she has five sources, Roberts only cites directors, spokeswomen, and managers of the zoos and government groups. In other words, she creates a very corporate-centered argument. Roberts lacks any quotes from actual veterinarians or zookeepers who, as one student pointed out during the class discussion, can have very different opinions to those directors and corporate officials. She does not go into detail about what is done with the horns after they are cut off, what kinds of effects dehorning can have on the rhinos, what effects it could potentially have on visitor attendance at the zoo, or why they are seen as so valuable. She also presents no alternative to protecting the rhinos besides just cutting off their horns, a measure I think is fairly extreme. Though she utilizes quotes well to get her angle across, it makes the article less objective and not as reliable in terms of getting all of the information surrounding the decision.