Rosanna Xia "Sea Lions Are Dying From a Mysterious Cancer. The Culprits? Herpes and DDT" News Summary

By Tatum Smith

Writer’s Note: I used Rosanna Xia’s articles throughout my time in my reporting and writing across platforms class. This was my first news summary for this class. I was interesting to dive into the writing process of a great writer.

Why this story is news?

This news story is about sea lions dying in a mysterious way. Although there are not household names of people being used, in the headline other household names are. Herpes and DDT are two causing factors of the mysterious cancer that these sea lions are getting. This story also has some conflict, sea lions v. nature, sea lions v. humans, and humans v. nature. This article gives information on how these sea lions are forming this cancer. One big factor is from pollutants being dumped into the water. This story has a big impact on the reader. After reading this article humans should have some sort of emotional response. Xia wrote this article to spread news on the impacts that humans are having on the environment. The who are the sea lions, the what is a mysterious cancer, the how is herpes and DDT. In this article there is not a specific when, where, or why stated in the headline and lede. As you read the story you grasp more of this information. After two decades of marine scientists studying in California this is happening because of pollutants and other factors

How they reported the story?

One of the main sources in article is The Marine Mammal Center. Their cause is to research, rescue, and rehabilitate marine life to conserve the ocean. This source along with others in the article are credible. The research from The Marine Mammal Center is shown throughout Xia’s story. The story shows credible sources had contains enough background information through hyperlinks for the reader to be fully informed.

How have they used multimedia elements?

In this story, the writer, Rosanna Xia added hyperlinks throughout. This allows the reader to click though and get information and facts that she used to create her article. Some of these links being previously written articles by Xia, studies that marine biologist completed, and links to The Marine Mammal Center. These links help the reader get background information that might not be fully stated in the article. The link to the study that is titled, “Persistent Contaminants and Herpesvirus OtHV1 Are Positively Associated with Cancer in Wild California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)”. This enhances the story since it shows a real-life study done on sea lions and what their cause of death is.

How it was shared?

This story was shared on the Los Angeles Times. It was published on The Marine Mammal Center, iNaturalist, Twitter, and Instagram. Her article was published on the front page of Los Angeles Times. Most of the post share this headline, “~25% of the sea lions that first responders bring to the @TMMC in California have died from this one aggressive cancer – among the highest prevalence of a single type of cancer in any mammal, including humans.” According to Xia, this research has been going on for around 20 years. In her Instagram post she portrayed excitement and relief that there is finally an explanation to the rising death of sea lions.

Sea lions are dying from a mysterious cancer. The culprits? Herpes and DDT