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Article- Profit for Pain. Effective writing style? (1 Viewer)

Salad

Member
This is an article I wrote for my school's newspaper. Please tell me what you think about it? Is the writing style effective for getting my point accross?

Profit for Pain: Chocolate and Slavery in the Ivory Coast

Your teeth sink into the Hershey bar, and as you bite off a big chunk of chocolate and chew, you reflect on the taste. Of all the thoughts going through your head, none of them at that moment are negative. You think- “What a lovely chocolate bar,” or- “Delicious;” but you do not pause to consider the chocolate’s history- where it came from, or who made it. You do not know that you are sinking your teeth into the fruits of child slave labor.
The Ivory Coast, not renowned for its human rights record, employs some 15,000 children (conservative estimate), most between the ages of 12 and 16 on years old, in its cocoa, cotton, and coffee fields, many of them slaves, bought at the equivalent of 35 U.S. dollars (news.bbc.co.uk, www.american.edu). These children are picked up along the road in neighboring countries and promised a good job and money for their family. Big chocolate companies such as Hershey, Nestle, and Mars (the makers of the popular M&Ms, and candy bars like Snickers, Three Musketeers, and Milkyways), who buy their chocolate from the Ivory Coast, know about this, but claim they cannot be held responsible for where their chocolate comes from; that what their suppliers do is none of their business (www.radicalthought.org). Still, other chocolate companies, such as Green and Black’s, or Newman's Own, seem to have no trouble keeping a clean human rights record, often through the international organization Fairtrade.
The organization, started in 1992, buys goods (chocolate, coffee, cotton, etc…) from small farmers in third world countries at living wage prices, so that the farmers can afford schooling for their children, housing, clean water and food, and health care (www.fairtrade.org.uk). Though Fairtrade has sunk in more in Europe, where it was started, people in the States are becoming more and more aware of it, and it is becoming increasingly popular for coffee shops to have the logo stuck in their window. Santa Fe boasts one such watering hole: One World Coffee, a cozy place, filled with nice art, nifty people, comfy sofas, and brilliant coffee.
Fairtrade goods, bought with living wages, have the downside of being quite a bit more expensive than they would otherwise be. One World Coffee, for example, nearly shut down in August due to the combined cost of fair-trade goods and the staff’s wages, but was saved by a flurry of donations from world conscious coffee lovers.
But is Fairtrade for everyone? Roughly one third of ATC students polled do not support the program. “Because they live there, and we’re here,” one student said. On the other hand, a supporter believed that “They deserve money for their hard work.”
Not many people are aware of Fair Trade, or its importance. It seems strange that chocolate, that delightful little treat, and coffee, with its lovely aroma, two things that seem so harmless, are fanning the flames of the slave industry. Today, with all our proclamations of liberty, should we not extend the luxury to everyone? The world, with the internet, fast travel, and a global economy, is not so separate as it once was; and Fairtrade is the first step to international social fairness, but it will only succeed if the average person is aware of the problems.
Slavery in America was abolished more than 100 years ago, but the problem is far from solved. In cases like these, where the world’s governments stand to the side, and when corporations refuse to give in, the power of change lies solely in the hands of the average person. Anyone can help; even knowing about the situation, and caring enough to stop eating slave made chocolate and supporting local, Fairtrade, shops, is enough. But one can also spread the word, write letters to the editor, join international human rights groups, or go so far as to contact lawmakers and chocolate companies to express concern over the injustices which we shamefully allow.
 
C

cat1010

You first paragraph makes me feel a little defensive, honestly, like I should feel bad about not ever thinking about the origins of chocolate. I'd probably stop reading at that point if I saw this in a newspaper.

If you're trying to pick up readers, I'd say try to write in a way that makes us feel like you're on our side at the beginning. Maybe talk about how you've eaten chocolate and one day stopped to think, and then wonder how many other people realize, etc.
 

archer88iv

Senior Member
If I were an editor looking at your first paragraph I'd be more concerned with your punctuation than my own guilt at consuming chocolate. You don't need a comma before 'and,' ("...Hershey bar, and as..."), but you could use one after 'and' to enclose the clause you have there about chewing.

The guys who buy these articles start off defensive, as if every word from an unknown writer is an affront to grammar and decency (ok, I'm exaggerating--a little).

As for the guys who read these articles after they're purchased... If your intention is simply to inform, the, "I'm not evil, I swarez!" reaction provoked in that first paragraph may be a little much, but it does function as a hook. If your intention is to make your reader buy more expensive chocolate or forego the treat altogether, it may be too abrasive. Insert cliche about flies and sugar, etc.

One thing to remember: it takes a kind-hearted soul to make a sacrifice even as tiny as a candy bar, so be nice to them; they genuinely want to help, or they're not going to be respond to your article no matter what.

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Edited for white space. This interface is kicking my butt. -.-
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
Definitely need to do a lot of editing and get rid of those parens cluttering up your work. Put a small paragraph at the end for the website links and attributions if need be. Also, work on the punctuation. Sounds like you have a good article, but it's a tough read for all the clutter.
 
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