Smoking Gun Report Essay

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Your assignment is to analyze each of these memos and write a 700-800 word report showing how one is a good example of professional writing while the other is an example of poor professional writing. You will evaluate the memos in light of the situation, the style and the organization. Style, Organization, and Effective Communication Choices in style and organization have a great influence on the way a document is received and how successfully it fulfills its intended purpose. The consequences of the author’s decisions in these matters can be a matter of life and death. This is shown very clearly in the two “smoking gun” documents you will be examining for this assignment. The first memo is from D. F. Hallman, the manager of plant performance for Babcock and Wilson. The second memo is from R. M. Boisjoly at Morton Thiokol. Both of these memos have become famous as “smoking guns” since they played a major role in pointing out problems that were ignored and that eventually led to catastrophic consequences.

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Does the author use any key words or phrases to add to the persuasive effect? •Look at the author’s voice. Is the author detached and uncaring or is he engaging and personal? How does he engage the reader? Is his tone accusatory or friendly or impersonal? •Word choice is important in persuasive writing. Examine each document for words that the writer uses to show the importance of the subject. Preparing the Report Part I-Introduction •Mention the kairos of each situation: who, what, when, where, why, how •Be brief and to the point •Give some biographical information on each of the authors •Be brief and to the point. At the end of the introduction, present the purpose of your report Part II-Evaluation of Memo #1 (it doesn’t matter which memo you start with) •Examine the way the memo is set up including the subject line, the purpose, the layout and design introductory paragraph, the thesis statement and show how all of these elements contribute to the overall effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the final product.

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Look at the choice of words. Pick out any figurative language. Does the author use second person and active voice? How does word choice influence the overall effectiveness of the document? Part IV-Your opinion and contrast. By this time, it should be pretty obvious to you which memo is an example of good professional writing and which one is an example of poor professional writing. In this section you will draw conclusions from what you have written in parts II and III and will tell which memo is the most effective and why. You will do a little contrast in this section.

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