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The Green Awards

The Westword is a free newspaper that is offered in Denver, Colorado. Independently established in 1977, it was bought seven years later by New York Times Media, a company that is now known as Village Voice Media. Westword is a member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and has received numerous awards for their stories. Westword has several regular features focusing on local events including arts, entertainment and politics.

The Denver Post is a daily newspaper and online website published in Denver, Colorado and is the sole major newspaper in Denver. It ranks in the top 50 largest-circulation newspapers in the United States, with an average weekday circulation of 255,452. The Denver Post is the flagship newspaper of MediaNews Group Inc., founded in 1983 by William Dean Singleton and Richard Scudder. MediaNews is today one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, publisher of 61 daily newspapers and more than 120 non-daily publications in 13 states. MediaNews bought The Denver Post from the Times Mirror Co. on Dec. 1, 1987. Times Mirror had bought the paper from the heirs of founder Frederick Gilmer Bonfils in 1980.  These two publications happened to run a very similar story on the recent addition of a piece of art to the Denver landscape from the Green Awards.

The idea of correlation is important in newspapers and all news sources. Correlation involves the ways in which media is able to interpret events and issues and translate meanings to help individuals understand their importance and roles within the larger society. In these articles, green energy, a new and upcoming idea, is being presented and launched in the Denver area to celebrate the best green ideas, thinkers and initiatives across the nation. A wall size mural in downtown Denver made of a “garden-sized plot of live green grass” has been created in the effort to spread green awareness and the idea of green energy.

The articles in both WestWord and The Denver Post use descriptions and quotes from reputable sources to help demonstrate the importance and larger meaning of what green energy is and has the potential to be. Through campaigns, advertisements and word of mouth, the launch of green energy will impact the larger community and help create understanding for the importance of this new way of living.  While it’s clear that both writers did significant research about the Green Awards, they differed in their discussion of the event.

There are a variety of examples of instances where certain pieces of information are covered in the Westword article but not in the Denver post article and vice versa.  For example, the Denver Post article goes into great detail about previous Green Awards public events.  The first event was held in Venice Beach, California and featured “a giant image designed to be seen from the air carved into beach sand. “  The second advertisement found its home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and their mural was carved into the snow.  These cities all showed their individual commitment to green living and were subsequently rewarded for their efforts.  This evidence is supported by the Green Awards website, in which you can see different photos of the artistic creations from each event.  By presenting these pieces of information the Denver Post gives the Denver version of these advertisements credibility and shows how the organization has become a nationwide phenomenon.

Another example of information that was not covered by both outlets was the consideration of the addition of recycling services to the downtown Denver area.  While most of the suburban areas around Denver do have the luxury of free recycling services, the downtown and urban residents do not.  The LoDo district of downtown almost received this service but for some reason the signature purple recycling bins never appeared.  However, the 16th street mall has since introduced a series of 10 bright yellow recycling bins along the major intersections of the mall. City officials hope that instead of simply throwing their recyclable materials away, residents will continue to promote green living and look for the yellow bins as an alternative option for their waste materials.  This piece of information is well supported by the downtown Denver website and it adds a lot to the Westword’s overall story.  By including these ideas the Westword illustrates how dedicated the city of Denver is to recycling and helps the reader understand why Denver has won the most recent green award and justifies that Denver does deserve this recognition for its efforts.

A third piece of information covered by the Denver Post and not the Westword was background information on Bjorgvin Saevarsson, the co-founder of the Green Awards program and Maikel va de Mortel, the co-founder of Elements Six media, the company that designed and created the art for each city.  The Denver Post had interviewed both of them and by quoting each one in the article about their ideas, inspiration, and passion for the project, it helps the reader to really understand where the concept came from and how it came to live.  Their partnership eventually led to the idea of working together with the Green Giant, who is a great healthy food personality and a perfectly appropriate mascot for the awards.

Both publications took lengthy measures to make sure their stories were reputable.  The Westword legitimizes its position by focusing on the way in which Denver has earned the green award.  By focusing on the recycling initiatives already in place for Denver residents, the Westword illustrates the Denver is an eco-friendly city and it’s certainly a worthy candidate for such an honor.

The Denver Post legitimizes its position by quoting Saevarsson and Mortel and letting them explain how the intiative came to be and its subsequent success.  Mortel said, “ corporations and artists don’t usually go together, but we thought about how we could combine them” and once they finally got their feet on the ground they were approached by the Green Giant Corporation.  This really shows how serious the program is and gives credibility to the Denver Post because they have significant evidence supporting their coverage of the story.

Both the Downtown Denver website and the Elements Six Media website verify the information that the Post and the Westword have presented.  The Elements Six website showcases a photo of the Denver wall installation and the Downtown Denver site discusses the introduction and use of recycling bins along the 16th street mall.

This was not the first time Denver-based eco-friendly activity has been covered in the media.  Alan Prendergast covered this issue a few years earlier in the Westword, discussing the way in which Denver has embraced the single-stream recycling system in order to decrease landfill costs and improve the overall quality of the city.  This article ran four years ago in 2007, and if someone read the 2007 article first and then found out that Denver won a Green Award, they would certainly be impressed with Denver’s effort to improve the city and would believe that the articles are consistent with each other.

The Denver Post broke this story first by two days, running the article on February 19th.  The Westword was not far behind, making its entrance to the story on February 21st.   The Post had a stronger argument because of its use of back-story and information on the founders and the previous work that the campaign has done in other cities.  By including descriptions of the other murals and artistic renderings of the Green Awards advertisements in Venice Beach and Philadelphia, it provides the reader with further understanding of how extravagant and captivating the Denver installation really is.


Calhoun, Patricia. “Green Awards Looking for Grassroots Ideas: How about Recycling by the Program’s Ad? – Denver News – The Latest Word.” The Denver Westword Blogs. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. <http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2011/02/green_awards_recycling.php&gt;.

O’Connor, Colleen. “Green Awards Campaign to Launch in Denver, Promote Green Ideas – The Denver Post.” Colorado Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic – The Denver Post. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. <http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_17428226&gt;.

Pavlik, John V., and Shawn McIntosh. Converging Media: a New Introduction to Mass Communication. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

The Green Awards | Brought to You by Green Giant. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <https://thegreenawards.com/&gt;. Web.

“A Giant Beach Message Trying to Make a Difference.” Element Six Media – Creating Green Media Buzz™. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.elementsixmedia.com/?p=1407&gt;.

“The City of Brotherly Love Gets The World’s First Snow Mural.” Element Six Media – Creating Green Media Buzz™. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.elementsixmedia.com/?p=1416&gt;.

“Eco-Friendly Ads May Grow on You.” Element Six Media – Creating Green Media Buzz™. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.elementsixmedia.com/?p=1427&gt;.

A, A. “The Hunt for Green – Page 1 – News – Denver – Westword.” Denver News, Events, Restaurants, Music Westword. 26 Apr. 2007. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.westword.com/2007-04-26/news/the-hunt-for-green/&gt;.

“16 Street Mall Recycling”. Downtown Denver. Web. Feb 23, 2011. <http://www.downtowndenver.com/AboutUs/ProgramsandInitiatives/AGreenerDowntown/16thStreetMallRecycling/tabid/239/Default.aspx&gt;

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. michellee3
    February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    From Chelsea Clement and Michelle Earley –

    Great paper! We really liked how you had many links in your paper which could easily allow a reader to access other information in case of questions. You could add stronger transitions to each paragraph to allow your paper to flow a little better and increase readability.

  2. February 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Great introduction and background information on the sources. You also did a great job comparing and contrasting the two sources, and summarizing the claims that the sources make about how we can make Denver more green. I would go a little more in depth on the evidence behind the sources’ reasoning, and also incorporate some information from the textbook. Other than that great job

    -Brendan C

  3. na828
    February 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    You could add a conclusion which includes which article you guys feel has a more convincing argument.

  4. March 2, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Great analysis, Tommy and Jill! I agree with the suggestions from your colleagues. They are minor but will improve the overall flow and readability of your entry. Good work!

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