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Don't ask, don't tell repealed by Senate

By Jared Anderson

The U.S. Senate voted to end the controversial military policy that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
The Star Tribune was very positive in its coverage of the decision. Its story included interviews of a gay veteran and a gay Minnesotan who tried to fight the policy, as well as a Democratic politician who voted to repeal the policy and a representative for the DFL party who supported the repealing.
There were no interviews with anyone who supported the policy. There were also no interviews, quotes, or even mentions of any politicians who voted to keep the policy in place, nor were there any mention of the rationale for keeping it in place.
The story was titled "Minnesotans cheer Senate vote," which might refer more to what the Star Tribune was doing about the decision than the entire state.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press produced a much longer, more thorough article on the vote, taking the novel step to quote several opponents of the decision as well as supporters.
What Don't Ask Don't tell really comes down to is a conflict over whether homosexuality is a choice or tied up in genetics. If genes control whether a person is gay or not, then the military would not be able to reject prospective military members because of a genetic trait like race or sex.
However, if homosexuality is a choice that individuals make, or an action that people participate in, then the military has every right to 'discriminate' against someone choosing to be gay as much as it can 'discriminate' against, and refuse to accept, someone who chooses to support a terrorist organization instead of the U.S. military.

St Paul superintendent finishes first year

By Jared Anderson

St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva, who has just finished her first year heading up the school district, has been in the news lately after calling two snow days in a row last week.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press frames a pseudo-profile of Silva as a follow-up to the news story about the snow days. She was criticized publicly by the mayor for the decision.
The Pioneer Press article highlights some of the actions Silva has taken and some of the problems she's faced. One major problem has been a gap between test scores from white students and minority students.
The Star Tribune chooses to make its article more of a stand-alone profile in Q and A form.
It covers much of the same ground, Silva's most proud achievements and the problems the school district still faces, in a shorter article that doesn't go in depth into any one issue.
The issue of race and test scores is not mentioned in the Tribune article. This might have to do with the fact that it is a Q and A, so if Silva doesn't mention the issue directly, there is no way for the journalist to put background on the situation in.

Sterger won't sue Favre for harrassment if he is suspended

By Jared Anderson

Former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger won't pursue a lawsuit if the NFL suspends Brett Favre over Sterger's claims that he sexually harrassed her in 2008, Sterger's lawyer said.
Phil Reese, Sterger's lawyer, appeared on the Dan Patrick show, expressing his and Sterger's belief that a convincing case was made to the NFL that showed Favre's behavior being inappropriate, the Huffington Post reported.
Farve has been accused of sending sexual voicemail and text messages to Sterger when both were with the Jets in 2008. Back in October, Deadspin.com posted some of the picture messages sent to Sterger showing male genitalia that Sterger claims to be from Favre.
Most news organizations did not print the photos because of their graphic and pornographic nature, and because the messages were private and not given to the news media. Deadspin claims the pictures and voicemails came from a third party, not Sterger herself.
Now, Sterger has reportedly threatened to release more damaging information about Favre if the NFL Quarterback is not suspended, if a report from TMZ.com is to be believed.
If Sterger were to release more inappropriate photos, voicemails, or other information, sports news organizations would face another ethical dilemma on how much, if any, of it they should print. Since Deadspin.com was one of the few sites to print the original pictures, Sterger's information handout might not have as many takers as she would hope. Perhaps Sterger needs a big-name publishing group to help her out - Wikileaks, anyone?

University golf coach to sue after resigning

By Jared Anderson

Former University of Minnesota golf coach Katie Brenny is beginning the process of suing the University, claiming she was discriminated against based on her sexual orientation.
Brenny, who served as associate coach for the women's golf team for around two months this fall, said that her job description changed when officials in the golf program found out that she was a lesbian, the Star Tribune reports.
Brenny didn't travel with the team to any competitions and wasn't allowed to speak to players about golf, the Minnesota Daily reports.
The Daily covered the story several weeks ago, noting that Brenny was replaced by a relative of the director of golf. While the Daily printed both the director's name and the name of his relative in both stories, the Star Tribune chose not to include either name or the exact position title for the director.
The decision may have to do with the fact that the story suggests that the golf director treated Brenny poorly because she was gay, although the discrimination charges haven't even been made official by Brenny's lawyer yet, much less proven in court. Having the director's name tied to the 'homophobia' label (which is already an unbelievably inaccurate and overused term) could cause undue harm to him and his career, especially if the charges are never proven.

Mother and sons killed by fleeing man in car crash

By Jared Anderson

A Minneapolis mother and her two young sons were killed after being broadsided while in their car by a man who was fleeing police Sunday night.
KSTP has the story, leading by calling the event a "tragic story" and announcing immediately that the family died in the crash.
KARE11 also covered the crash, but led into the story much more softly, reporting on a police chase and a car crash before reporting the mother and sons' deaths.
The man was being chased by State Troopers when he broadsided the family's car at the intersection of Broadway and North 2nd Street in Minneapolis.
The man fleeing police, Rufus Victor, has a fairly extensive previous criminal record, KSTP reported early, showing a picture of Victor. KARE11 also reported on the criminal record, but later in the story, and did not report Victor's name, noting that he had not yet been charged.
Both news stories included the names of the mother and both of her sons.

Kill named next gopher football coach

By Jared Anderson

Northern Illinois head football coach Jerry Kill is the new head coach for the Minnesota Gophers, KSTP News reported Sunday night.
Kill was on a plane heading to Minneapolis Sunday night, KSTP reported. There will be a press conference Monday afternoon to officially make the announcement.
Kill announced to his staff at Northern Illinois Sunday morning that he would be leaving to take the Minnesota job, ESPN1500 reported.
The fan reaction was decidedly negative, partly because Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi promised to go after a 'big-name' coach after firing Tim Brewster earlier this year.
Despite rumors that former college head coaches like Mike Leach and Minnesota Vikings assistant Leslie Frazier were candidates, Maturi eventually went with the less-flashy Kill, perhaps because many better-known coaches turned down the Minnesota job, KSTP reported.

Thieves breaking into cars in Dinkytown

By Jared Anderson

There have been 46 car break-ins reported around campus this month, an unusually high total, writes the Minnesota Daily.
The Daily begins its story by recreating the scene of when Ashley Nelson's car was broken into earlier this week. She said that only batteries were found missing.
In fact, the Star Tribune reported on Nov. 11 on a large number of cars being broken into in the Minneapolis area in general.
The thieves have taken several items of great value, but have also left a few high-priced things behind. One student said his $300 knife was untouched, as was another student's radar detector.
The robbers haven't been caught yet, and police say that is in part because of the method that is being used to break into the cars. The suspects have found a way to break the window so that it "doesn't make any noise, but it just shatters and it makes the whole window disperse," police told the Daily.

Somalis react to sex trafficking news

By Jared Anderson

As Minneapolis responds to the sex trafficking charges involving several Somali girls, the Star Tribune creates a more personal take on an analysis, looking into the lives of Minneapolis Somali girls.
Tribune reporter Allie Shah notes that many Somali girls lack a strong mother figure or become involved in conflicts with prominent females in their lives. This can cause the girls to run away, where they get pulled into prostitution as the only way to earn money.
Shah creates a scene, describing a young Somali girl (a friend of one of her sources) who moves to America with her older sister, but becomes resentful of her sisters protectiveness and runs away from home.
At the same time, Shah points out several groups aiming to help Somali women, such as the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, which is trying to help Somali girls avoid the pit of prostitution.

Man jumps to death after nightclub fight

By Jared Anderson

A West St. Paul man jumped to his death off of a freeway overpass early Saturday morning, apparently as he tried to escape police after being involved in a fight outside a nightclub, police said.
The man, Jason Yang, 29, was believed to have started a fight outside of the Epic nightclub on 5th Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.
Police were called to the scene to break up the fight, and when they arrived, Yang fled the scene, ending up on the Interstate 394 offramp, where he jumped, apparently misjudging the distance of the fall, the Tribune story says.
KARE 11 news provided a chronological story about the event shortly after it happened, before Yang's name was released.
TwinCities.com posted an update of the story online after Yang was identified, becoming the only story to put Yang's name in the lead.
All three media organizations noted that five police officers were placed on paid administrative leave, a standard practice when dealing with a traumatic event.

Students may felonies for false vouching during elections

by Jared Anderson
Several student members of Students Organizing for America, a political student group, may be charged with felonies over allegations that they broke state laws when they vouched for other voters in the midterm elections last Tuesday.
The incident began on election night when a shouting match broke out between voters and election officials at University Lutheran Church, the Minnesota Daily reported last Wednesday.
Election judges reported several instances of a voter vouching for someone he or she didn't know, according to further coverage from the Daily, which continued to focus on the confrontations between voters and judges.
Minneapolis Police responded to a call from church staff, arriving at the voting site to remove a person who was disrupting the polling place, Fox 9 News notes, but the trespasser was gone by the time the police arrived.
Over half of the voters in the precinct registered the day of the elections, MinnPost.com notes in its coverage, which bypassed coverage of the shouting confrontations in favor of a longer explanation of the same-day registration and vouching processes.
The Star Tribune didn't report on the allegations against the students, but did publish a story on its website on election night, but did report on challengers at election sites. Elections manager Rachel Smith called the Republican-appointed challengers "overly aggressive."
Minneapolis interim elections director Ginny Gelms said she would file a report with the Minnesota Secretary of State's office, which would start an investigation into the incident, according to the Daily.