February 2012 Archives

Storm system tears across the nation

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At least 12 people have died after a severe storm system enveloped the Midwest Wednesday, marking the start of what appears to be another deadly tornado season.

According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes and powerful winds tore off roofs, downed power lines, tossed mobile homes and injured more than 150 people from Kansas to Kentucky, the New York Times said.

One of the areas that was hit hardest by these early-season storms was Harrisburg, a small town in southern Illinois. According to Lt. Tracy Felty of the Saline County Sheriff's Office, six people were killed in the storm and about 100 more were injured.

Another city damaged by the storm system is country music showcase, Branson, Missouri. An EF2 tornado smashed at least seven miles of the city's commercial strip, leaving 33 people hurt- most with minor injuries, CNN reported.

The number of tornadoes wasn't necessarily higher than normal for this time of year. But it was in densely populated areas, according to CNN meteorologist Sean Morris. Most tornado outbreaks in late winter or early spring generally occur in the southern and central Plains, which are less populated.

However, as the U.S. transitions into March and April, it's likely that severe weather events will increase in frequency, Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, told the New York Times.

Multimedia Analysis

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The two news organizations I compared for this entry were the Pioneer Press and the Washington Post.

Both multimedia options feature photos, local videos, and national videos.

The Washington Post's multimedia options are certainly greater than the Pioneer Press. The Press, as a local news organization, is more focused on local news. The Post is a national affiliate, and therefore has more news covering the national level.

Multimedia options do a great job of presenting a story through photographs or video instead of words.

The language in multimedia stories is different, it doesn't always have to be past-tense. The captions describe what is going on in the pictures, while still progressing the story forward by saying how that picture relates to what the story is about.

Elementary school girl dies after fight

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An 11-year-old girl from Long Beach, Ca. died Friday, hours after a fight with a classmate.

Joanna Ramos, as identified by friends, was hospitalized Friday night, not feeling well. She underwent surgery, and was pronounced dead shortly before 9 p.m. on Friday, the Press-Telegram reported.

The fight occurred in an alley near the school, and didn't appear to be serious or violent. Neither girl was knocked to the ground, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police have not said what prompted the fight, but friends have said it was over a boy.

No arrests have been made.

Police are still waiting on the results of the autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Man arrested in Eagan on charges of shoplifting

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A man was charged with shoplifting Friday after allegedly walking out of an Eagan store with a television in his pants.

On Dec. 5, Eric Lee King, a 21-year-old from Columbia Heights, walked out of a Wal-Mart in Eagan on with a 19-inch television in his pants, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the criminal complaint, a police officer was outside the store and noticed King walking strangely. When asked to stop, King ignored the officer.

After handcuffed, the officer noticed King had a square item stuffed into his pants- a 19-inch flat-screen television.

King also had other items in his trousers, among them a TV remote control, power cords, and a bottle of brake fluid, and two pills later determined to be Xanax, the Pioneer Press said.

Columbia Heights man charged with attempted murder

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A Columbia Heights man was charged with attempted murder on Friday after he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend over the weekend.

Antonio Robinson, 39, was arrested on Feb. 19 after officers were called to a home on the 3700 block of Tyler Street in Columbia Heights. At the house police found a woman with an apparent stab-wound, according to Kare 11.

Robinson was arrested on charges of attempted murder and assault, the Pioneer Press reported.

The woman was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment. She remains hospitalized, recovering from 12 stab wounds and "slash-like" injuries, according to the Pioneer Press.

Kare 11 reported that the victim told police she was stabbed after she told Robinson their relationship was over.

Robinson told police that the victim and he had been "poking" each other with the knife, the Pioneer Press said.

Argentina in mourning after train crash kills 50

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President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, of Argentina, declared a two-day mourning period after a deadly train crash on Wednesday in Buenos Aires.

Fifty people died, and hundreds were injured when a commuter train plowed through a barrier at a Buenos Aires station Wednesday morning, CNN reported.

The accident occurred during the height of the morning rush, and passengers told reporters that the crash sounded like a bomb blast.

Leandro Despouy, Argentina's Auditor General, told the Associated Press that the crash was preventable, and that the trains have failed safety tests for years.

The trains are more than four decades old. Modern trains are built to stand hard stops without accordion-like crumpling, according to rail experts.

The commuter train hit a shock-absorbing barrier around 12 mph, and the second car of the train plunged about six meters into the first, Federal Police spokesman Fernando Sostre told CNN.

The accident is still under investigation, but everyone aboard the train has been identified, according to the Associated Press.

Helicopter collision kills U.S. Marines

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Seven U.S. Marines died early Wednesday evening in a helicopter crash over Arizona, the marine corps said in a statement.

Two Marines were aboard one craft, and five Marines were aboard the other when the helicopters collided during training exercises along the Arizona-California border, Lt. Maureen Dooley told CNN.

The collision, which occurred near the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, involved an AH-1W "Super Cobra" attack helicopter and a UH-1Y "Huey" utility chopper, according to the Pioneer Press.

Identities of the Marines have been withheld until their families have been notified.

Authorities were still investigating the crash Thursday morning.

Spot/Follow Analysis

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An example of a story that progressed from breaking news into follow-up is news on the Costa Concordia.

When I first blogged about it, I used the Associated Press and CNN as sources for my blog. The 'breaking news' concept was that salvage was given the go-ahead. Whereas now, the stories that make the news about the Costa Concordia are about the passengers.

For example, the newest news stories on the Costa are about the missing couple from Minnesota.

The follow-up stories are more likely to be profiles on victims. They advance the news by bringing in more detail and personifying the events, or expanding on stories from competing news organizations.

In breaking news, the lead is a hard, one sentence summary of the article. Breaking news also tends to follow the inverted pyramid.

Follow-ups are written much more freely, and don't need to hit all the hard news right away.

44 killed in Mexico prison riot

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At least 44 people are dead after a prison riot in northern Mexico early Sunday morning.

The riot broke out around 2 a.m. in a high-security section of the prison outside of Monterrey, Mex., Nuevo Leon state public security spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano told the New York Daily News.

The fight occurred between two cell blocks, each with about 750 inmates. One of the cell blocks took a guard hostage, Domene said.

According to the Associated Press, 44 people died before the state police regained control about two hours later.

Family members of the prisoners gathered outside the prison Sunday, trying to get information on the victims, the New York Daily News reported.

Man arrested after 3 die in Wisconsin rollover

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A driver has been arrested in connection with a rollover crash on Saturday that killed three people and critically injured a fourth person.

The crash occurred around 5pm on Saturday, Police Sgt. Don Bomkamp told CBS News.

According to Bonkamp, there were five people in the car- all men in their late teens or early 20s, and their names have not yet been released.

No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, and four people were ejected from the vehicle - three died at the scene, the Associated Press reported.

Police said speed and alcohol were factors.

Avalanche in Washington leaves three dead

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Three people were killed in an avalanche on Sunday just outside the Stevens Pass ski resort in Washington.

The three men were among three groups of people skiing in out-of-bounds areas, and authorities told the Associated Press that the men were experienced skiers and well-equipped.

According to the Seattle Times, the other people in the groups with the men have all been accounted for and were not seriously injured.

A night of train-hopping leaves one teenager dead

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A 15-year old boy died while train-hopping Thursday night in northeast Minneapolis.

Chris Hanson, sophomore at Columbia Heights high school, died while train jumping Thursday night. Hanson and a friend boarded a train successfully on the tracks near their home. The friend was able to jump off the train without incident. Hanson, however, lost his life.

According to police, a railroad employee found the boy around 10:20 p.m., near 14th and Fillmore Street NE. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Hanson died of head injuries, Kare 11 reported.

Melissa Standal, Hanson's mother, told the Star Tribune that she had just talked to her son about the dangers of train-hopping on Wednesday. Standal said Hanson and his friends had made a game out of hopping on and off trains.

There were six fatalities last year involving trespassing on railroad property, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Standal gathered with friends and family Saturday afternoon at the site of the accident.

She hopes that this will serve as a lesson to other teens.

Massive fire rips through Honduras prison

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Hundreds of people died Tuesday night after a fire broke out in a Honduran prison.

At least 359 people have been confirmed dead, following the fire that swept though a jail in Comayagua, Honduras on Tuesday, Danelia Ferrera, a senior official at the attorney general's office, told Reuters.

The fire began around 11 p.m., which is when Comayagua's governor, Paola Castro, reportedly received a call from an inmate, screaming, saying that he was going to set the prison on fire, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Washington Post, there were 852 people in the prison at the time of the blaze, with some cells holding as many as 135 people.

Many people didn't make it out of their cells, as is the case with the 134 cellmates of survivor, Hector Daniel Martinez.

After realizing there was a fire, the guards dropped their keys on the floor and fled, leaving the hundreds of prisoners locked in their cells, waiting for the inferno to catch them, Martinez told the Associated Press.

Lucy Marder, Chief of Forensic Medicine for the prosecutor's office said she believes it will be up to three months before all the bodies are identified, because some are burned beyond recognition. The death toll is only expected to rise.

Structures Analysis

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The news story I looked at for my structures analysis was from the Associated Press.

3 in SE Minn. injured when chairlift falls 30 feet

This story starts with a lead, which describes what happened, who it happened to, and where it happened.

The next paragraph goes into more detail about the location of the accident and when it occurred.

The third paragraph of the piece talks about the victims of the accident and their conditions following their 30 foot fall in a chairlift.

The rest of the article talks about the police report and the investigation of why their chairlift broke.

The important elements to this story are definitely near the top, which helps enforce the inverted pyramid story-structure. I believe it is very effective in this situation because the article is short, and it's breaking news.

I don't believe this story could have been done differently, because there aren't that many details included in the article. Had the reporter talked about the victims or the resort more, than the story-structure could definitely be more of a martini glass structure.

Whitney Houston dead at 48

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Whitney Houston, pop music icon, was pronounced dead in her hotel room on Saturday afternoon.

Houston, 48, was staying at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Police received a call about Houston from hotel security at 3:43 p.m. on Saturday. Paramedics were onsite for a Grammy party, but were unable to resuscitate her, according to the Associated Press.

The autopsy has been completed, according to Fox News, but the results have been placed on hold, pending toxicology reports.

The Beverly Hills Police Department have confirmed earlier police comments that "no foul play is suspected."

Houston's death came on the evening of one of the biggest nights for the music community, the Grammy Awards. "It's her favorite night of the year," Clive Davis, longtime mentor of Houston, told the Associated Press.

Shooting at a Minneapolis hotel leaves one dead

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One man is dead and another is in custody following a shooting early Saturday morning at a Minneapolis hotel.

Jeremy Robert Shannon, a 33-year-old Minneapolis native, was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot in a room at the Millennium Hotel around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The suspect, Brian Griffin Vincent, 33, fled across the street where he was taken into custody with out incident, according to Police Sgt. Steve McCarty, of the Minneapolis Police Department, said to the Pioneer Press.

"I've been a police officer in this city 21 years and I haven't seen any shootings, let alone homicides, at our downtown hotels," said Sgt. McCarty. "We don't believe there's a public safety risk," McCarty told CBS.

He's being held without bail awaiting murder charges, the Hennepin County Sheriff's roster reported.

This was the first homicide of the year for the city.

Unexplained dolphin beachings keep Cape Cod busy

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The dolphin death toll reached 103 on Friday, when rescue teams tallied another unexplained death on the beaches of Cape Cod, Mass..

Since January, there have been 147 incidents of dolphins being stranded, and 38 successful rescues and releases, NPR said.

These events are not new to the Cape, and "There is a large variability year to year," Kate Moore, Marine Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said to CNN.

However, the recent rash of beaching dolphins represent "more than half my annual average in a month," Moore said.

Scientists still are not sure what causes these annual events, but Wellfleet harbormaster Michael Flanagan explained earlier that in winter "the harbor ices over and inhibits the animals from coming close to the shore. But now that the water is warmer, we're seeing lots more dolphins washing up than ever before," CNN reported.

Once beached, rescuers and volunteers mobilize to save them. The dolphins are hoisted into beach carts, and wheeled into special International Fund for Animal Welfare trailers.

From there, IFAW scientists perform tests on the dolphins to determine if they are healthy enough to release, NPR reported.

If deemed healthy, the dolphins are released back into the Atlantic Ocean, away from the Cape, so they don't get stranded again, said NPR.

Rescuers watch as dolphins are released, and swim back into the open ocean, without answers regarding why they continue to get stranded.

The Minnesota Supreme Court was in session on Wednesday, presiding over a case questioning a student's free speech on Facebook.

Amanda Tatro, now a graduate from the University of Minnesota, wrote a statement on Facebook in 2009 saying that she wanted to "stab a certain someone in the throat with a trocar."

A trocar is a sharp instrument used to drain body cavities before embalming.

In December of 2009, when the case first began, Tatro was a mortuary science student and had just broken up with her boyfriend. She wrote on Facebook, "Who knew embalming lab was so cathartic? I still want to stab a certain someone in the throat though."

Tatro also posted comments such as naming her cadaver "Bernie," and hiding the trocar "under my sleeve" during lab, the Pioneer Press reported.

Following her comments, Tatro's course grade was changed to failing and the University forced her to take a psychological evaluation, according to the Star Tribune.

No specific names of professors or students were used in her posts, but the school's faculty was still disturbed by her statements, the ruling said.

Tatro appealed the University's discipline at the Court of Appeals and lost, then asked the Supreme Court to review the decision, the Pioneer Press reported.

Boat capsizes off the coast of the Dominican Republic

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The bodies of 21 people from the Dominican Republic have been recovered after a migrant ship capsized late Saturday.

The ship that was carrying about 70 migrants from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico capsized and broke apart early Saturday morning, near the town of Sabana del Mar, Dominican Republic.

Of the 70 passengers, 13 were rescued, and 21 bodies have been found, Luis Castro, the Intelligence Director of the Dominican Navy told Time.

More than 30 people remain missing, according to Sabana del Mar's Fire Chief, Jeffrey Pimentel. Authorities are perplexed that more bodies have not surfaced since the accident Saturday, Pimentel said to the Washington Post.

Unruly crowd forces Md. mall to close

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A crowd of more than 100 people at a mall in Hagertown, Md. became unruly causing the Valley Mall to close temporarily.

About 15 police officers reported to Foot Locker after a disturbance was reported in the line of people waiting to purchase Nike's new Foamposite sneaker, as reported by the Herald-Mail.

The disturbance was reportedly caused when people started cutting in line, when people had already been waiting overnight, according to a sheriff's office news release

"Sheriff Douglas Mullendore told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown the release of the new shoe drew shoppers from as far away as Washington, over 70 miles away. Mullendore said after the mall was locked down, patrons were escorted into the shoe store a few at a time," reported ABC News.

No one was arrested and the mall reopened without incident.

Sources and Attribution Analysis

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The story I chose to analyze for this week's task is a political story following the caucus results, from the Washington Post.

Mitt Romney wins overwhelming victory in Nevada Caucuses

This story references seven sources. Four of the sources are trackbacks to the Post's political blogs, about the different candidates. Two sources are previous news stories about election results, like in Florida. Finally, the Post also quotes an article from CNN multiple times.

The use of these sources was spread throughout the three pages of story.

I liked how the sources were referenced and I thought it was very effective. The words were linked to other pages, and the article rarely used "according to," or similar attribution techniques, which can sometimes detract from the article.

Unseasonably warm weather wreaks havoc on ice conditions

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A vehicle sank into Lake Minnetonka on Saturday morning.

The Hennepin County sheriff's office reported that two men were driving a pickup truck on Smith's Bay when the truck broke through the ice. The men were able to escape through the windows of the truck, and neither was harmed, according to the Pioneer Press.

This is the second vehicle to have sunk after breaking through the ice in a week.

An SUV carrying a man and child sank on Jan. 29, also on Lake Minnetonka. Both the man and child escaped unharmed as well.

The ice's instability is an effect of the unpredictable freezing and thawing cycle caused by the unseasonably warm weather.

Jan. snowfall checked-in as the third-lightest on record, and some cherry trees in the nation's capital are already budding, according to the Daily Mail Reporter.

At least four inches of ice is recommended for walking and activities, and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is calling for caution from residents, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

Norovirus outbreak hits American cruise line

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A stomach virus has affected hundreds of passengers aboard two Princess Cruise Lines ships.

Company officials reported that 158 people aboard the Crown Princess cruise ship and 90 people aboard aboard the Ruby Princess have been stricken with the norovirus, according to the Associated Press.

The norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness, much like the stomach flu. The Center for Disease Control describes typical symptoms of the virus as "diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain."

The cause of the outbreaks has not yet been determined, reported the line's spokesperson Julie Benson.

The cabins and public areas will be cleaned before the ships set sail again, so departure on the next trips have been delayed, according to the Washington Post.

Rioting at Egyptian soccer match turned deadly

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At least 74 people died Wednesday night after riots erupted at a soccer match in Egypt.

The riot at the Stadium in Port Said broke out when fans of the local team, Al-Masry, stormed the field after a rare 3-1 win against Al-Ahly, one of Egypt's most popular clubs, according to the Associated Press.

The two teams have a long seated rivalry, and Al-Masry's win was an upset.

Al-Masry supporters, armed with knives, sticks, and stones, chased Al-Ahly players and fans, forcing them to find an escape, witnesses told the Associated Press.

Some Egyptians have blamed police forces at the match for not doing enough to stop the fighting to lash back at the Ultras -- die-hard soccer fans who have been among the most aggressive political protestors in the past year, according to the Washington Post.

Al-Masry fan, Mohammed Mosleh, who posted his on Facebook that he saw "thugs with weapons" on his side in the stadium where police presence was meager, reported the Associated Press.

Riot footage shows police lines' lack of effort to contain the fighting, video from the Washington Post.

The Egyptian Soccer Federation's board was dissolved in an emergency parliamentary session, and Port Said's Governor and Police Chief have resigned, according to Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri.

Star Al-Ahly player Mohammad Abu Treika told the team's television station that the national league tournament should be suspended indefinitely in light of the evening's bloodshed.

The riot Wednesday occurred on the one-year anniversary of one of the most violent days of Egypt's political uprising. On Feb. 2 last year, Mubarak loyalists attacked protesters in Tahrir Square, leading to two days of unadulterated violence.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

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