February 2010 Archives

Analysis: Multimedia coverage

Through these blog assignments, I have noticed that the Pioneer Press will print mug shots of the criminals they mention in their stories while the Star Tribune typically does not.

A picture does tell a story on it own but in terms of criminal profiles, I think it is unnecessary.

I don't need to know what the the face of a 20-year-old looks like that has been sent to jail for five years. I understand that it has a localized appeal to it. Perhaps you live in the perpetrator neighborhood, then you might want to see it. But really it seems just invasive and sort of eery. Additionally the photo descriptions rarely add anything to the story.

Something I do like however, is having pictures accompany general news stories.

I have noticed that the Christian Science Monitor does a good job of always having a picture at the top of the story. It makes the page look much more inviting and the story more interesting.

When comparing a story with a picture from the Christian Science Monitor to a story without a picture from the Washington Post, I feel like I get more of a sense of what is happening by seeing the picture. For example, there was a story about the Tsunami and Hawaii, and posted was just a general photo of Hawaii. The photo was nothing special but I still felt like I experienced the story more by having a visual element.

With the Christian Science Monitor, it is also interesting that the photo captions are quotes from different news organizations. It gives a new take on the story, and another news source I could check out if I wanted it. I think it's an interesting approach to photo descriptions. I have a suspicion they do this because the photo belongs to the news organization they are quoting.

Security concerns after Chile earthquake

Reports of looting have raised fears about security in areas of Chile since the earthquake hit Saturday.

According to CNN, looting broke out in the country following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake, especially in the nation's hardest-hit major cities, Concepcion and Santiago.

Concepcion's mayor, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, told Radio Cooperative that things are "getting out of control."

On Sunday morning, tear gas and water cannons were used to dispearse looters in some areas of Concepcion, CNN reported.

In Santiago there have also been isolated incidents where supermarkets have received floods of panicked shoppers, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

As of Sunday afternoon the death toll from the quake was 708, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

"We're facing an emergency unlike anything else in Chile's history," President Michelle Bachelet said.

Health care bipartisanship needed to pass bill

Abortion opponents and fiscal conservatives remain the the two blocs within the Democratic party needed to pass the heath care bill.

Based off the bill President Barack Obama unveiled before a bipartisan health forum last week, Democrats are now drafting new plans to solidify the party's stance further in order to gain enough votes, the New York Times reported.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans continue to be uncooperative, the Christian Science Monitor said.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said in the Republicans response to the bill Saturday, "By an overwhelming margin, the American people are telling us to scrap the current bills, which will lead to a government takeover of healthcare, and we should start over."

According to the Christian Science Monitor 51 votes are needed to effectively bypass the 41 vote filibuster.

Navy to lift ban on woman serving aboard submarines

The navy will soon allow female sailors to serve aboard submarines in a continued effort to reduce barriers for woman in the military.

Pentagon notified Congress of its intent Monday to allow nearly 50,000 woman serve aboard submarines, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

After the 30-day notification period is served, the Navy can begin integration of its 70-odd submarines, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he would like to see woman in the military have broader opportunities in service, the Washington Post reported.

During the 1990's the ban against female service on surface combat ships and combat aircraft was lifted, but the ban on submarines remained, the Washington Post reported.

Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said he is very comfortable integrating woman, but there will have to be issues of living space, and retention rates that will have to be worked through, the Washington Post reported.

St. Paul sexual predator sentenced to 7 1/2 years

A 69-year-old man who molested a 9-year-old girl in a park near the Midway area in St. Paul, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison Wednesday.

Ramsey County District charged John Knudson with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, the Pioneer Press reported.

Knudson has a history of sexual offenses since 1963, the Pioneer Press reported.

According to the charges, he yelled for the girl to come to him while at a park. When she resisted he held her hand to restrain her and led her to a wooded area. There, he pulled down her pants and touched her, the Star Tribune reported.

Knudson said he had consumed two bottles of vodka that day and doesn't remember the event, the Star Tribune reported.

Police spokesman, Sgt. Paul Schnell, said it was a rare occasion because the girl did not know the man.

Brothers fight over leaking bathtub leads to fatal stabbing

A 59-year-old St. Paul man was charged with fatally stabbing his brother in the heart and lung after a dispute over a leaking bathtub Saturday.

The Ramsey County attorney's office charged George Robertson with second-degree unintentional murder, the Star Tribune reported.

Police were called to the residence in the 12000 block of Charles Avenue where Kelvin Robertson was found on a futon and pronounced dead, the Pioneer Press reported.

C.W., George Robertson's girlfriend, said the fight began after she noticed a dripping from the ceiling in the kitchen.

George Robertson went to confront Kelvin Robertson about the leak when he saw him on the toilet as the bathtub overflowed, C.W. said.

As the fight progressed, both brothers grabbed knives. Admitting to the killing, George Robertson said he stabbed his brother because he was bigger and had a knife.

Analysis: Following the shooting of the father story

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Last week I wrote of about a St. Paul man being shot allegedly by his son outside their home. This week I wrote about that same story, yet with the huge gap in information being told between the two, I didn't even recognize them as the same story.

The first story had the ages of the subjects, the address, general information that happened, and quotes from neighbors. That's all.

In the second story, written two days later, the story had the names of subjects, a history of past abuse from the father, a background story about the family, details about the gunshot wounds, quotes from siblings, and a chronological account of events leading to the murder.

The two stories varied greatly in the amount of detail presented, but the tone of the pieces did not change.

Both stories began with similar non-descriptive leads: "A family dispute turned violent Saturday in St. Paul, leaving a father shot to death and his son arrested," "His parents were arguing. He tried to intervene." But the later story immediately jumps into more details, "Then, Aramis Gaither, 18, grabbed his gun and held it out toward his father at their St. Paul duplex. "I want you to shoot me," the older man reportedly said."

The news is summarized in the same hard news fashion but the second story follows more of a martini glass shape as it has more information about the events leading to the crime.

Both articles were printed in the Pioneer Press but had different authors. It's likely the two shared information, but the shape of the first does not directly effect the second story. There are no grafs that are the same wording.

Dalai Lama and Obama meet at the White House

President Obama and the Dalai Lama met Thursday to speak about democracy, human rights, and the need to preserve Tibet's religious identity and culture.

China said the meeting had seriously damaged the ties between the U.S. and China, the New York Times reported.

According to the New York Times, the White House went out of its way to keep the meeting low-key to appease China.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that because the meeting took place in the Map Room instead of the Oval Office, Obama may have been downgrading the US relationship with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University said the location is "an obscure issue of protocol that, as the White House knows, makes a lot of difference to Beijing officials, but none to American or Tibetan perceptions of the meeting."

The Dalai Lama told reporters on the White House driveway that Obama was "very supportive," the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Following the meeting Thursday, the White House issued a statement affirming Obama's support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity.


Roslyn Brock named as new chairman of N.A.A.C.P.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced it's new president Saturday.

Roslyn M. Brock, currently the vice chairwoman of the organization, is a health care administrator and also is the first president of N.A.A.C.P. who has been too young to have personally experienced legalized segregation, the Washington Post reported.

"This is the time for renewal," Julian Bond, 70, the predecessor who took over the chairmanship in 1998 said in the New York Times. "We have dynamic new leadership. Roslyn understands firsthand how important youth are to the success of the N.A.A.C.P."

Brock, in addition to being the first woman president, is the youngest president the organization has had. She began her involvement in N.A.A.C.P. as a freshman in college.

According to the New York Times, Brock said she wants to see N.A.A.C.P. catch up with technological advancements in social activism such as live streaming videos, online campaigns and social media web sites.

The N.A.A.C.P. was founded in 1909 by W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells to fight for the civil rights of African Americans.

According to the Washington Post, Brock wants to narrow its focus on civil rights issues to education, health care, economic empowerment, criminal justice and civic engagement.

Murder mystery of a St. Paul woman solved after 38 years

DNA evidence solved a 1972 murder mystery of a former St. Paul woman killed in Boston.

According to the Star Tribune, Ellen Rutchick, 23, had been raped and killed in her Boston apartment 38 years ago.

Boston police say her killer has been identified as Michael Sumpter, who died of cancer in 2001 while in prison for another Beacon Street rape in 1975.

The case had been reinvestigated after Rutchick's family contacted Boston police to review potential leads, the Pioneer Press said.

The case was sent to a lab specializing in DNA analysis after evidence had been collected.

Cori Rutchick, Ellen Rutchick's sister, said it was difficult to hear the details about what happened. "But there is also a comfort in knowing," she said.

St. Paul man stabbed to death, brother arrested

After a dispute erupted Saturday morning, one brother was stabbed to death, and the other ended up in jail, police said.

Police arrived at the 1200 block of Charles Avenue on a report that a man had been stabbed and the attacker was still at the address, the Star Tribune said.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, an his brother was arrested.

A preliminary police investigation said some sort of dispute preceded the stabbing in the house where the two brothers lived together in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

Neighbors were surprised, the Pioneer Press said.

It's probably one of the quietest houses on the block, if not the quietest," one neighbor said. "It's just very sad and very shocking."

St. Paul teen charged in shooting of his father

An 18-year old St. Paul man allegedly shot his father Saturday after a fight erupted between his parents.

According to the criminal complaint, the father, Anthony Gaiter, 45, had a history of domestic assault and Amaris Gaither, 18, was trying to protect his mother, the Star Tribune reports.

Amaris Gaither retrieved the gun from a bedroom when his father had left to go outside. Approaching his father with the gun, Anthony Gaiter reportedly said, "You've got your gun," and "I want you to shoot me," the Pioneer Press reports.

Aramis Gaither said he "kind of blacked out" and pulled the trigger, the complaint said.

The medical examiner said Anthony Gaither had five gunshot wounds in his back and one to his chin, the Pioneer Press reports.

"We don't see this as a traditional self-defense type of situation because the victim was unarmed, and because the defendant went outside to confront him," Phil Carruthers, director of the Ramsey County attorney's prosecution division said.

"It was a tragedy all around: A young man kills his father," Carruthers said in the Star Tribune. "It's a very sad situation."

Analysis: Progression of professor shooting

In this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about the biology professor shooting, the progression of the story is set up in an inverted pyramid scheme

It begins with a strong, summarizing lead. Then gives some information about the professor, and the charges made against her. Next it goes into information about why the shooting may have happened and explains that the shooting is not the professor's first. Finally it wraps back around reporting about the conditions of the injured.

The information in ordered in importance and some logical patterns of thought when going into answering the "why" question.

It is effective because it keeps the readers attention, is comprehensive, succinct, and gives some analysis.

Additionally all of the information presented in the article was important, compared to the more reactionary piece by the Christian Science Monitor.


Marjah offensive kills civilians in Afghanistan

An errant American rocket hit a crowded compound Sunday killing at least 10 people including five children.

According to Capt. Joshua Biggers the compound that was hit was not the one they were targeting, the New York Times reports.

According to the Christian Science Monitor the offensive was a test of the president's new counterinsurgency plan.

Top American officials say the two-day operation has been a success despite the civilian casualties, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Top American commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal apologized to President Hamid Karzai, saying, "We deeply regret this tragic loss of life."

The current US NATO strategy puts the protection of civilian populations ahead of killing enemy fighters.

Biology Professor opens fire after faculty hearing

A biology professor at the University of Alabama opened fired Friday after a faculty meeting killing three colleagues and injuring three others.

The professor, Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated biologist, has been charged with capital murder, the The Chronicle reports.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, friends and colleagues say Bishop was upset about failure to receive tenure at the University.

The Boston Globe reports that this is not the first violent incident the Professor had been involved in. She also shot and killed her teenage brother when we was 20 years old.

Much of the public has attributed the shooting to pressure to make tenure which has been increasingly diffuclt given the competition and economic times, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Of those injured, one remains in critical conditions, while two are in stable conditions, The Chronicle reports.

Police arrest suspects in U of M shooting

Minneapolis police have arrested two men suspected of shooting a University student outside Centennial Hall.

According to the Minnesota Daily, the 16-year old and 21-year-old were arrested and have been charged with a string of crimes that happened before the shooting.

According to the Star Tribune, police say the two men robbed three students on two separate events before shooting 19-year-old Timothy Scumacher in the chest.

Gregory Hestness, university police chief, says they have been actively questioning suspects and the more work is to be done, the Star Tribune reports.

Police have been tracking the suspects since Wednesday using GPS technology in one of the victims' cell phones, the Minnesota Daily reports.

Police are still trying to find the third man, the driver, connected with the crimes.

Gang member pleads guilty to murder

A Selby Sider gang member pleaded guilty to murder in the death of a St. Paul man.

The man, Dwight Tate, was shot in the stomach and hit by a van in a parking lot, the Pioneer Press reports.

According to the Star Tribune, the Rashad Burch will be sentence on April 13 by Ramsey County District court.

According to the Pioneer Press, Burch had been called to help in the feud between two woman in the parking lot.

Burch approached a van where Tate was sitting in the passenger's side, and opened fire.

Tate got out of the van, and in a panic, the van hit him.

According to a complaint in the Star Tribune, Burch then stood over Tate and shot him again.

Son arrested after St. Paul man shot to death

An 18-year old man is suspected of shooting his father Saturday at their home in St. Paul.

Police say the man was shot after the two had a heated argument, according to the Star Tribune.

The 45-year-old father was found lying outside the home with several gunshot wounds when the police arrived, police said.

Neighbors of the victim say the block is generally quiet, and this incident hit too close to home, reports the Pioneer Press.

Investigators have not reported what the motive was or what the argument was about.

Analysis: Iran nuclear program sources

Within this story, the sources are varied.

There is general information from Ahmadinejad, U.S. officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and various other associates from programs involved in the article's topic.

There are a number of direct quotes from different parties that give out good information, but the information not quoted doesn't seem to have a clear origination. It leads the reader to assume the information was gathered at a well-known, but un-named, conference, or record.

The attributed sources are frequent throughout the story, and are not clustered. They are easy to follow, and do not distract from the flow of the story.

Generally if there is a quote, the quote comes first, then attribution. If there is no quote, the attribution seems to come first. This is an effective system because it is consistent, but not repetitive as the material is balanced between quotes and non-quotes.

Palin speaks at National Tea Party Convention

Sarah Palin spoke at the National Tea Party Convention Saturday reestablishing herself as a politician capable of national office, the Washington Post reports.

In the 40-minute speech she called upon grass-roots movements of conservatives and pointed to GOP victories in recently elections, reports the Washington Post.

Additionally she took note to what she called, failures of President Obama on national security and economic fronts, TIME Magazine reports.

"Washington has replaced private irresponsibility with public irresponsibility," she said, reports TIME Magazine. "They've bailed out banks, mortgage companies, financial institutions, auto makers. And, if they have their way, health care and student loans... Where're the consequences of getting us into the worse situation since the great depression?"

According to the Washington Post, the millions of tea party activists are what comprises Palin's strongest political base.

Ahmadinejad increase nuclear program

Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinehad, ordered a fuel production increase for a nuclear reactor in Tehran, Sunday.

According to the Washington Post, U.S. and European officials said the order of the 20% increase in enriched uranium confirms the suspicions that Iran had not been serious about reaching a deal with the U.N.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said, "If the international community will stand together and bring pressure to bear on the Iranian government, I believe there is still time for sanctions and pressure to work," reports the Washington Post.

According to the New York Times, Ahmadinejad believes the threat of further enrichment has the possibilty of forcing the United States, Europe and Russia to provide fuel on his terms. However American officals have said that Iran's actions will only speed efforts to impose sanctions.

"The path to cooperation is open, if they come and agree to exchange without preconditions, we will exchange," Ahmadinehad said, reports the New York Times.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the production would not start immediately.

Former Pastor pleads guilty to soliciting prostitution

A former Prior Lake pastor plead guilty Wednesday to soliciting prostitution.

The pastor, Rev. John K. Erbele, was caught in a "john string" after responding to an Internet ad place by the St. Paul police. He was one of 16 men caught, reports the Star Tribune.

According to the Pioneer Press Erbele will serve no jail time and is sentenced to probation, counseling, 24 hours of community service, and "john school," a program for men who solicit prositution.

The pastor's church, LifePrint Church, writes, "Despite the process in place, we still do not know if and when John will return to ministry, reports the Pioneer Press.

"We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential," the Church's Web site said, according to the Pioneer Press.

MPR sues Met Council over light-rail concerns

MPR sued the Metropolitan Council Thursday after an agreement was broken over the scheduled light-rail construction.

According to the Star Tribune, the Met Council had agreed to use a steel springs to dampen noise and vibrations, but it now is planning to install a less expensive rubber pad instead.

Tom Kigin, executive vice president of MPR, said, "We don't believe the rubber pad system is a best effort solution," reports the Pioneer Press

Peter Bell, chairman of the Met Council says the rubber pads are a standard in the country.

"We won't tell MPR how to do classical music, and MPR shouldn't tell our engineers how to engineer a light-rail line," Bell said, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Pioneer Press, the Met Council said the steel springs would add $1 million to a $1.5 million total project.

Unemployment rate drops

The American unemployment rate dropped this month from 10 percent to 9.7 percent, reports the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to the New York Times the economy lost 20,000 net jobs this month, but in some individual sectors employment increased such as the manufacturing field, 11,000, and temporary employment, 52,000.

According to the Washington Post, the drop came from a decrease of 430,000 fewer people describing themselves as unemployed.

The post also reports that economists expect this number to continue to drop as more Americans give up their search for a job.

About 58.4% of Americans have a job. This is also up this month from 58.2%, reports the Washington Post.

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