April 2010 Archives

Analysis: Computer assisted reporting

The short article, Safety practices at coal mines vary throughout U.S., posted by Extra! Extra!, seems to have used computer assisted reporting.

It summarizes a current article in the New York Times, and provides a link to the article. It gives a quote from the article and picks out two key facts.

To do think kind of reporting, the reporter would have need to know how to post a blog entry, create links, and file the blog in a category within the Web site.

Additionally the reported would need to know how to access the article from the New York Times, find the authors and pick out the key information.

For the author of the New York Times article, they would have need to understand the data by the coal mines, to write the article.

The New York Times article also has a wide rang of multimedia information to accompany the article. It has slideshows, audio of a mine forman, audio from an analyst, links to documents, an interactive feature highlighting lost miners, comparison graphics, and illustrative graphics.

This is also a large amount of computer assisted reporting. To do this, the reporters would need to know how to upload photos, host multimedia files, record audio, use flash, and design graphics.

Mexico security official's convoy under fire, 4 dead

Gunmen armed with high-caliber weapons attack Mexico's top security officer's convoy Saturday, killing a least four, according to the L.A. Times.

Minerva Bautista Gomez, the public security minister, had just left Michoacan's state fair, which was attended by other high ranking officials as well, according to the L.A. Times.

Two of Bautista's bodyguards and two bystanders died. Nine others were wounded including two girls ages 2 and 12, according to the Associated Press.

The motive and identity of the 20 attackers is still unknown, but drug violence is common in Michoacan, according to the Associated Press.

Tornadoes hit Mississippi

Tornadoes roared through four southern states Saturday killing at least 10, according to the L.A. Times.

Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas were all hit. Mississippi in particular took the brunt of the damage, according to the L.A. Times.

Mississippi's Yazoo County was hit the hardest of the 15 counties in the state that saw the tornadoes, according to the L.A. Times.

The National Weather Service said it appears the tornadoes originated in Louisiana, according to the Associated Press.

US attorney is named Ramsey County District judge

Gov. Tim Pawlenty named an assistant U.S. attorney to fill the vacancy on the Ramsey Country District court Thursday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Robyn Millenacker, 48, will replace Judge Michael Fetsch who retired in October, according to the Star Tribune.

"I'm really honored," Millenacker said Thursday. "It's going to be a job with a lot of serious work to do for the citizens of Ramsey County."

Millenacker earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota. She served as a law clerk and worked as an associate lawyer before she her position as an assistant U.S. attorney, according to the Pioneer Press.

Mayor optimistic about St. Paul future

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman sounded optimistic Thursday during his fifth state of the union address, according to the Pioneer Press.

"It is true that these are no ordinary times," Coleman said "But that phrase itself suggests a sea of troubles and challenges. We should instead understand that we are in extraordinary times ... with endless opportunities."

Coleman discussed progress on the light-rail line, a new ballpark and ice arena, and the Penfield project. Additionally he discussed partnerships with St. Paul's public schools and their effort to cut costs and better serve students, according to the Star Tribune.

About 200 people were in attendance at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory Visitor Center, according to the the Star Tribune.

Alleged Seward killer to get x-ray to determine his age

A teenager charged with killing three men in a Seward convenience store in January will get dental x-rays to determine his age, according to the Star Tribune.

Mahdi Hassan Ali claims he was 15 years old at the time of the crime, and should be tried as a juvenile. Prosecutors say Ali was 17 and should be tried as an adult, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Ali has a document that he says is from a Kenyan hospital that proves his mother gave birth in August 1994. DNA testing shows the name of the mother is correct, according to MPR.

Lawyers met Thursday and agreed to the dental x-ray, to determine his age, according to MPR

If Ali is tried as a juvenile he may avoid being sentence to prison for life.

Former Blackwater officials charged in weapons case

The former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former senior company officials were charged Friday with illegally acquiring automatic weapons and filing false documents, according to the New York Times.

The employees converted an estimated 227 weapons into short-barrel rifles without registering them, persecutors said according to the L.A. Times.

Additionally they are being charged with trying to hide the weapons and disguising them as purchases by a North Carolina sheriff's office, according to the New York Times.

These charges are the latest in the scrutiny of the Blackwater operation since 2001.

Hu visits Tibetan quake zone

Chinese President Hu Juntao flew to a remote, mountainous Tibetan region Sunday to visit the survivors of the recent earthquake, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hu visited a village on the outskirts of Jiegu, and the injured in a sports stadium, according to the Associated Press.

On a blackboard in a makeshift classroom he wrote "There will be new schools. There will be new homes," according to the Wall Street Journal.

More than 1,700 have been confirmed dead and 256 are missing in the region.

Supplies have begun to arrive at a faster pace according to the Associated Press.

Zou Ming, head of disaster relief at the Ministry of Civil Affairs said 25,000 tents, more than 50,000 cotton-padded quilts, and 850 tons of instant food and drinking water have been delivered, according to the Associated Press.

Northfield teacher terminated over ear-biting incident

The Minnesota Northfield school board voted to terminate Susan Mukuhi Mwarabu after she bit off part of a man's ear, according to the Pioneer Press.

Mwarabu, 30, plead guilty to the third-degree felony assault Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

Since the incident on March 14, Mwarabu has been on paid administration leave. She will remain on paid leave until her contract is terminated in June, according to the Pioneer Press.

Mwarabu, the night of the incident, was at the Uptowner, in St. Paul at 4:00 a.m. She was with a group a three women, according to the Pioneer Press.

A man made a comment to Mwarabu's table, which prompted an apparently drunk Mwarabu to approach the man. She lean down, licked his face, and bit off a part of his ear, the complaint said according to the Pioneer Press.

Prosecutors get extension to consider retrial in Toyota case

A Ramsey County judge approved an extended response time for prosecutors considering a retrial of a man convicted of criminal vehicular homicide involving a Toyota Camry in 2007, according to the Pioneer Press.

Judge Joanne Smith said prosecutors have until June 30 to respond to the request submitted by Koua Fong Lee, the Camry driver, according to the Pioneer Press.

After the recent Toyota mass recall, Lee filed a petition to present new evidence. He said his car experienced "sudden unintended acceleration" as reported in the other models recalled, according to the Pioneer Press.

Lee was driving his family home from church June 10, 2006 when his car accelerated down the I-94 exit off Snelling into an Oldsmobile Ciera. The driver of the Oldsmobile, his son and his niece all died, according to the Star Tribune.

Lee said the brakes failed, but St. Paul's chief mechanic said they worked fine, according to the Star Tribune

Lee is currently serving an eight-year sentence, according to the Star Tribune.

Eight St. Paul schools scheduled to close

The St. Paul Public School administration announced Thursday plans to close eight school and convert one high school into a middle school to balance the $27.2 million budget deficit, according to the Star Tribune.

The closing schools include Ames, Prosperity Heights, Sheridan, Franklin and Wellstone elementary schools, and Hazel Park Middle school, according to the Star Tribune.

The school closings are estimated to save $3.5 million, and converting Arlington High School into a middle school is projected to save over $900,000, according to the Star Tribune.

Arlington is considered the most dramatic of the school closings, according to the Pioneer Press.

At the time of Arlington's opening less than five years ago, it was expected to be a school of the future. Now it is enrollment has dropped by more than 50 percent, according to the Pioneer Press.


Polish president and others die in plane crash

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and approximately 97 others were killed Saturday in a plane crash outside of the western Russian city of Smolenski, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The plane crashed about one kilometer short of the runway on it's second attempt to land in the heavy fog, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There are no survivors, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The L.A. Times reports that the the location of the crash is where thousands of Polish prisoners of war were killed and dumped in unmarked graves by Soviet secret police in 1940.

Also on the plane was the army chief of staff, head of the National Security Bureau, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, the deputy parliament speaker, the civil rights commissioner and other members of parliament, according to the L.A. Times.

Nuclear summit in Washington to begin Monday

President Barack Obama will host a two-day summit beginning Monday on nuclear proliferation and terrorism, according to NPR.

Leaders from nearly 50 countries will be in attendance in what is considered an unprecedented global effort against vulnerable nuclear materials, according to CNN.

Ben Rhodes, the president's deputy national security adviser, said that there is a danger for both American and global security, as there are known terrorist groups pursuing nuclear weapons, according to NPR.

In addition to the summit, the United States will continue negotiating with members of the United Nation Security Council over tougher sanctions against Iran and its nuclear ambitions, according to CNN

Renovations for Riverside Plaza

Riverside Plaza will undergo major renovations this fall to make the complex more energy efficient, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The renovation will include an upgrade of mechanical and electrical systems, replacement of roofs, windows and patios and a possible paint job on the building's facade, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The project, which includes refinancing the buildings existing mortgage, is estimated to cost $90 million, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The renovation is an effort to preserve the 1,303 apartments, as replacement costs would be significantly higher, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Fredda Scobey, the executive director of the Riverside Plaza Tenants Association, said the renovations will be beneficial to both residents and owners, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Veteran staffer named interim St. Paul city attorney

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman named 36-year veteran staffer, Jerry Hendrickson, as St. Paul's interim city attorney, according to the Pioneer Press.

City Attorney John Choi resigned Tuesday citing he did not want his campaign for Ramsey County attorney to interfere with his abilities to serve as the city attorney, according to the Pioneer Press.

Hendrickson, 58, is a deputy city attorney and leads the department's civil division, according to the Star Tribune.

Coleman said Tuesday that he admires Hendrickson's abilities as a lawyer and called him a leader in the department, according to the Star Tribune.

Hendrickson will begin his temporary duties April 19. He has not said if he will seek the position permanently, according to the Pioneer Press.

Four candidates still in the running for St. Paul police chief

Mayor Chris Coleman will select the St. Paul police chief from a pool of four finalists.

A committee of 21 city officials interviewed the candidates Thursday and advanced each to Coleman for selection, according to the Pioneer Press.

During the interviews candidates were asked to speak on community policing, diversity and communication, according to the Pioneer Press.

The candidates are Watch Commander Todd Axtell, Senior Commanders Colleen Luna and Bill Martinz, and Assistant Chief Tomas Smith, according to the Star Tribune.

Coleman will interview the candidates next, and host two public forums April 26 and 27, where residents may ask pre-screened questions, according to the Star Tribune.

Coleman will select the candidate by mid-May, and submit the candidate's name for approval from the City Council, according to the Star Tribune.

Analysis: Numbers

In the LA Times article about the earthquake in Mexicali there are many numbers cited:
-7.2 magnitude earthquake
-16 miles northeast of the epicenter
-653,000 residents in Mexicali
-20 to 30 seconds
-less than 5% chance that the 7.2 earthquake will trigger a larger earthquake.

The author used the number to give specific information about the earthquake. The numbers told how large of an earthquake it was, how far it reached, how long it lasted, how many residents were affected and how likely it is that another earthquake will occur.

The number were not overwhelming because the writer spread them out in the piece. There was information explaining the numbers, and the types of numbers were varied. The author could have related the like numbers together to relate how much bigger the earthquake's magnitude was versus similar earthquakes, to make the event more relatable, but how the numbers were presented worked fine.

The numbers were gathered from census data, state statistics, and spokespersons. The magnitudes were cited from "reports," which is vague, but knowing the details of who compiled the report seems unnecessary as I accept it was probably from a government agency.

Chinese coal ship threatens Great Barrier Reef

A chinese coal ship threatened Australia's Great Barrier Reef as it ran aground Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The ship, which left Gladstone Saturday, had strayed nine miles from the shipping lane, about 40 miles east of Great Keppel Island, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Besides the physical damage, there was also an oil spill of 300,000 gallons of oil that the ship carries to run its engines.

Australia's federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the world's largest coral reef, Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister said, according to the LA Times.

Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage to the ecosystem that is home to about 25 percent of all identified marine species, according to the LA Times.

Killer of Kansas abortion doctor sentenced to life in prison

Scott Roeder, the man who murdered one of few late-term abortion doctors, Dr. George Tiller, was sentence to life in prison Thursday without parole for 50 years, according to the LA Times.

Roeder, 52, was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting Tiller point-blank in the forehead during a Sunday service on May 31 at his Wichita church, according to the LA Times.

Sedqick County District Judge Warren Willbert gave him a longer sentence because Roeder stalked Tiller for years before and shot him at a church, according to the LA Times

According to the Associated Press, the murder has made it markedly harder in Kansas to get an abortion as Tiller's clinic closed and there are just three clinics in the state that offer abortion services to women up to their 21st week of pregnancy.

New bail set for Jones after mistrial in infant's death

A lower bail was set Monday for a North St. Paul man accused of murdering an infant from $350,000 to $10,000 under the condition that he have no contact with any minor, according to the Pioneer Press.

Louis D. Jones, 26, charged with unintentionally killing his girlfriend's baby, has been held in custody since he was arrested March 5, 2009, according to the Star Tribune.

Jone's case resulted in a mistrial Saturday where the jury could not reach a verdict after deliberating for 15 hours. His new trial date is set for April 19, according to the Star Tribune.

Jones was the sole caretaker of the child, according to trial testimony, while the baby's mother was at work during the day.

The mother called several times during the day while at work, and on February 27 came home to see the baby having difficulty breathing.

The baby was rushed to the hospital where it was determined the swelling in her brain was caused from non-accidental abusive head trauma.

Defense witnesses testified that the baby had a chronic brain bleeding caused by a birth injury.

Bakery moves to East St. Paul

Baldinger Bakery closed on a purchase Wednesday to construct a 140,000 square-foot facility in East St. Paul, according to the Star Tribune.

The 120-year-old bakery paid $450,000 for the property between Phalen Boulevard and Johnson Parkway, and the construction will cost $30 million, according to the Pioneer Press.

The bakery is a major supplier of hamburger buns for McDonald's restaurants in addition to its other baked good, according to the Star Tribune.

Baldinger will bring 72 workers to the new site in addition to 40 new jobs added within the next decade, according to the Star Tribune.

St. Paul launches new system for domestic abuse

St. Paul launched the first comprehensive program to prevent domestic abuse Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

The Blueprint for Safety aims to coordinate multiple agencies, ask more questions about the suspects' level of anger and violence, and move faster to issue charges and make arrests, according to the Star Tribune.

Police officials say the goal is to prevent domestic violence from turning into homicide, according to the Pioneer Press.

Additionally "gone on arrival" cases under the new system will be investigated sooner, moving the average time to make charges from 30 days to nine, according to the Pioneer Press.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2010 is the previous archive.

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