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December 11, 2008

Analysis on records/CAR

Two writers from USA Today have written a series of articles examining the air quality of schools that are in close proximity to industrial plants. IRE reported that to complete this story, they used government data and sought out the air quality in these particular areas. It was innovative because they state that the EPA doesn't even run models such as this, and does not record information on the air quality around U.S. schools.

To do so, they had to have skills in mining government databases of air quality. They had to compare these levels to what is considered an acceptable amount of pollution. Then, most likely by mapping the data out, they could see where the bad levels of pollution lie in relation to schools. Through this, they could see exactly what schools were at risk. Being able to sift through government databases and then map it out to seek information was required.

November 16, 2008

Diversity analysis

One of the articles that I wrote an entry about this week, reported from CNN, covered the rallies held across the nation over the weekend in response to the passing of bans in Florida, California, and Arizona of same-sex marriage. This article covered a topic involving cultural diversity. Much uproar was created with the bans because of the civil rights issues surrounding the stating inequality of the laws.

This article definitely moved past stereotypes surrounding the GLBT culture in the U.S. The story focused more on the massive efforts of both gay and straight participants to overturn these newly-passed bans. The story heavily uses quotes from signs and chants shouted by the crowds to confirm the views of the protesters as well as counter-protesters. Examples of what views were held by both sides gave a very active impression of the rallies. The story, however, does little to highlight big things I did not know, mainly because it was more about covering an event across the country, rather than share a bunch of facts.

November 9, 2008

Numbers analysis

CNN reported on a giant census conducted to count sea life. One of the first ways in which they used numbers was to note the amount of scientists and nations they were from to give an idea of who is involved, as well as a year it is intended to be completed. These numbers are laid out very accessibly and portray a good idea of the sheer size of the project.

The next way the article uses numbers is to depict the speed of a water current and carries food to starfish. At first this number seems unnecessary because such a small speed seems unimportant to note, but the article goes on to say that this speed is enough to provide the sea life with plenty of nourishment. This adds much more meaning to the number provided and ends up being a legitimate use of a specific data figure,

Lastly, the writer shares a fact that a jellyfish was found at a depth of 23,455 feet. This number is used very appropriately because it is a massive depth that seems unreal, so to share the exact figure provides the reader with an astonishing peek into the findings of this study.

The numbers are not overwhelming in this story because they are used only when they are pertinent to showing the reader just how useful and interesting this study is. The story is not scattered with random data that means nothing to a non-math oriented reader, but rather are used when it will clearly pique a reader's curiosity. Although each figure is not attributed, since this is recounting a study, it is implied that these figures are coming from the scientists. Since this story is centered around summarizing their study, it seems unnecessary that they would cite each and every figure.

October 19, 2008

Advance analysis

The Star Tribune reported a set of Halloween-related events coming up. One was a Zombie Pub Crawl that took place this weekend. The second is a Haunted Basement, which will take place on Nov. 2. The sources regarding the Haunted Basement included an artist who will help put it together, an organizer of the event.

The angle is presented at the beginning, comparing typical hayride-esque Halloween activities with more adult-friendly celebrations. Throughout the story, many elements are shared that further this notion. The theme of the "pub crawl" shows the adult side of the dress-up event. In the section detailing the Haunted Basement, they wrote about how there is a "safety word" used for those that want to be escorted out of the house, which they explain happened many times last year. This shows the scary-level of the activities. All of these things fit into the angle of why these events may be appealing to an older crowd.

September 29, 2008

Information Progression

The Star Tribune's article 'Congress approves Great Lakes clean-up bill' is very simply set up. It begins with a lay-out of what the bill generally entails and what the status of the bill is. It then specifics on the vote and the money that the bill calls for. We are then shown the history on the bill, followed by a quote from a representative. The progression is very reader-friendly and appears to be in order of significance. We first learn what is going on, then we learn about the details, and then historical information. This is set up in a fact block way, and in such a way that the reader can stop reading at any time and not have a misunderstanding about the topic. I find it very effective in that it is concise with basically only the most important information is included.

September 22, 2008

Attribution

KSTP reported a story about a house explosion in North Minneapolis. There are approximately four sources used in the story. One specific neighbor is named, as well as CenterPoint Energy and fire investigators. They are fairly scattered throughout the story, the neighbor being introduced in the second paragraph, unnamed neighbors following that, and the official sources near the end. The story has an appropriate balance of people versus more official attributions. The attributions are presented to reaffirm something said, whether it is a quote as a witness account, a witness explanation of possible causes, or an official ruling statement from a company. They are effective and seem to be reliable.