February 2010 Archives

Analysis: Multimedia

I looked at the multimedia extras on the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press websites.

Both websites have a multimedia drop down list, and Pioneer Press offers photo galleries, local video, and national video links. Star Tribune, on the other hand, lists video, audio, slideshow, photo galleries, podcasts, and news graphics. They also link forums titled "your photos" and "your videos" where users can upload their own media into preset albums such as "Antique Cars," "Birdwatchers' Best," and "Local Music and Events."

I looked at photo slide shows from each organization covering Lindsey Vonn in the the Olympics. Both were very descriptive and included pictures of her training, racing, and receiving her gold medals. The copy almost always followed the style that we learned in class-- a one sentence description followed by a factual news sentence. The photos complement the stories visually, it's exciting to look at the pictures and see Vonn flying down the hills.

The podcasts on Star Tribune cover a variety of niche topics like the Ivey Awards and the State Fair. There's even an interview with a couple who has celebrated 55 anniversaries at the Lowell Inn in Stillwater. The audio presents news writing in an easy listening format for lifestyle and human interest type stories.

My favorite multimedia feature was also on the Star Tribune website. The slideshows that are posted include pictures and audio. I watched one about a band who travels to Iraq and plays concerts at U.S. military bases. There were pictures as well as audio of band members describing their experiences. The mix of interview and photos made it especially interesting to listen and watch.

H1N1 Outbreaks Limited, WHO Meets to Discuss

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that H1N1 is no longer widespread in any state, and the World Health Organization will meet Feb. 23 to decide whether the H1N1 flu pandemic has peaked, The Washington Post said.

WHO has recommended that the H1N1 strain be included in next year's northern hemisphere flu vaccine. This does not mean that the pandemic, declared last June, is over though, Reuters said.

New outbreaks influenza strains are known to occur after the first wave, based on many factors such as human behavior, atmospheric conditions, and competition from other microbes, The Washington Post said.

"We are not at all out of the woods because the virus continues to circulate, but the chances of a very large additional wave are very hard to predict," said Anne M. Schuchat, who is leading the government's response to the H1N1 pandemic at the CDC, to The Washington Post.

Teen Held for Rosedale Mall Stabbing

Charges are expected to be filed this week for a large fight in Rosedale Center mall that left one teen in critical condition on Saturday night, local police said.

Roseville police officers received a call at 7:48 p.m. reporting that 12 people were fighting inside the mall. When police arrived there were nearly 20 teens fighting. A teen was found stabbed near a mall entrance a man was found with severe cuts across his face. Police ordered guests to leave and all exterior doors to be locked, Kare 11 said.

A 17-year-old St. Paul boy was arrested and is currently being held in Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center on probable cause of two counts of second-degree assault, Star Tribune said.

Police are unsure of the cause of the fight or if the suspect knew either of the two victims, Kare 11 said.

U.S. and Niger Junta Plan for a Quick Return to Democracy

The United States is working for a peaceful and quick transition back to civilian rule in Niger, after a military coup overthrew President Mamadou Tandja last week, Daily Dispatch said.

The junta has promised to give power back to civilian rulers, returning the state to democracy once politicians agree on a new constitution, the Daily Dispatch said.

Tandja, who had been in office since 1999 was overthrown when he tried to stay in power longer than the constitution allowed, CNN said.

The United Nations and African representatives who visited the country's capital over the weekend discussed with the junta how Niger can return to "normal constitutional life as quickly as possible," CNN said.

Possible "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Repeal Causes Concern

The Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey has "serous concerns" about the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, supported by President Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, CNN said.

Casey, along with Marine Corps Gen. James Conway, state that their concerns are due to the strain already placed on the military in both Iraq and Afghanistan. "Our Marines are currently engaged in two fights, and our focus should not be drawn away from those priorities," Conway said in November through a spokesman.

A repeal bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I- Connecticut, said he plans to introduce legislation to the Senate next week that would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, CNN said.

Challenging the policy will be difficult though. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading a year long review of the implication a repeal would have. Most Army leaders reject the idea of relaxing the law until the Defense Department review is completed, Congressional Quarterly Politics said.

Domestic Dispute Leaves a Man Shot in Woodbury

A man was shot and a woman was injured in a domestic dispute in Woodbury, Minn., Monday morning, Kare 11 News said.

Local police said that they received a 911 call just before 10 a.m., and when they arrived at the home they found a man shot in the stomach and a woman suffering from a head injury.

The man was brought to Regions Hospital and the woman to Woodwinds Hospital. Their injuries are not life threatening, Kare 11 News said.

Police have not concluded how the incident began or who is an fault, Kare 11 News said.

Police say there were six people in the house at the time of the incident. The children in the home have been taken into police custody, Pioneer Press said.

Analysis: Following a Story

The articles that I analyzed were about the Toyota recall.

In the first article, the lead covered the current breaking news- the Transportation Department demanded documents from Toyota detailing their response to problems with sudden acceleration and gas pedals that became stuck in flooor mats in certain models. The government planned to use the documents in the developing investigation of the massive Toyota recall.

The lead of the second article did not resemble the first at all; it had been completely rewritten to reflect new information -- the documents collected by the government stated that Toyota had saved $100 million dollars by negotiating a limited recall with the government for the floor mats. The article detailed other financial facts from the documents, including how Toyota saved $124 million by phasing-in new safety regulations for side air bags and another $11 million by delaying a rule for tougher door locks.

The second article was a response to new information, and it also fleshed out ideas that were brought up in the first article. In AP's first article, information was given about a congressional investigation and in the second article the reporter stated that Congress would be investigating Toyota's decisions to save money by delaying safety regulations. The second article also advanced the news by citing more sources and including input and quotes from a variety of sources involved in both the investigation and Toyota,

Gay Republicans Draw Mixed Reactions

GOProud, a gay conservative group, received mixed reactions this week as it co-sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference, CNN said.

With a name that combines GOP and gay pride, GOProud describes their organization as "committed to a traditional conservative agenda," focusing on limited government, individual liberty, and free markets, GOProud.org reports.

While the conference expects a strong showing of younger, more accepting attendees, GOProud has received a negative audience from some. Liberty University Law School, founded by late Rev. Jerry Falwell, boycotted the event, an article on Advocate.com said.

At CPAC in Washington, D.C., GOProud is just two booths away form the National Organization for Marriage. GOProud hopes to highlight their similarities during the conference, CNN said.

Guns Found in Minneapolis Man's Home After 4-Hour Standoff

A Minneapolis man is now in custody after a four hour standoff with police Wednesday afternoon, Kare 11 said.

The police were called to a home on Cecil Street SE. around 4 p.m. when a man threatened construction workers, fired a gun into the air, and retreated into his house, the Star Tribune said.

Around 7:50 p.m., a SWAT team evacuated nearby houses and were preparing to enter the house when the man came out unarmed, Lt. Greg Reinhardt said.

The man was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats. Officers also found several guns inside the man's home, Reinhardt said.

Toyota, Transportation Department Under Scrutiny

In reaction to growing criticism from customer groups, the U.S. Transportation Department demanded recall information documents from Toyota on Tuesday, the Associated Press said.

The subpoena-like demand was delivered to the Japanese automaker on Tuesday and requires that the company explain how and when they found out of the safety defects, the Associated Press said.

Over eight million vehicles have been recalled, making this the most extensive vehicle recall in history, The New York TImes said.

The department is also under scrutiny for not acting quickly enough to Toyota's problems, and some congressional officials contest that the department has become to close to the industry. Issues that will be discussed in the investigation include the agency's limited use of fines and continuing changes in leadership, The New York Times said.

U of M Student Dies in Home

A 22-year-old University of Minnesota student died in his home on Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press said.

Nick J. Owens, of Bethel Minn., was found dead in the Kappa Eta Kappa fraternity house where he rented a room, his mother Mary Jo Owens said.

The cause of Owens' death has not been determined, The Minnesota Daily said.

Owens had previously told his mother how common drugs and prescription medications were at college parties, causing his mother to believe they are tied to his death.

It could be weeks before more specific details are released explaining the cause of death, the medical examiner said.

18 Die in Belgium Train Collision

Eighteen people died and 162 were injured Monday when two trains collided in Belgium's worst rail accident in decades, CNN said.

A local service train ran a stop signal and hit an express train that was running 10 minutes late, EuroNews said.

A third train was also involved in the wreck when it hit the collision, EuroNews said.

The trains collided at 8:30 a.m. during their morning commute routes, railway and train operators said. .

The accident will be investigated by The Justice Ministry, a representative for Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said.

Analysis: Structure

I analyzed the progression of information in CNN's article, "Juarez Mayor: Drug Violence Rooted in Mexico's Social Ills."

This article seemed to cover two different issues. It began with a human rights standpoint and spoke to the idea of Mexico's social ills. Later then, the article turned to a more hard news story and reported on the proposal to relocate the Chihuahua state capital.

The lead of the article contains the who, the what, and the why. It basically restates the title and gives "broken homes" as an example of the social ills in Juarez. The second paragraph gives the impact of the situation: 1,000 people have been killed in the country of Chihuahua since the beginning of 2010. The third paragraph gives the proximity: the city of Juarez is located just across the U.S. - Mexican border, south of El Paso, Texas. The reporter then inserts a quote, a good way to break up the facts and to give a voice to Jose Reyes Ferriz, the mayor of Juarez.

In the fifth paragraph, the reporter said that the Governor of Chihuahua is proposing to move the state's capital to Juarez. The following paragraphs then elaborate on this point and explain how all of the state offices would be relocated in an effort to gain a handle on the drug war. This is a really important point, far to big of an issue to be pushed down to the fifth paragraph. For a more effective, hard news article, the reporter should have begun with this information and incorporated the information about Mexico's social ills later in the article.

Former Boy Soldier Heads to Trial

Seven years after he allegedly threw a grenade that killed a U.S. medic in Afghanistan, the youngest Guantanamo Bay detainee is pulling the Obama administration into the debate of putting child soldiers on trial.

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen, but on Wednesday a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephan Harper said that the the Canadian government will not be requesting his return. This reaffirms the government's position that he will be tried by the U.S. justice system because he is accused of a serious crime, The Vancouver Sun said.

Though U.N. officials, human rights activists, and defense lawyers have all argued that Khadr was an indoctrinated child soldier, the U.S. is standing firm in its decision to try him in a military commission, The Washington Post said.

Chihuahua Governor Proposes to Relocate Capital

The governor of Chihuahua has proposed to temporarily relocate the state's capital from Chihuahua City to Juarez in an effort to contend the drug cartel war that has gripped the Mexican city for over two years.

Juarez, which is just south of the U.S.- Mexican border, near El Paso, Texas, has become consumed by a drug war that in 26 months, has killed almost 4,500 people in the city alone, the El Paso Times said.

Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza called for an an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss his proposal. The vote, which is scheduled for Thursday or Friday, would move all executive, legislative, and judicial offices to Juarez, CNN said.

Reyes Baeza's proposal comes as a result of a massacre in Juarez two weeks ago. Assassins blocked a city street and 16 teens were slain at a house party. The governor's proposal is "his way of lettting the people of Juarez know they are not alone or forgotten" CNN said.

Red Bulls Return Home

After a year in Iraq, the last wave of Minnesota National Guard soldiers returned home Tuesday.

From MPR News, the 34th Infantry Division, also known as the Red Bulls, were stationed in the southern third of Iraq, preparing the area for a successful reduction of U.S. armed forces.

Over 1,200 Red Bulls had been stationed in Iraq, leading over 14,000 U.S. service members.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty welcomed the soldiers when they landed and families of the men and women waited to greet them at the Rosemount National Guard Armory, WCCO News said.

Seward Market Suspect's Name, Age Disputed

The teen accused of a triple homicide in a Franklin Avenue supermarket last month has refused to give his real name and accurate birthdate to the Hennepin County District Court.

Mahdi Ali, as he had been called, gave the name Khalid Farah Arrasi when asked for his name for record. When asked his birthday, he said "I have no idea," the Star Tribune said.

Ali/ Arrasi has been charged with first degree murder for shooting and killing three people in an attempted robbery of Seward Market on Jan. 6, WCCO News said.

Ali/ Arrasi's lawyer, Frederick Goetz, said that his client is no older than 16. Ali/ Arrasi's age is critical for this case, as it will determine whether he is tried as an adult. Goetz said that the birthdate will be investigated.

Ali/ Arrasi was brought to the United States under the name of Mahdi Ali when he was 8 or 9. Mahdi Ali was a friend of Arrasi who had died. Ali's parents had been granted permission to emigrate to the United States, but needed a young boy to pose as their son to maintain their permission, said the Star Tribune.

Ali/ Arrasi was abandoned by the family when they arrived in Minnesota, said Goetz.

Endeavor First of Final Five

After a nearly 24 hour weather delay, NASA's Endeavor space shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center early Monday morning.

From CNN, at 3:14 a.m. CST, Endeavor was launched, and the shuttle reached a stable orbit reported NASA.

The six-member crew will be adding the final compartment, Tranquility, to the space station on their 13-day mission. The module being added will give the astronauts more space to work in the station, reported the Associated Press.

The Endeavor's mission is the first of the final five for the program, a conclusion that NASA was brought to when President Obama released his 2011 budget plan, cancelling all further orbiter flights.

Analysis: Attribution

For this analysis I used the article "Lancet medical journal retracts study linking vaccine to autism" from the Associated Press.

This article was brief and quotes came from Britain's General Medical Council, and the Lancet and BMJ scientific journals.

The author incorporated a quote as the response of BMJ in the article, and it was interesting that he gave an account of a competing medical journal. Later in the article, the reporter included the Lancet's firm statement on their retraction of Dr. Wakefield's paper, yet I think that an additional quote elaborating their stance on the report would have been informative for the reader.

Information was also used in the article from the General Medical Council, which was a reliable and important source to include. The Council ruled on the case, and the author attributed most of the information to this source.

The author's attributions were clear and made for a smooth reading article. The only source that the reporter could have possibly included that would have made it more well-rounded would have been a quote from Wakefield, since he represents the other side of the issue.

Study Linking Vaccinations to Autism Retracted

The Lancet, the scientific journal responsible for publishing the report on vaccinations increasing children's risk of developing autism, has issued a formal retraction of the report.

The Lancet, which published Dr. Andrew Wakefield's paper in 1998, filed the retraction after the U.K. General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice Panel ruled "that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect ... in particular, the claims in the original paper that children were 'consecutively referred' and that investigations were 'approved' by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false," reported ABC News.

The Associated Press reported that Wakefield and any other colleagues who refuse to renounce the study may be banned from practicing medicine in Britain.

Since the paper was published, British and U.S. parents have begun abandoning the MMR vaccine, causing outbreaks of measles in the formerly clear countries.

U.S. Sends Bomb Sniffing Dogs to Iraq

After accusations of using an ineffective explosive searching device at city-wide checkpoints, the U.S. military is shipping 25 bomb-sniffing dogs to Iraq, said U.S. military officials.

From the Associated Press, the 25 dogs will arrive Friday in Iraq and are the first of 145 dogs that will be shipped to Baghdad said Army Maj. Sylvester Wegwu.

Iraqi officials requested the additional dogs when British authorities banned the export of the ADE-651, a security stick used to detect bombs. The BBC released a report last month that questioned the effectiveness of the mechanism, and American commanders have been urging the Iraqi military to abdicate the device.

The dogs will arrive amid controversy though. Islam traditionally regards dogs as an unclean animal and they are set to be trained at the Baghdad Police College.

Because of resistance to the animals, the job of being a dog handler will be on volunteer basis only. In addition, the dogs will search cars and buildings, but will be limited to searching people unless they are suspected of being a bomber, said police Brig. Gen. Mohammad Mesheb Hajea.

Minn. Caucuses

Three candidates established themselves in the Minnesota gubernatorial race at the Tuesday night precincts.

The Star Tribune reports that for Republicans, Rep. Marty Seifert pulled neary 50 percent of the vote. Democrats are more divided though, Minneapolis mayor RT Ryback won 21.8 persent of votes while House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher won just over 20 percent.

The caucuses, which are done with a non-binding straw poll, are intended to bring the most popular candidates the forefront.

With 14 Democrat candidates and the most crowded race in modern Minnesota history, the polls are key for candidates, reported Kare 11 News.

Minn. Movie Nominated for Oscar

The film "A Serious Man," written and directed by Minnesota's Coen brothers, won Oscar nominations for best picture and best original screen play on Tuesday.

The film, written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen of St. Louis Park, centers around the life of an ordinary midwestern college professor, reported the Pioneer Press

In Kare 11 News, Lucinda Winter, executive director of the Minnesota Film and Television Board said "It elevates the state in terms of national attention."

The Coens began filming the movie in the Twin Cities in September 2008.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Repealed

Though President Barack Obama called for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during his State of the Union address, it will take more than a year for its implementation in the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

In an effort to prepare the military for the change, Gates is planning a yearlong study to decide how the military would effectively lift the ban. "The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it," Gates said, according to CNN.

From NBC News, Adm. Mike Mullens, the military's top uniformed officer, said that he was deeply troubled by the policy.

Gates's committee and Mullens's statement mark the first steps working towards the repeal of the policy.

The policy, which bans openly gay and lesbian citizens from serving in the military, was put into effect by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

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