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November 18, 2007

Breastfeeding Mom Seperated from Baby in Raid

Immigration officials are creating guidelines for separating at risk children from their parents' after an undocumented immigrant in Ohio was separated from her breastfed baby.

27-year-old Sadya Umanzor, a Honduran immigrant, was arrested two weeks ago when immigration officials came to her house to arrest her brother-in-law, reported the Plain Dealer. A representative from La Leche League of Ohio was unable to get a breast pump to the mother and she experienced pain and swelling as a result. Her 9-month-old baby would not take formula and didn't eat for three days. She was eventually released on humanitarian grounds.

In response Immigration and Customs Enforcement codified guidelines for how to deal with situations like this, reported the New York Times. Officials will have to inquire about children or dependents immigrants being detained have, and will be required to listen to the recommendations of social workers.

The Plain Dealer story was reporting on a local incident, while the New York Times put that incident into a national context, focusing on national guidelines that were created as a result.

Over 2,000 Killed in Bangladesh Cyclone

Cyclone Sidr, which ravaged Bangladesh Thursday, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people.

According to Reuters as printed in the New York Times, Bangladesh's disaster ministry registered 2,300 dead. The Red Crescent Society, however, thought the death count could reach up to 10,000, because of the many areas still inaccessible.

The BBC reported that vital food sources were also destroyed. International aid groups are scrambling to send help.

The BBC and Reuters had similar stories that were organized slightly differently. The Reuters story included information about the U.S.'s reaction since it is a national wire service.

UN Climate Change Report

The UN released the fourth and final installment of its climate report, which synthesizes the information from the previous three.

The New York Times said that one of the most important findings is that a temperature increase of one to three degrees would be enough to induce species extinction and a rise in sea levels. The BBC reported that some of the panel's previous predictions have come to pass earlier than expected.

According to the BBC, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of the results and the necessity of proper government reactions. He said there are inexpensive ways to prevent the worst case scenarios from happening

World leaders will meet next week in Bali to discuss a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the New York Times said.

The two stories carried basically the same information but organized it differently. The BBC started with the reaction of the UN secretary general and then went on to discuss the implications of the findings. The New York Times spent more time analyzing the findings before listing what exactly the findings were.

Black Friday Looms

As Black Friday nears, retailers and consumers are thinking strategically.

According to KSTP, several web sites offer consumers the opportunity to map out their shopping plan by showing web surfers where the deals will be.

The Star Tribune reported that many stores have had discounted prices weeks before Black Friday. Retailers are expecting a slower season as consumers react to the housing crisis and rising cost of gas and other necessities.

The KSTP story was much shorter and more basic, since it is a broadcast news station. It focused on a very simple topic - the fact that consumers can look at deals being promoted online. The Star Tribune story focused on the fact that retailers are reacting to the economy with earlier sales and deeper discounts. The story was longer and more complex - more appropriate for a newspaper.

Karen People Part of Minnesota's Immigrant Population

Between 1,500 and 3,000 Karen refugees from Burma and Thailand are now part of Minnesota's immigrant population, City Pages reported.

According to City Pages the Karen people fled Burma where they were persecuted by the military government. The Burmese government forced them to work, flee their villages and live in fear. Some were raped, shot or killed by the government. Many fled to refugee camps in Thailand, later moving to third countries like the U.S.

Minnesota Karens have found sanctuary in St. Paul's First Baptist Church, where they make up the majority of the congregation, reported the Pioneer Press. According to City Pages, the congregation spends a large part of the sermon singing in Karen. The Pioneer Press reported that the church now offers music lessons and has a number of choirs and bands.

The City Pages article was written magazine-style as was appropriate for the publication. It gave a much more complete picture of the Karen situation. Individual stories were told through the voices of Karen people. The Pioneer Press was more of a short feature story that took the angle of music in a mostly Karen church. It was interesting to see the Pioneer Press story appear days after the City Pages story was front page.

November 11, 2007

Nurse may be Charged in Diabetic Inmate's Death

A Ramsey county jail nurse may face charges for the death of a diabetic inmate, whose insulin she failed to check.

Randy Gallmeyer was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, reported the Pioneer Press. Nurses offered Gallmeyer insulin tests several times, which he refused. When a different nurse came on duty, she failed to offer him the test during her shift. There is no nurse on duty during the night, and Gallmeyer was dead by morning.

The Star Tribune reported that the nurse resigned, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher is calling for a 24-hour nurse on duty.

The two newspapers' coverage was very similar. Each summarized the story and then went into chronological details.

Goals Unmet in St. Paul Schools

In her first State of the School District address, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said that St. Paul still has a long way to go in closing the achievement gap.

According to the Pioneer Press, the district failed to meet 105 of the 145 goals set for this year. Goals included test scores, honors class participation and suspensions. This is the first year in a five-year plan to close the achievement gap.

The Star Tribune reported that audience members appreciated Carstarphen's frank and honest picture of what still needs to be done.

Both stories addressed the fact that St. Paul still has a long way to go, but the Star Tribune seemed to say that and then paid more attention to the good things that had happened, which didn't seem to be the point of the speech.

Police Enter Former Khmer Rouge Official's Home

Cambodian police entered the home of former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary Sunday evening.

The AP as reported in the New York Times reported that witnesses said Sary would be put on trial before Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal.

According to the BBC, Sary is the brother-in-law of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. He was the first senior Khmer Rouge leader to defect, which meant a royal pardon. The pardon, however, does not protect him from arrest.

Both were breaking stories. They each had slightly different information, probably a result of the fact that the event just happened.

Broadway Stagehands on Strike

After three months of negotiations, Broadway stagehands are on strike.

According to the New York Times, the strike is partly in response to disagreement over how many stagehands are needed to put on a Broadway production. Stagehands said that they are often understaffed.

The BBC reported that all but eight Broadway shows were canceled. The strike will have a negative economic impact on the city. The BBC said that when a musicians' strike shut down Broadway for four days, four years ago, the city lost about $7 million a day.

The BBC focused most on the economic impact the strike would have, while the New York Times mostly talked about what each side of the argument had to say.

Italian Soccer Fan Killed by Police

Gabriele Sandri, a 26-year-old disc jockey and fan of Italy's Lazio soccer team, was shot by police who were attempting to control crowds.

According to ESPN the incident occured nine months after a policeman was killed trying to control crowds during a soccer game. The death led to increased security measures at games.

In response, soccer fans across Italy protested, reported the BBC. Three matches were cancelled. The worst of the rioting was in Milan where armed fans attacked a police barracks and the Italian Olympic Commitee headquarters.

The ESPN story mostly focused on the shooting, what police were saying and which games were cancelled. The BBC focused on fans' reactions.

November 4, 2007


The Star Tribune has an Internet feature that focuses on Liberians in Minnesota. Their story is told through videos and slide shows that Liberians themselves largely narrate.This is a really interesting approach to a news story in that it tells the Liberian immigrants' story in a way that could only be done online.

The main page includes a table of contents with various sections. One of the sections focuses on daily life, and within that section there are various topics such as food, music, religion, etc. There is another section that focuses on how people are recovering from the horrors of the war in Liberia, and there are also two individuals' stories.

I think this is an excellent approach to explaining a little-known community to the greater Twin Cities. A single story would not have given a complete picture of what these people's experience has been. This story showed their life from a variety of points of view.

King Tut's Face Revealed

The mummified body of King Tutankhamun went on display Sunday, giving the public their first chance to see the face of the famous mummy.

According to the BBC, the humidity caused by tourists visiting Tut's tomb put the mummy at risk for deterioration. To prevent this, the mummy was transferred to a climate-controlled box.

King Tut's tomb, discovered in 1922, is the only Egyptian tomb that was not raided by looters, reported the Washington Post.

The BBC story was shorter and included less background or quotes. This could be because it is principally a broadcast medium.

Murder Victim Identified

A man who was shot and killed Friday afternoon has been identified as Andrew Nakao.

According to the Star Tribune, the 21-year-old man was confronting a group of boys who beat up his brother when he was shot.

Another man was hospitalized in connection with the shooting, but police are not saying how he was involved, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Star Tribune was able to find out the cause of the shooting, while the Pioneer Press only told who the victim was.

The Asian Carp are Coming

The DNR issued a report last week on the inevitable arrival of Asian carp in Minnesota.

Asian carp have the potential to ruin Minnesota ecosystems, said the Star Tribune. One variety can weigh up to 100 pounds. Another can be dangerous because of its habit of jumping out of the water as boats pass.

To prevent the fish from invading, the DNR proposed building "barriers of light, sound, bubbles or electricity" and enforcing strict restrictions on importing, releasing or selling the carp, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Detroit Free Press, President George Bush vetoed a bill that would give more than $20 billion to water projects on Friday. One of those water projects was a barrier to stop the Asian carp. There is still a chance that the veto will be over-ridden.

The Star Tribune story focused solely on the DNR and the Asian carp's position in Minnesota, while the Detroit Free Press story focused on the vetoed bill and only briefly mentioned the carp.

Earmark Issues

Despite cuts of up to 50 percent, earmarks still made up $1.8 billion of a military appropriations bill.

According to the New York Times the two politicians with the most earmarks were John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat whose earmarks totaled $116 million, and Jerry Lewis, a Florida Republican had $117 million in earmarks.

A large portion of the earmarks usually goes to the politicians' districts, said the New York Times. Many of the businesses who receive earmarked dollars go on to make campaign contributions.

Concurrent Technologies has been the largest receiver of Murtha's earmarks, reported the Washington Post. The company is a non-profit that says it "lessens the burden of government" by doing things such as missile-defense research and construction projects. It has recently been under scrutiny by Congress for connections with a political scandal.

The New York Times story focused on earmarks, while the Washington Post focused on Concurrent.

Pakistan's Leader Declares Emergency Rule

Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and flooded the streets with police Saturday in what he called emergency rule.

According to the New York Times the move seems to be a response to the Supreme Court case that is questioning the legality of his re-election.

Some people, including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, are calling the action martial law, said the New York Times.

The Washington Post reported that in the last 24 hours, up to 500 opposition activists have been arrested. Non state-run news stations have been taken off the air.

The U.S. has responded by saying they will review the aid being sent to Pakistan, said the Washington Post.

The Washington Post story seemed more like a follow-up story, although I'm not sure if it was. It talked more about the effects of the crackdown, while the New York Times spent more time explaining the crackdown.