December 9, 2007

Minnesota woman killed in Colorado shooting

A Minnesota woman and an Alaska man were killed in a shooting in a Colorado missionary training center.

12 hours later and 65 miles away, another man was shot and killed at a Colorado Springs megachurch, reported the Star Tribune. Police are investigating whether the incidents were connected.

The gunman who killed the Minnesota woman, entered the missionary center asking to spend the night, the Pioneer Press said. When he was told he could not stay, he opened fire. He is still missing.

The stories were very similar. They used a lot of the same quotes.

Potential contestants wait in cold line for Deal or No Deal auditions

Despite subzero temperatures, over 8,000 waited in line outside Denny Hecker's Inver Grove Heights car dealership to try out for NBC's "Deal or No Deal."

Potential contestants started lining up before dawn, bundled in warm clothing, waiting for hours for their chance to win $1 million, reported the Star Tribune.

People had 30 seconds to make themselves stand out among the crowds, the Pioneer Press said. Some did the chicken dance, some wore costumes, others just talked about all the good things they'd do with the money.

The Pioneer Press story was a little longer and spent more time talking to the people in line.

December 2, 2007

Refinery Worker's Body Found

The body of a missing oil refinery worker was found today.

The Pioneer Press reported that Nicholas Gunter, 29, went missing yesterday at 8:30 a.m. after a fire broke out at the Marathon Petroleum refinery where he worked. 70 employees, firefighters and volunteers searched for him.

Gunter's body was found at 1:40 p.m. today inside the fuel tank that caught fire, the Star Tribune said. He was most likely sitting on top of it, checking the gauges, when it caught fire.

The two articles were very similar. The Star Tribune had a few more details than the Pioneer Press.


Guess what? It snowed this weekend.

The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota is buried in 2 to 8 inches of snow, depending on where you are. Despite the 338 traffic accidents, the people the paper talked to seemed happy about the snow.

The Pioneer Press reported that the snow did not stop people from participating in Grand Avenue's Grand Meander or Nicollet Avenue's Santa Run.

Both papers spent a lot of time focusing on how much people were enjoying the snow. That's biased. What about the people whose cars got stuck or who don't particularly enjoy shoveling?

November 18, 2007

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.

November 4, 2007

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.

October 28, 2007

Victims of bridge collapse tell stories in hopes of a compensation fund

Victims of the 35W bridge collapse told their stories at the capital Thursday in hopes of convincing the government to create a compensation fund.

Speakers included spouses of those killed, injured people in wheelchairs and relatives of victims that are still in the hospital, reported the Pioneer Press. One man expressed anger that they even had to ask for assistance.

According to the Star Tribune, some victims are facing losses of up to $1 million, not to mention the mental and emotional stress caused by the collapse. Under Minnesota law, the state will only cover up to $1 million for any single incident, much less $1 million for any single person.

Part of the debate is over individual liability versus state liability and whether or not the federal or state government should pay, said the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune story was much longer than the Pioneer Press. The Pioneer Press had the quotes of a few victims but failed to add much context. It almost felt like a brief, whereas the Star Tribune story was longer than average.

Savage man arrested in connection with Craig's List murder

A teenager from Savage was arrested in connection with the death of a 24-year-old Katherine Olson, whose body in the trunk of her car. Friends say she was responding to an ad on Craig's List for a nanny.

A friend of the 19-year-old suspect was surprised by the arrest, reported the Star Tribune. Police have not released the reason the man was taken into custody.

The Pioneer Press reported that some Craig's List users are now worried about their safety, although authorities say this is the first murder connected with Craig's List.

Both stories were follow-ups to the news that the girl was murdered. The Pioneer Press' looked at the situation from the point of view of those who use Craig's List the way the victim did. The Star Tribune focused more on the suspect and spoke to a friend of his. I

thought it was interesting that the Star Tribune did not print the name of the suspect, because it hasn't been released by authorities. The Pioneer Press looked at the jail's roster and found the name so they could print it. I wonder if there was a discussion about ethics in both those newsrooms.

October 21, 2007

Cedar Lake Drowning Victim is Identified

A body found in Cedar Lake in Minneapolis was identified as Bobby Joe Allen, 55.

The Star Tribune reported that the cause of death was drowning.

The body of the man was discovered after someone noticed an overturned boat in the lake, reported the Associated Press as printed in the Pioneer Press.

The two stories were exactly the same. The AP must have taken the story from the Star Tribune.

Suicidal Boy Fires 100 Shots

A 15-year-old boy from St. Croix County, Wisconsin fired 100 shots in a standoff with police. No one was injured.

The boy called friends earlier in the night, telling them he did not wish to live. The friends could hear shots being fired, so they called police, reported the Pioneer Press.

Police negotiated with the boy for three hours as he fired shots from inside the house, reported the Star Tribune. The Pioneer Press said the shots did not seem to be aimed at the police officers.

The boy finally exited the house at about 12:30 a.m. with cuts from the glass that he shot through. Charges are expected to be filed, reported the Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press story was much longer and more detailed. The Star Tribune just gave a bare-bones account of what happened.

October 14, 2007

Witnesses Say Juror is not a Racist

Five witnesses testified that the juror accused of making racist comments is not a racist.

Fay Haakinson, a juror in the case that convicted Harry J. Evans of killing a police sergeant, was accused of making racist comments at a bar. These allegations are being used as grounds for a new trial or acquittal, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press reported that five of Haakinson's minority acquaintances and coworkers testified that they have never known her to be racist.

The Pioneer Press story was a little easier to read. The Star Tribune story seemed to assume that the reader already knew the background of the case, which left me a bit confused.

American Indian Rights Activist Dies

American Indian Rights Activist Vernon Bellecourt died Saturday.

Bellecourt was a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The movement led a number of sometimes violent protests and was especially active in the 1970's, reported the Star Tribune.

Recently Bellecourt was active in protesting sports teams with names and mascots offensive to American Indians. He has also been active internationally; shortly before his death, he met with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, said the Associated Press as printed in the Pioneer Press.

Bellecourt died of pneumonia and was 75 years old.

The Star Tribune story was longer and contained more details of Bellecourt's life. The AP story focused on Bellecourt's activism with sports teams.

October 7, 2007

Ukranian Wins Twin Cities

Ukranian Mykola Antonenko won the Twin Cities marathon, six minutes ahead of the best of his competitors.

According to the Associated Press as printed in the Star Tribune the temperature of 74 degrees made the run difficult. It was also difficult for Antonenko to maintain his speed without other runners on his tail.

The Associated Press as printed in the Pioneer Press reported that Russian runner Svetlana Ponomarenko won the women's race.

The story just broke today, so both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune printed the same AP story.

Two People Stabbed in Street Fight

Two people were stabbed Friday night in a street fight involving up to 50 people on the East Side of St. Paul.

The victims, a 21-year-old and a 15-year-old, were stabbed with a sickle, the Pioneer Press reported. They were in stable condition on Saturday.

The Star Tribune reported that dozens of people joined the street fight outside a birthday party. People used whatever weapons they could find including a push lawnmower, a sickle and a brick. No arrests have been made.

The Star Tribune story seemed to be more of an initial report than the Pioneer Press story. It contained a lot of information from KARE 11 and did not include details about the condition of the victims.

September 30, 2007

Last of 35W Bridge Wreckage Removed

Workers removed the last of the steel wreckage from the 35W bridge collapse last week, completing a long and arduous task.

The job was especially difficult because the cause of the collapse is still under investigation. The pieces had to be preserved so they could be studied, reported the Associated Press as posted on the WCCO web site.

According to the Pioneer Press, an estimated 2,000 tons of steel were removed from the water and placed down the river at the Bohemian Flats to await inspection.

The AP story and the Pioneer Press story were very similar. I was a little confused, though by just how similar they were. They used many of the same quotes and some of the wording they used was identical. The Pioneer Press story was more detailed, but I wonder which source originally came up with the content. Maybe I'm confused about how the AP works...

Anoka Man Fakes Hate Crime

An Anoka man was charged Friday with falsely reporting a crime after burning a cross into his own lawn and reporting it to police as a hate crime.

Anoka County Jail inmates saw a news broadcast about the cross burning, and remembered that De'Andre June had talked about carrying out a hoax like this to gain sympathy and bail money, reported the Associated Press as posted on Minnesota Public Radio's web site.

The cross burning roused the support of neighbors and human rights organizations as well as attention from the media, the Pioneer Press reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, June has a history of run-ins with the law related to a wide range of crimes.

The AP story was more or less a brief, while the Pioneer Press article contained a lot of background, a variety of sources, and a more complete account of what happened.

September 24, 2007

12-year-old Girl is Shot

A 12-year-old girl was shot in the head late Friday night in North Minneapolis. She remains in critical condition.

The victim was walking home from a birthday party when she was shot. Witnesses reported seeing a group of 17- or 18-year-old boys hiding behind a fence who might have been the shooters, said the Pioneer Press.

City Council Member Don Samuels said that the ages of shooting victims and shooters has gone down in the past few years. Of 2006's 60 homicides, 11 of the victims were under 18, reported the Star Tribune.

This story was covered very differently in each paper. The Pioneer Press article included testimony from a number of witnesses. The story was told through the voices of community members. The Star Tribune framed the story as part of a pattern or societal problem of youth and violence. It contained a lot of statistics and comparisons with past incidents. The only witness quoted was a city council member that drove by around the time of the shooting.

September 23, 2007

Hunger Strike

11 University of Minnesota students and two university employees went on a hunger strike in support of AFSCME strikers on September 17.

The hunger strikers plan to sit on the end of the Washington Avenue bridge from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., drinking only juice and water, said the Pioneer Press.

According to the Star Tribune, a university spokesperson called the decision "unfortunate," while strikers had mixed feelings.

The Star Tribune article was longer than the Pioneer Press article and contained a number of quotes. This was probably because the strike occurred in Minneapolis and the Star Tribune is a Minneapolis paper.

September 16, 2007

New Director at Walker

The Walker Art Center has chosen Olga Viso, current head of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum, as its new director.

The Hirshhorn is similar to the Walker in that both focus on contemporary art and have a sculpture garden. This makes Viso's transition a natural one, said the Pioneer Press.

According to the Star Tribune, Viso has yet to make plans for the expansion of the sculpture garden. She was quoted as saying that one of the biggest challenges will be to make contemporary art more accessible to visitors. She is excited to work at an institution that takes such a multidisciplinary approach to art.

The Pioneer Press's coverage of this story was straightforward and provided a lot of background information about Viso. The Star Tribune ran two articles, one of which was similar to the Pioneer Press's article, and one that included an interview with Viso and provided a more personal view of the new director. This was most likely because of the fact that the Walker is in Minneapolis.

Man Shot at Target Center

A man was shot at the Target center during a mixed martial arts competition on Saturday night.

According the Star Tribune, two men were fighting before one shot the other and both fled.

Audience members scattered at the sound of the gunshot, said the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune reported that although no arrests have been made, police have the name of a suspect.

The stories in both papers were quite short. The Pioneer Press focused a bit more on the audience and were able to get a quote from a spectator. The Star Tribune didn't have much to say about the audience but did quote a police spokesperson.