October 2009 Archives

Analysis: Spot/Follow

by Matt Carlson

The original story is linked here, and the update, written by the same reporter the next day is here.  The articles are from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The second article is noticeably longer, likely due to the added information.  The lead changes, but does not mention the name of the dead man.  His name is mentioned in the second paragraph of the follow article.  The second lead simply adds the body has been identified and that it was a government worker.

The stories between the two articles seems to be almost the same, in respect to the information told, the one exception being the name of the dead person.  However, the follow article seems to be almost completely rewritten. 

The second story also fills in a little background information about the dead body found.  They state his role at the company and also mention that counselors or "assistants" as they say will be available to the dead man's associates.

Something interesting about the first article that I noticed was that the police said they thought the body was of someone who disappeared.  The second article confirmed the suspicion laid out in the first, saying it was indeed the government worker who had gone missing.  This was one way they advanced the story, but at the same time tying back to the original article.

Upset by loss, Packers fan stabs man

by Matt Carlson

A Green Bay Packers fan allegedly stabbed a man outside the Leaning Tower of Pizza restaurant on Monday night after a disappointing loss to the Vikings, authorities said.

Minneapolis man Ryan Andrew Hinderaker, 30, has been charged with second-degree assault as a result of the incident, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

According to the criminal complaint, Hinderaker, 30, was arguing with 41-year-old Lefi Heide over the Packers-Vikings when the two stepped outside.

Hinderaker then pulled a knife out of his right pants pocket and stabbed the Heide in the stomach, according to FOX9 news.

Some officers were confused by the incident, given that Heide was reportedly a Seattle Seahawks fan, according to MPR.

Hinderaker later called 911 and turned himself into police custody.  Heide was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for surgery to treat his injury.

U of M budgets $240 million for buildings

by Matt Carlson
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents unanimously approved a request for $193.3 million for new building projects and renovations. 

A total budget of $240 million will be available once the University puts in its own $46.7 million.

The plan is that $100 million would go toward maintenance and improvements of existing buildings, while $80 million would be put into new physics and nanotechnology research centers.  Folwell hall was also said to be in line for a face lift, according to the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

An additional $10 million is marked for an American Indian Learning Resource Center at the Duluth campus and there will be $5.5 million set aside for improvements to the Itasca Biological Station, according to KARE 11 news.

Death toll could rise to 50 in Italy mudslides

by Matt Carlson

Mudslides in Sicily have killed 21 people so far, Italian Civil Protection said on Saturday.

The number of dead, however, could rise to at least 50 as 30 people are still unaccounted for after mudslides hit the area two day ago, according to CNN.

Officials acknowledged "that deforestation and unregulated development -- a widespread practice in Sicily and other parts of southern Italy -- had weakened the soil and contributed to the mudslides from Messina's surrounding hills and cliffs" in Italy's deadliest mudslide since 1998.  Italian newspapers said no improvements have been made to the area where landslides struck two years ago, injuring no one.

Searches continued Saturday to find the 30 some missing people, according to the Associated Press.

Big sports weekend in the Twin Cities

by Matt Carlson

Over the weekend there will be some high-profile games played in the Twin Cities including a collegiate grid iron battle, a late-season baseball slugfest and the classic Monday night showdown between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers, according to KARE 11 news.

The Badgers are in town for a Big Ten conference game against the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.  Meanwhile the Twins will be chasing down the Detroit Tiger's lead in the American League Central Division while playing the Kansas City Royals in the Metrodome.  The marquee match-up, however, comes Monday as former cheesehead Brett Favre helms the Vikings in his first-ever appearance playing against the Green Bay Packers.

The Pioneer Press also mentioned the Twin Cities marathon, which will be held on Sunday morning with about 11,500 entrants running the 26.2 mile course beginning at the Metrodome and ending at the Capitol in St. Paul.

Chicago's Olympic hopes dashed

by Matt Carlson

The International Olympic Committee dropped Chicago from its list of 2016 contenders on Friday while the public looked on in shock.

Many locals could not believe that Chicago was shunned so soon in the first round of eliminations.  Chicago's hopes were bolstered by President Obama's visit to Copenhagen, headquarters of the IOC, to rally for Chicago's selection.  Michelle Obama spent much of the week there as well, personally lobbying to IOC members, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Jordan told CNN, "I'm totally stunned. I thought we had a great opportunity."  The Chicago sports legend said that Chicago would have been "perfect for the world to explore."

However, many Chicago residents were pleased to hear the games weren't coming to their city, given the stress the games puts on its host city.

While the games will only last 17 days, a local bar manager, Brian Fadden said "who knows what we would have had to deal with after that? I mean, taxpayers are probably going to end up paying for this."  David Hoffmann, CEO of Arts and Artisans gallery on Chicago's North Michigan Avenue said that one month's worth of increased sales was not worth the other sacrifices the would have to endure, according to CNN.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chicago's push for the 2016 bid cost $48 million.

The eventual winner of the IOC's decision to host the 2016 summer games was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  This will be the first time the Olympics will be held in South America.

Minnesota needs the Vikings, Pawlenty says

by Matt Carlson

Governor Tim Pawlenty recently said in his weekly Friday morning radio show that Minnesota needs the Vikings.

Pawlenty focused on the issue of the Metrodome.  The team has leased the bubble through 2011, but does not plan to extend the lease.  While saying something has to be done to keep the team in the state, Pawlenty did go so far as to endorse a mostly public-funded stadium.

A far less costly plan to renovate the Metrodome has been proposed by the venue's operating commission, according to KSTP news.

While Pawlenty claims that the team needs a new stadium and the state needs the state, he remains neutral in his political action.  Considering a jeopardized 2012 presidential election bid, Pawlenty would be straying from a fiscally conservative philosophy.

Pawlenty would contend, however, the Vikings are an asset to the state and give great joy to many people in the state.  He also said, even though the public doesn't like to spend its money on private industry, it is the state's responsibility to provide "infrastructure for public amenities such as hunting and fishing grounds, the arts and bike trails," as was written in the KSTP article.

Callers on Pawlenty's radio show called for a public-private partnership to get any new deals in the works, according to the Star Tribune.

Pawlenty will be attending Monday night's border battle between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

Two dead in Lino Lakes murder-suicide

by Matt Carlson

The St. Paul Pioneer Press and KARE 11 both report an apparent murder-suicide in Lino Lakes that took place on Thursday night.

The police have been tight-lipped and said the two people have not been identified, according to the Pioneer Press.

However, the police also said that it appears that the two people knew each other as published in the KARE 11 article.

The police have no suspects and the case is still under investigation.

Structure: Analysis

by Matt Carlson

This article in the Pioneer Press is about a criminal act and it demonstrates the use of news organization well.  The article begins with the latest developments in this particular story, that of a man who exploited his mother for money, and fills in the important details of the case later on in the article.

The strange thing about this article's structure is that, although similar to the martini style organization, it doesn't have the abrupt segue into the chronological information.  The article is essentially written in inverted pyramid style, with the important facts coming first, yet the entire article is in chronological order.  The last few paragraphs of the article violates this ordering, but leaves the reader with some important overall facts of the incident.

I think it is an effective way to present the information, given the story is somewhat complex and have taken place over months.  Also, there just simply isn't a better way to say the information as the content consists of many dates and figures that must be written out.

The Article maybe could have been done differently if the columnist had chosen not to print the background information relating to the charges.  It certainly isn't necessary to learn the entire 18-year history this article covers in order to know a man in Roseville was exploiting his 95-year-old mother's bank account.

The article was mostly fair, being neutral throughout the article in reference to the alleged offender, Joel Allen Berntsen, yet the last line of the article was unnecessary I thought.  The last line read, "Berntsen was previously convicted of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2000 and driving over the legal limit in 1997. Both convictions were in Ramsey County District Court."

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