May 7, 2007

7 looting suspects arrested in storm-ravaged Kansas town

7 looting suspects arrested in storm-ravaged Kansas town

A storm leveled the town of Greensburg, Kansas. But this story was about the looting that took place in the town after the terror of the storm. Four soliders and reserve police officer were arrest while looting along with two men who were not members of the Red Cross but wore Red Cross jackets. The soliders were not there to help out with the relief effort neither was the police officer.

The best quote on the page was not even about the story but about the storm itself, under a picture of the town devestated was a paraphrase but what the sentence said is not really important but the one word really described the picture. Simply a city administrator said the town was "gone." I found that to be a very powerful quote because the town was really gone, in the picture only a couple of silos were still standing.

I kind of went back and forth with the reporters use of the word "scores." He was describing how many people were injured along with those killed. While that is not very descriptive and an estimate of people was probably made he still used that vague description. How many is a score? According to definition it could be around 20 and if that is how many people were injured then it was a creative and unique way to say it, however it still is a confusing to readers how many people are going to know how many a score really is?

With the changing media landscape it is always interesting to see online news articles accompanied by video. This story had a video on the page of the destruction of the town, which allows the readers to really see what happened.

Another article on talked about the arrests:,4670,KansasTornadoesLooting,00.html

The first story I talked about was from the AP and I would bet the foxnews story was too because mostly it was the exact same story jumbled up in a different order but with the same sentences and thes same quotes. While both stories are credited to the AP they are still different. Do media outlets usually run the AP story as it was sent to them or do they normally mix up the order of the story? Or did the AP send out both these versions?

The second story flowed a little better even though they were basically the same thing. The first story mentions the soliders and then abruptly mentions the 2 red cross jacketed peopel involved, but then goes back to the soliders. The second story goes with the soliders first and once it is done talking about them moves on the Red Cross people. It is a less jarring read.

Gas prices hit record high

This report was on a survey taken on gas prices around the country. The highest recorded was in San Fransico at $3.49 the lowest was in South Carolina at $2.80. The average price of gas (with inflation included) comes close to the record, which was $1.35 at the time but with inflation would be $3.13, the average right now is $3.07.

This story was interesting and scary. As a driver the rising prices seem to have no end, they only recede for awhile then jump back up. However, this story could have been stronger by using more details. In class we talk about showing not telling, however this story was defiintely all telling. For example, the reporter used partial quotes like:

"Last month there was 'substantial evidence'...."
"...but a series of 'incidents' at a dozen refineries..."

What is quotable about "substantial evidence?" or "incidents" nether of these words are unique or telling, they are simple statements that could have been paraphrased with no quotes. Or an even better plan would have been to tell us what that evidence was or what the incidents were, those would have aided to the showing what happened and would have taken out partial quotes which we say should be avoided if possible.

However, I did like how the reporter added some examples of prices around the nation which gave the story a good prespective.

What's Behind High Gas Prices?

This story dealt with maybe a more important issue, we all know the gas prices are high, but the real question here is why? I like this article more because it tackeled an article that is more intriguing it does not take a genius to figure out the prices are high and staying high. However, I could not find mention of who was being interviewed in this story which just seems like slopy journalism.

April 23, 2007

Tech gunman shot victims over 100 times

This story is another story about the Virginia Tech Shootings and what is left behind. It is mostly about evidence trying to figure out what happened and why it happened. The main focus was that Cho killed 32 people using 100 shots and many of them were shot many many times. It also discussed why Cho did it speculated mental illness or possibly drugs but they have not gotten the blood tests back yet. The final part discusses the fact that the police have not hard evidence connected Cho two the first two victims they found later victims matched the Cho used but the first two have not solid connection.

The most interesting thing I thought in this article was that they used an anonymous source quoting him as "an official close the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is on going, that source said "Authorities had to return to the victims' dorm rooms and homes to collect fingerprints so they could make identifications." Its an interesting deal because they could identify them, and its a better way of saying they could not identify some victims. Also, it serves as a less gruesome way to illustrate how destroyed some of the bodies were. I also found it interesting how describes in length why the source was anonymous, but he didn't reallysay anything telling could the reporter have not found someone else who could go on the record saying they had to collect finger prints to identify bodies?

Here is another story talking about the shootings
San Jose Mercury news "33 dead, 15 hurt in gunman's rampage at Virginia Tech"

The story from the San Jose paper went into much greater detail about what happened even though they are located much further away from Virigina than the first story out of the South Carolina paper. The San Jose story had student accounts and spoke with victims and witnesses and put a face on the story. Really the stories served different purposes the first story is more removed from the actually incident and is discussing the legal aspects and trying to figure out why and how this happened.

Sex offender denies rape in 'dungeon' case

This article was about Kenneth Hinnson who was suspected of raping two 17-year-old girls in a small cellar he built. Hinnson is claiming he did not rape them and the sex was consensual and thats all that happened. He says he was hiding from the cops for four days because he thought they wanted him on a drug charge because he built the cellar in order to keep marijuana in. On the night the girls said they were there he had four pounds of marijuana down in teh cellar. The girls are accusing him of kidnapping them out of their bedroom while they were sleeping and dragging them into the cellar and raping them.

A couple small things I noticed and are things you talk about in media ethics class and have touched on in our class is using the middle name when identifying the suspect. You definitely don't want to miss identifying someone you are charging with raping two girls and previously raping a 12-year-old girl. The second thing I noticed was they did not name the victims but they did mention that they were surpressing the names because of the associated presses ethics, nothing printing the names. This is a tough story because of the case involved and the victims, the reporter tried to give a back and fourth of the accusers (and council) and the accused, but some fo the comments he used and the information he added leans the article to assuming guilt. He chose to use a quote from opposing council, a very intriguing quote, timplies strongly Hinnson is lying but they don't use a strong quote from the defense. The reporter also writes about a witness and then explains how the witness is actually a convicted felon and was buying drugs when he overheard information, which is information that has to be used but the manner in which it is used is very skeptical.

The Washington Post's Coverage of the story: "S.C. Rape Suspect Brags About Dungeon"

The first story is misleading, kind of. It ends with the judge setting him free but that was really after his served time for his first offense which was the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Here is how the first story dealt with his history as an offender:

"Hinson was convicted in 1991 for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Two review committees recommended Hinson be committed to a state program for sexually violent predators after serving a nine-year prison sentence, warning he could commit a future sex crime. However, a judge rejected the plan and set Hinson free."

However, there is no mention of this first offense until right here following other talk about his current trial. So when they talk about the review committees and the setting free there are talking about that second offense but it is not clear. The first time I read it I thought they meant he was set free for this offense.

The Washington Post story makes it much more clear. They are discussing his background case its not mixed with talk about about the current case here is their version:

"The case attracted national attention when McMaster said during a four-day manhunt that Hinson _ convicted in 1991 for the rape of a 12-year-old girl _ could have been indefinitely committed to a state program for sexually violent predators after serving a nine-year prison sentence. Two review committees had recommended that Hinson be placed in the program, warning he could commit a future sex crime."

Brief and clear, it doesn't take a second read to understand what is going on.

The Post story also used the quote more effectively not using them in an incriminating way. Hinson is quoted saying : "I was very proud of it," he was talking about his cellar that he constructed. The quote works because it does not assume guilt and it is a simple thing that the defendant said.

I preferred the Post article because it was much more clear to me what was going on and the sequence of events. I also thought they covered in fairly. While the first story was not biased I felt it leaned slightly to assuming guilt on the part of the suspect.

March 5, 2007

Home-delivered body parts probably for education

This story is out of the paper from my hometown Grand Rapids, Mich. The paper itself isn't anythign special but it's a big enough paper. Anyways I chose this story because on our scale of what is newsworthy this defintiely fits into the Unusual category. I liked this story because it seems like a story that is bound to be overplayed and sensationalized, I mean come on, human body parts arriving at your door, part of a head? You don't even have to try to sensationalize this to make it sensational. However the GR Press reporter did a good job of just sharing the facts and not driving for interest, the story is already interesting there is no need to horrify the reader.

The BBC News also covered this story in my little hometown (okay it is the second biggest city in Michigan and is much prettier than Detroit):

"He started the second one, but stopped as soon as we saw the ear," she told the Grand Rapids Press newspaper.

The BBC story was a little more exciting. The quote above isn't really sensational but it is a good because it is in her own words and it is just a bizarre thing to have to say. This quote was attributed to a GR Press reporter but not in the Press' story? That seems odd, however my guess is there were more stories about this in the GR paper so I would hope it made it in somewhere, how could you not use such an unusual quote?

Also, the BBC story jumps off the page a bit more than the Press' story, which isn't too surprising to someone who read the GR Press for most of their lives, most of their stories leave something to be desired.

Stocks cut opening losses

I found this article to be a bit jargony. I realize that most people stumbling upont the CNN Money section probably know about the Stock Market and all the abbreviations they use but what about the ordinary vistor? The story is hard to understand because its numbers and jargon. Maybe I should know what S&P 500 is but I wouldn't be able to understand this without going else where to find meaning. The story itself does not seem helpful to a reader is seems like it could be more effort to figure out what is going on in the story and most readers who don't know about stocks wouldn't read it.

Another story I found disscuss this same dip in the stock market, but it grabs the reader a little more and breaks down what is going on.

tenuous stock market saga overshadowed tightening gasoline supplies

The writer here is adding a little more pep to the story I like the idea, although this sentence seems kind of ominious, is it really a saga? But I still like the effort to pumped a little life into a story about numbers which for me is dull and I'm sure gets dull for other readers as well. This second story strays away from the jargon more but it still has too many numbers, I guess that is the territory with stock market stories.