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March 25, 2007

ANOTHER MINNESOTA SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ

Star Tribune reported another death of Minnesota soldier in Iraq. According to the Star Tribune, Sgt. Greg Riewer died when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle. Three members of Riewer were hurt. Their names and conditions of injuries were not released. http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1077920.html

This story is an obituary.The writer could have written a better lead. One without victim's nickname, where he was killed and where his family lives now. These pieces of information could come in the body of the obituary.

There was little use for the time the bomb struck Riewer's car since the writer did not specify whether it was Bagdad time or Minnesota time. Besides, what is the news value? Also, instead of the vague and redondent "previously served", Riewer served in Bosnia in (state the year). "a roadside explosive device" could be reduced to roadside bomb.

The same AP story by WCCO was excellent in clarity, brevity and simplicity. The writer even provided the number ofsoldiers with strong Minnesota ties that have died in Iraq. "Fifty-four people with strong Minnesota ties have died in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," the writer concluded the report.

Proper attributions and quotes gave this story the attention it deserve. A good example of professionalism.

http://wcco.com/local/local_story_083191708.html


February 28, 2007

MINNESOTA MAN BEING MOVED TO DEATH ROW

An AP story in Journal and Courier is about Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.'s journey to federal death row in Indiana after being sentenced in the beating, rape and death of a college student.

This is a hard news story, very short and to the point. It is a type of story any journalism student would want to read to know the different between hard news and news feature. It was written in an inverted pyramid style.

Even a reader that have not heard or read about this case before can be assured that she/he would find answers to all the Ws. What happened? When it happened? Where it happened? Why it happened? and How it happened. Great job.
Read it at http://www.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070227/NEWS09/70227017

Same AP story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune looked at the cost of the trial. This angle introduced a follow up element becuase readers were told that the cost, now more than $1.2 million will continue to rise. All news writing convenctions were observed. Great job arraging thefacts and other information in an inverted pyramid .

The story is at http://www.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070227/NEWS09/70227017

February 12, 2007

16-Year Prison Term For Convicted Murderer

This story is about a 16-year prison term a Minneapolis man received for the murder of Tom Dahl in 2005. First, the lead is too long and confusing. The Star Tribune reporter seems to have a bias about people who go out for a drink. Lead: "The killer of a Minneapolis man who went out for drinks with coworkers today received nearly 16 years in prison – the midpoint of sentencing guidelines for his crimes." I think saying : A convicted killer of a Minneapolis man was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday, would be better and less confusing.

Other problems with the story were, reporter implied that there were other crimes committed in addition to the murder. But the story did not say what other crimes the convict was found guilty of.

Also, the use of "who stood before the judge" was not necessary. It is understood that one has to stand to hear his or her sentence in court- guilty or not. "victim impact statement" is simply a statement. Telling us that the wife of the murdered man received a police call at "2 am" without telling us the month and year makes the story less informative. Equally so, telling us that the victim's coworkers put down about 11:30 pm without the month and year was journalistically immaterial.

The St. Paul's Pioneer Press however did an excellent job in handling the same story. Read this story at: pioneerpress.com. This writer, unlike the Star Tribune, did not show any bias at what the victim was doing. Her sentences were shorter and to the point. The Pioneer Press reporter also told readers that "Brian Kidd Trimble, 39, was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder in the November 2005 beating death of Thomas Dahl, 35. He was also convicted of first-degree manslaughter."

Star Tribune Reporter said 17 year sentence. This was factually wrong. The correct Prison term handed by Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson was reported by Pioneer Press: 16 years three months. The Pioneer Press reporter made an important attribution."The sentence of 16 years and three months, handed down by Judge Gary Larson, was at the midpoint of the sentencing guidelines for a defendant with Trimble's background, Sweasy said"

Kudos to the Pioneer Press, St. Paul.

January 21, 2007

Norm Coleman's 2008 Worries Begin

U S Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) up for reelection in 2008 is showing signs that he, like any politician is worrying losing his position comes 2008, Star Tribune has reported.

According to the DFL, Senator coleman has since 2006 congreesional elections become a "flip-flopper" on the Irag issue in a bit to be reelected. The Minnesota Republican sanator has been one president bush's strong Irag policies prior to the elections that booted majority Republicans from both houses of the Congress.

Star Tribune's story is more about words. Senator Coleman had not signed on the non-binding resolution been considered by key Democrats and Republicans opposing any US troops surge in Irag. I think that the Senator is only been what is: a politician. That is, he opposes the increase but (would) support them all the same.