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February 26, 2007

4 Guatemalans Die

Four imprisoned Guatemalan policemen were killed Sunday during a rebellion by inmates, days after the officers were arrested in connection with the deaths of three Salvadoran politicians, the police said. The four killed included Luis Herrera, head of the Guatemalan National Police organized crime unit, and three of his officers. On Feb. 19, Herrera and his officers abducted and killed Eduarado D'Aubuisson--the son of the former Salvadoran right-wing leader Roberto D'Aubuisson--two other Salvadoran officials and their driver. Their bodies were set on fire while they were still alive and was found along a road 20 miles from Guatemala City. The accused officers were taken to prison, occupied mostly by members of the dangerous Mara Salavtrucha gang, after their lawyer said their lives were in danger at the detention center in Guatemala City.

The New York Times article posted their version of the story once the accused officers were murdered on Feb.26. The Washington Post posted their version once the politicians were murdered and the accused officers arrested on Feb 22. The New York Times has the most current information. The Washington Post did not post another story about the accused officers being murdered. I think it's important for a newspaper to do a follow-up story, especially when the story made headlines and the second half is newsworthy.

The Washington Post version of the story was very confusing. Reporter Juan Carlos LLorca had help from Associated Press Writer Diego Mendez. I think LLcorca puts too much information into the article that was not necessary. He writes that about D'Aubisson's late father and his history with politics and crime and how he died. He used a really poor quote as well, from Interior Minister Carol Vielman, "We could give 10 different hypothesis but that would not be anything definite." I think that this quote is useless, it doesn't provide the reader with anything about the investigations and is redundant. His lead is okay. I guess it gets the job done, but it's really boring. He also uses a lot of names which is overwhelming because he connects each name with their association. It's necessary to make that association but I think he could have written it much tighter.

It was probably easier for the New York Times to write about the aftermath of the murders because they know all the facts and they don't have to explain every detail. The story was a lot easier to read and clearer on people's association to one another. The NYT also used a pretty lame quote, national police spokeswoman Maria Jose Fernadez said, "It's confirmed; they killed the four of them." Of-course it's confirmed! Why would the reader be reading the article if it wasn't confirmed and if it wasn't confirmed the reader would have known that in the lead.

Indian Mascot

The University of Illinois will retire its 81-year-old American Indian mascot , Chief Illiniwek after the last men's home basketball game of the season. The decision ends a two-decade-long struggle between people on both sides of the issue.

The Washington Post reporter David Mercer talked about what happened at Chief Illiniwek's last game. Mercer also interviewed a lot of students and audience members to give their story. The problem that Mercer makes is that he doesn't give interviews with the opposing side of Chief Illiniwek. All the interviewing was done with people who wanted to keep the chief. When I was finished reading the story I felt like it portrayed a very biased attitude--people are being overly sensitive. Mercer also had too many quotes that were irrelevant. For an example, a quote from a student, "If we were down by like 30, people stuck around for the chief...honestly, that's like what you hear in the stands." This quote doesn't enhance the story or give it more meaning to the reader.

The New York Times gave a more of a factual stance on the Chief Illinwek issue. The Associated Press
wrote the story. The reporter placed one quote in the story and I think it was a perfect fit. The reporter wrote, "Personally, as an alumnus and former athlete, I am disappointed. However, as an administrator, I understand the decision that to be made." This quote is from an important person of the university and shows to sides of the issue. This style of writing helps the reporter not force anything on to its readers, instead the reporter insists the reader into making an educated decision.

February 24, 2007

Crookston Parents Arrested

Jennifer mother and William Anderson(stepfather) abandon their 15 and 17-year-old girls. The couple left a note to the girls before they ranaway saying they went to work early. The couple left in September and was found on Febuary 22 in Montanta. Jennifer was working for motel owner/manager Pat Anderson--no relation to the couple, for $6.50 an hour. William had been charged with threatening to kill Jennifer and her daughters.

The Pioneer Press article gave a summary of what happened to the girls and the parents. It was conducted by the Associated Press. The article starts off by saying that this case was unusual because runaways tend to be teenagers but in this case it's the parents. Jennifer Anderson's 21-year-old son, Aaron Merck, took care of the girls for a while. The girls now in foster care. The article also said that the couple was reported to be in Montana or Wyoming.

The Star Tribune give a very thourough description of what happened IN Montana. Most of the story was from the point of view of motel owner Pat Anderson. I think that reporter Chio took a risky chance on only reported one point of view. But I think he also overrode this bisaism by supporting Pat Anderson quotes with police reports. Chio wrote a long artice on this event, most was all Pat Anderson's point-of-view.

One thing that stuck me was that the Pioneer Press posted that the couple was reported in Montana or Wyoming on Febuary 22. The Star Tribune article implies the reporter talked to Pat Anderson in Montana before Febuary 22. This is an example of news papers trying to beat out their competition. In this case, the Star Tribune proved to be the leader. Although if accuracy is not in the story than the Star Tribune cannot be held accountable for complete investigation of the story.


February 20, 2007

Train Attack in India Kills 66 people

Washington Post Lead: Muneeza Naqvi reported an explosion on a train headed
for Pakistan set off a fire that swept through two cars and killed at least
65 people in an attack that a government minister said was aimed at
undermining the peace process between India and Pakistan. Naqvi gives an
explanation of the attack, it had to do with peace between India and
Pakistan. This lead provides the reader with the who, what, when, where,
and why. Although, Naqvi says it was the government minister who said the
attack was from the peace process between India and Pakistan, Naqvi is
making that claim as well. With the attack being so serious and involving a
lot of people, I personally would be skeptical on what the true motives

New York Times Lead: Somini Sengupta reported a day after two homemade
bombs killed at least 66 people on a train traveling to Pakistan from
India, the governments of both countries on Monday condemned the attack and
pledge that it would not deter their aim of reducing longstanding
hostilities on the subcontinent. Sengupta provided his readers with more of
a objective explanation of the attack. He gives a positive reaction to the
bombings, the governments of both countries pledge that it will not alter
the hostilities between the two countries. I think that Sengupta
diffidently showed the readers what is the most important: the bombing will
not change anything political. I think Sengupta carefully chose this route
because a lot of people were involved and hostilities are a reality. It's
best for a reporter not to play with fire when burned bridges are being

New York Times: Sengupta reports that 13 survivors somehow escaped,
including an infant and Kamruddin, 60, a small thin man from Multan. It was
hard to tell who the victims were and whether they were Indian or
Pakistani. This is very descriptive. I think that intense descriptions such
as this one is important because it puts the reader at the event, the
reader can feel for the victims and their families. It also shows the
reality of terrorism. The NYT also gave a picture of the the two cars of
the Samjhauta Express. I believe that readers NEED to see these sort of
graphic photos because people need to see how gruesome terrorism is and that
citizens cannot ignore these tragedies.

The Washington Post: Naqvi reports, at least 30 passengers who were burned
or injured in the blaze have been hospitalized in the nearby town of
Panipat. Naqvi does not paint a scene of the reader, but simply state the
facts. It's important to report accuracy--that's the job of being a
reporter. But the reporter also has an obligation to show the reader how
tragic this event was and show them why they should care, even though it
was thousand of miles away. The Washington Post did not provide the website
with any photos of the bombings. Once again this is crucial. Whether or
not your readers want to hear about or look at horrible attacks of death
and injury it's important for humanity.

He gives information about the past peaceful talks between India and
Pakistan for three years, saying "yielding little more than accord on
transportation links like the Attari Express. They have fought each other
in three wars since independence from British rule in 1947.

NYT Sengupta gave quotes from railroad minister, president of Pakistan. He
talks about the investigations. He reports that three other bombs were
found in the train's other coaches...a suitcase packed with eight to nine
bottles filled with an unknown liquid. In the attack, bombs went off inside
two coaches, toward the back of the train, shortly after in left Diwana at
11:53. By the time fire trucks arrived, the two coaches were ablaze and
the air smelled of burning plastic a flesh (very descriptive). This last
sentence once again paints the picture of how horrible this attack was. As
a reader I want to know more and how the India's government is going to
handle the situation. And most importantly, if a war or disagreement
between India and Pakistan did happen, I would have a clear understanding
of why India is so pissed off.

The Washington Post: Naqvi investigation reports that because of security
concerns, the train is kept sealed...passenger may have been trapped inside
the burning cars. People who live near the tracks rushed to the train with
buckets of water soon after the fire broke out. The blaze was eventually
extinguished after fire engines arrived.



February 19, 2007

Fossil Exhibit in Kenya

In the Kenya National Museum, mankind's oldest relics: Turkana Boy is
stored in a cabinet. There is much controversy over the skeleton because it
questions evolution vs. creationism. "I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or
anything like it," says Bishop Boniface Adoyo. Archaeologist Richard Leaky
who found the bones said, "Whether Bishop likes or not, Turkana Boy is a
distant relation of his."

I read about the Turkana Boy from the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, both
printed the same exact story on-line. I could not find another news website
that reported the same story. I will focus on reporter Anthony Mitchell and
how he delivered the message.

Mitchell at the beginning of the story said that the Turkana Boy created
controversy of the evolution and creationism debate. He gave quotes from a
bishop, an archaeologist, and a Protestant. As far as, providing the reader
with multiple point of views he did a great job. When a reporter is
covering controversial or serious topics it's crucial to have many sources
who have different things to say. This also makes the reporter to sound
less biased and show objective writing.

Mitchell covered historical evidence, he writes, "Dinosaur fossils and a
bone from an early human ancestor, dating back 7 million years, will also
be on show along with the bones of short-necked giraffes," he adds, "Among
the 160,000 fossils to go on display is an imprint of a lizard left in
sedimentary rock, dating back 200 million years..." Mitchell provides this
information and shows it as a known fact. When any subjective point of view
is written he supports it with a source. For an example, "They provide the
clearest and unrivaled record yet of evolution and origins of man, say
scientists." I believe that Mitchell is letting the reader know that this
is a strong view by scientists, yet there are other point of views on
evolution and creationism.

Mitchell also gives information of the Turkana Boy himself and Kenya's
financing with the project, which I think keep audiences interested. People
who will find this interesting are those who a sick-and-tired of hearing
the evolution debate. Instead of thinking about what is right or wrong,
these people will just think it's cool that archaeologists found the oldest
prehistoric human. I think that providing this insight gives an overall
balance between two rival sides, which I think some people will


Farmington Man Shot

A 22-year-old man was shot four times in his own home Friday morning. When
authorities arrived at his house he was conscious and able to talk. James
A. Jurisch owned the house and has the possibility of losing his lung.
Officers have detained two people for questioning, but have not disclosed
their identities. Neighbors say that the normally quiet cul-de-sac had
visitors stopping by the house for 10 min. at a time. Neighbors also found
beer bottles in their yard and in the street gutter.

Reporter Jim Adams from the Star Tribune gave more details of the accident.
Adam says, " The man, shot twice in a leg and twice in the chest...was
found in the basement of his home." I think that Adams left out the post
important information: the possibility of the shooting being drug-related. I
know that Adams cannot make such a huge claim because police officers don't
know for fact if the shooting was drug-related, but Adams wrote, " The
chief said he didn't know whether the man knew who shot him." This
statement alone makes me the reader think that the reporter is not doing an
suciffient job on getting all parts of the story. Adams could have
researched criminal history and other information about the victim. I
believe that this would make the story more informative and interesting.
The shooting was in small suburb--this is huge! A drug deal that has gone
wrong in a nice small suburb in definitely news worthy and Adams should
have treated the drug deal as super important.

Reporter Federick Melo from the Pioneer Press did a better job on
investigating the accident. Melo wrote, "...visitors stopping by the house
for 10 minutes at a time. Police had been called to the location at least
twice in recent weeks...one neighbor was so alarmed by the frequent
activity that she occasionally videotaped the comings and goings." This
statement implies that Melo did interviewing with the neighbors and police.
Melo also found out what hospital Jurisch was sent to and how he is doing.
Melo also interviewed the victim's grandpa who released his Jursich's full
name. Adams reported that know names have been released yet, implying that
he his main source in the police department. Melo also did not
beat-around-the-bush about the accident being drug related, he just told the

February 17, 2007

Ski Crash in Lustsen, Minn

Bill Jordan, 61, died skiing at Lusten Mountains ski resort. The Ski
Patrol found him unconscious and not breathing just before 11:30 a.m. and
immediately began CPR. He was pronounced dead at Cook County North Shore
Hospital in Grand Marais. He was the owner and operator of the Lake
Superior Sausage Company in Beaver Bay. The accident remaines under

I read an article from the Startribune and from the Pioneer Press. Both
articles summarized and used the exact information. I think both reporters did an accurate representing the situation. They didn't claim to anything that didn't happen or make extreme statements.

Anna Nicole Smith's Will

Anna Nicole Smith died on Feb. 8 this year. Her will says that her fortune
should inherited to her son Daniel, who died last year. Reporter Matt
Sedensky for The Washington Post wrote that the 19-page will did not say
how much Smith was worth. CNN reporter Susan Caniotti said that her fortune
is perhaps $88 million or more. According to Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom, in
the CNN article, the will's language excludes Anna's 5-month-old daughter
DanielLynn from any inheritance.

The CNN article gives more of a definite conclusion about the whole story.
I find this disturbing because in the Washington Post article Matt Sedensky
doesn't say anything is fact because court settlements are still in
process. The Washington Post also used more quotes from the people involved
such as, Ron Roy an attorney for Smith " The judge wanted it produced, but
we won't depend on it for our case," The CNN article takes a more
analytical/summary approach to the case, "Seidlin ordered Stern to appear at
the hearing Tuesday, and he is expected to testify. His lawyer, Krista
Barth, argued unsuccessfully to have him appear by video phone from the
Bahamas, where he is caring fro DanielLynn." Both of these articles were
consistent in this type of writing. I that the Washington Post
provided a better story for the audience that was more accurate. CNN
reported the story and made it sound like everything is already determined,
all that needs to be done are the signatures.

The headliners for these two articles are completely different. The
Washington Post Headline says," Judge Releases Anna Nicole Smith's Will."
CNN headline says, " Anna Nicole Smith's will leaves everything to dead
son." First, the Washington Post shows a more accurate representation of
what really happened. The judge did in fact release her will. CNN did not
show an accurate representation because the will says, "to all children."
We do not know yet, whether or not 5-month-old DanielLynn will be included
in the will. Secondly, the reporter needs to consider sensitivity. It is
unethical for a newsroom to use the phrase, "dead son" it's not being
sympathetic towards the victim's family.

February 16, 2007

The Breach

The New York Times gives a in-depth background of the notorious Robert
Philip Hanssen, who sold secrets to the Russia for more than two decades.
For more than 25 years he worked at the F.B.I., he covertly thrived in that
culture. He in total gave 6,000 pages of intelligence secrets and received
1.4 million dollars. On the February 2001 morning of his arrest, he attended
Mass at a Roman Catholic church where the services were in Latin and many
in the congregation belonged to Opus Dei. Later that day, he dropped a
garbage bag stuffed with intelligence secrets in a Virginia park. He is
sentenced to life in prison. Reporter Manohla Dargis did an interesting job
incorporating the historical background of Robert Hanssen and the new
Hollywood film the "Breach." I found this to be interesting because most
movie reviews/summaries don't show an in-depth look at the "Big Picture."

I think Dargis did a great job in doing combining the two together to make
it more interesting (Not just another movie review). Dargis also mentioned
Stephen Glass, the movie that was made about him called, "Shattered Glass."
Dargris compares the two films because they were both directed by Billy
Ray. Dargis writes, "“Breach� is about secrets and lies, and smart,
arrogant men waylaid by their own pride and pathologies. “Shattered Glass�
has its moments, if not enough of them; as in “Breach,� Mr. Ray’s
unapologetic seriousness is one of the film’s strongest assets". Dargis
writes a very objective piece on the new Hollywood film and supports
potential excitement by analytical and historical information.

In contrast, Time Magazine reporter Richard Schickel writes the article
with a subjective attitude. The first sentence he writes, "As if we don't
have enough worries about national security, Breach obliges us to think
about the deeply weird (and by most of us half-forgotten) case of Robert
Hanssen". The very first sentence makes the reporter sound as if the whole
world worries about national security, which is not true.

He also says, The movie doesn't say, but one rather thinks that, in his
arrogance, he did not. It doesn't toy with the possibility that he may have
wanted to be caught, either. But it would have been logical. Where's the
fun in running circles around the plodding counterspies for a couple of
decades if the story does not come in the end make the newspapers, thus
making them look like fools." This sort of attitude completely makes the
reporter sound like a professional critic, although they never mention any
sort of claim on the website or at the end of the article.

Of the two articles, The New York Times did a better job in showing an
unbiased review of the film. It was more interesting and it actually made me
want to see the film. In the Time magazine, there was an overall arrogance
in the writing that made me not want to see the film and stop reading the
article. I believe when a you are a critic you're not suppose to be
objective but it's important to give two sides of the story--Schickel did
not show any of these characteristics.

February 3, 2007

The state of Virgina apologizes for slavery

The state of Virgina on Friday expresses regret for Virgina's role in slave trade, a significant act of contribution as a state. The state is considering making the 400th anniversaty of Jamestown as proof in showing remorse for the enslavement of millions of Africans and Caribbean islanders during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The first 20 slaves were brought to Jamestown in 1619 and by 1860 there were 20,000 slaves in four Virgina Counties. Del. Donald McEachin whose grandfather was a slave said "Virgina had nothing to do with the end of slavery. It had everything to do with the beginning of slavery." Del. Frank D. Hargrove Sr. heard about the efforts to solve Virgina's race problem and said blacks, "should get over" slavery. He adds, "Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?" A conference committee of senators and delegates will have to be appointed to develop compromise language for proposing an apology for enslaving Africans into slavery. Washington Post reporter Tim Craig wrote a lot about the history of slavery in Virgina. He also quoted a lot of people, it was so often that it was difficult to keep track with who was who. I think if Craig paraphrased the sources rather than directly quoting the transitions between ideas would be smoother. The comments that Hargrove said are so controversial that I believe deserved more attenention than Craig gave, such as, Hargrove. The story gave good background information and had terrific sources. The problem I found was when sources were quoted they didn't support any signigicant ideas that were being written about or enhance the facts. The story turned boring and didn't have any interesting leads.


German torture victim challenges the C.I.A.

Khaled al-Masri a German Lebanese decent man accused the CIA of kidnapping and torturing him for five months in 2003. Masri wants an apology from the U.S. authorities. The German prosecutores have ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents that kidnapped Masri in Macedonia and flew him to Afghanistan. News stories are calling this an example of "extraordinary rendition". BBC News defines, "extraordinary rendition" as a practice whereby the U.S. government flies foreign terror suspects to third countries without judicial process to interrogation or detention. The New York Times defines it has, "in which terrorism suspects are seized and sent for interrogation to other countries, including some in which torture is practiced. I believe that these two definitions are very different. The BBC News focuses on how it's breaking the law, in that the U.S. government authorities are breaking policies and not following the rules. The New York Times focuses on how terrorists are caught and then tortured. With this set in mind both articles are influence by their own definitions. The NYT talks about what happen during the torture process, "he was shackled, beaten and interrogated about alleged ties to Al Qaeda...Masri has asserted that he was interrogated three times inside his prison in Kabul, Afghanistan, by a German who indentified himself as "Sam." The BBC News talks about the emotional effect the torture victim faces today," I'm suffering from stress-this experience has left me traumatised... he is feeling isolated and depressed...his life isn't back to normal, he was tortured, nobody cared about him until now. The trauma is so deep in him, needs a lot of help, not just psychotherapy. Nobody was able to give him a simple job." I believe that the NYT did a better job of explaing what happened than BBC. I'm an American so it's possible that there is a small language barrier and how the news is presented in England.


Art teacher accused of molesting students

Baofeng Wang a 37-year-old art teacher is accused of molesting two of his students. He was arrested in Hainesville, Ill where is now lives. Wang is on a Ramsey County warrant and denies all accusations. The girls accused Wang of fondeling their breasts, forcing them to touch his ecrect penis and have the girls undress, and showing them pornographic material. The two sources that I got the information from was from the Star Tribune (Paul Gustafson) and the Pioneer Press (Shannon Prather). The Pioneer Press gave a very detailed story about what happened and what will happen. Prather reported a lot on what happened to the two girls during their art lessons with Wang. Prather wrote, "Wang fondled her breasts and showed her pornogrpahic photos...her hands on his erect penis and asking her to remove her clothes...Wang rubbed and touched her breasts...Wang wore short shorts that exposed his penis during lessons...Wand told her that if she didn't report the touching, he would refrainf from telling her parents that she wasn't completing her homework." This sort of detail in the story is important but I believe because Prather used so much of the material it became sensational news. Another problem I see with this story is the headliner: Art teacher accuse of molesting two girls in U of M housing. Later in the story the reader finds out that it's unclear on Wang's relationship to the university. Prather should not have used such a bold statement when she is unclear of what really happened. The headliner almost accuses and holds the university for responsibily of the molestations, this boldness and senstationalism I believe puts Prather at risk for creditablitity. The Star Tribune didn't show as much detail and focused more on the facts. For an example Paul Gustafson wrote, "animated pornography...Wang touched her breasts, had her touch his genitals." Gustafson's story was also a lot shorter proving that senstationalism was not part of the "big picture"