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May 7, 2007

Thousands of Mexicans strip for photo shoot

A record of 18,000 people took off their clothes to pose for U.S. photographic artist Spencer Tunick on Sunday in Mexico. Tunick broke his record from 2005 that was 7,000 people naked from Spain.

In the Reuters story reported by Tomas Sarmiento started the third paragraph in a narrative style. He writes, "Directing with a megaphone, Tunick shot a series of pictures with Mexican models simultaneously raising their arms..." This sort of style I think is perfect for this topic because he's talking about art and he is writing in an artistic way.

Sarmiento also wrote about the experiences that the Mexicans went throught in preparing for the photo shoot. He wrote, "Mexicans are not used to showing skin. Most men wear shorts only while on vacation and women ten not to put on miniskirts because of unwanted whistles and states." I think this is a vibrant quote because it's showing the artist in his element, which important when covering arts and entertainiment.

In the Ohio News Network Associated Press reporter Istra Pacheco covered the same story. In the lead second paragraph it talks about what the scene of 18,000 naked people looked like. She wrote, "Standing up to salute, crouching in a fetal positions and lying prone on the tiles of the Zocalo plaza." I think this is an extrodanary way to describe a scene, it's sounds so fascinating. She also captured the voice of the artistest just like reporter Sariento, she writes, "What a moment for the Mexican art scene."

I think both of these reporter did a great job in reporting the art scene. I do think that both reporters should have reported more on Tunicks reason for the photo shoot. The only reason was that he just creates shapes and forms with human bodies. I think that there could have been more of a story. How was this artist capable of gathering 18,000 Mexicans that known for covering up their bodies? I think more of an explanation would have been more interesting in both stories.

82-foot dinosaur found in Australia

Australia Scientists unreveiled bones from two 82-foot behmoths they said were the largest dinosaurs ever found in Australia. Fossilized bones from the two titanosaurs were found in 2005 and 2006 by rancher near the town of Eromanga, 600 miles west fo Brisbane.

USA Today reported by Associated Press used a quote from museum curator Scott Hocknull, "These are the largest bones ever discovered in Australia." He later said that the bones would be the length of two full buses. I like how he used this description because it's hard to visualize what 82-feet tall would be like. The Associated Press also gave the states on where the bones were located, which I don't think was necessary because they used jargon that not the everyday person would use.

Toward the end of the story the Associated Press said that the Titansaurs are among the largest of the prehistoric animals known as sauropods. I don't think this was necessary as well because the whole purpose of the story was to talk about the new found dinosaur, it was distracting. I think the story was pretty short for how much new worthy it was, I was kind of disappointed with the article.

In the Star Tribune article sounded very similar and think this is because there is so little information about the largest dinosaur found in Australia. In the lead and second paragraph it says focused on the location of the dinosaur. It quoted Rancher Mackenzie, "The very first bone we foud was the most exciting because until you actually have it verified by the museum you don't actually know you've got a bone, you think it's a rock." I find this to be an unusal quote to us, but it's kind of funny because it shows the spirit of the diggers--they're enthusiasm.

I think the Star Tribune should have mentioned how the bones were shipped to the museum. They just talked about the location, the museum, and when they found the dinosaur. They never mentioned anything about the transportation, which I think is just as important because the job is just as big--not to mention a huge transportation.

14-year-old girls at MOA

In the Star Tribune lead reported by Richard Meryhew," A 14-year-old from Bloomington was in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center on Saturday after being slashed in the stomach by another teenage girl at the Mall of America.

I think the word, "slash" is too graphic. In covering crime the journalist should respect the victim and their family and that is not being too graphic with the crime.

The Pioneer Press lead reported by Tom Webb, "A 14-year-old Bloomington girl was slashed with a razorlike weapon more than five times at Mall of America on Saturday afternoon, after an argument with another 14-year-old girl near the food court."

I think Webb did a better job with lead because they described the weapon and also told one of the most important elements to the story--the assult was by another 14-year-old girl.

The Star Tribune story goes on about when the event happened in the second paragraph. The first quote that Meryhew uses is from Jim Ryan a commander in charge of inverstagations for the Bloomington Police Department. He writes, "It wasn't somebody lying in wait...and it doesn't appear to be any type of robbery...there is reason to believe the suspect and the victim knew each other." This quote does not enhance the story in any way. The quote is from a inverstagor that uses political language so he is not responsible by his own words/opinion. I don't understand why any journalists uses these types of quotes. They're dry, boring and doesn't provide the reader with any real news.

The Pioneer Press reporter Webb emphasized on how these events can happen anywhere. He quoted two people from the MOA staff and both said that the stabbings could happen anywhere. Basically both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press made a huge deal out of the story, but failed to deliver the news worthy part of the story.

If I were the reporter I would have focused on the victims family or the people who witnessed the stabbing. I would not contact the MOA security or manager to get quotes because of course they're going to feed you some proproganda crap. Webb did mention how there were three nurses that helped the victim at the scene. If I were the reporter I would have tried to talk the nurses and get their point of view about the accident.

Webb ended the story by saying that the mall remained very busy that day except for a small area. Then out of nowhere says, "Mall of America gets 40 million vistitors a year." Which this is fine, but the next sentence he writes a quote from the MOA manager that said things happen everywhere...we have a saftey record...BLAH BLAH BLAH. Because Webb wrote they have so many visitors a year and then supports with a biased source it makes Webb sound biased himself--almost protecting the MOA in fear of losing customers.

The Future of Journalism

As everyone knows journalism is changing rapidly. I havn't thought about my place in the world of journalism AND techonology. Maybe this is because I'm not a huge technology person, I see the advantages of reading the news on the web. A person can interact with the news rather than just read it. I think that reading the news from a newspaper is overall better for our world.

When a person reads from a newspaper they see headlines that catch their interest. Maybe it's a headline that would not normally read but since it's right in front of them and not "X" out a web page, or just click away they will read the story. When a person just receieves emails for only the wanted parts of the news they want, they lack the whole experience of reading a newspaper.

The worst part of journalism in the future is the pace. The pace that is set for journalists now is so fast that journalists have a hard time giving quality work to readers. When I'm in the journalism workfield I think it is my job to combine technology and journalism. I think the older generation did not know how to deal with two extremes--they were dealt with a problem that they had no idea how to solve. Hopefully, my generation will be able to balance technology and journalism.

We'll know if the journalism and technology crisis is solved once journalist jobs are not cut and the younger generation is reading.

Coon Rapids abduction

A police report said that a stanger had abducted and assulted a 12-year-old girl on Friday. The girl was on her way to school bus stop. After that several police officers and State Patrol helicopter crew tried to track down the suspect. In about an hour investigators found a 46-year-old man who was arrested early Saturday.

I read two stories. One from the Star Tribune reported by Tom Ford and the other from the Pioneer Press reported by Dave Orrick.

In the Pioneer Press story Orrick first starts off the lead with a cliche, "The stranger may have been no stranger at all." The second paragraph describes the kidnapper without fully disclousing the person. It says, "He lived within blocks of the schoolgirl he is accussed of abducting Friday morning..." Then finally the reader reads the lead, "On Friday, Coon Rapids police say, he drove up to a 12-year-old girl who was walking to her bus stop and asked her for directions. Then he grabbed her, pulled her inside the SUV, threatened her with a knife and drove off.

These very first few paragraphs fail to meet the standards of an effective lead. The first paragraph is a cliche, which is totally inappropriate for this sort of story. A cliche at best would be used for a light-hearted headliner, or in sports. Not a story about a 12-year-old being abducted. The second paragraph once again fails to meet the readers needs. It teases the reader by not naming the suspect and just re-tells the headliner. YES, we know that there was an abduction....TELL US MORE! Then in the third paragraph Orrick describes the kidnapping without identifying the kidnapper. What was he thinking?

Finally at paragraph 5 Orrick finally says, "On Saturday, Christopher John Mitchell, 46, was arrested on probable cause for kidnapping...." Orrick should have not taken so long to identify Mitchell. Once agian this is a serious story that deserved the attention to a standard Interverted Pyramid style.

In the Star Tribune story Ford writes a much better representation of a standard and respectful story. Ford does a better job, but still doesn't introduce the accused to the readers until the third paragraph. The good thing that Star Tribune did was not indentify Mitchell. Ford writes, "The Star Tribune generally does not name suspects until after they were charged." I think is an important standard to have in a news room because the right to privacy is vital, I think until proven guilty.

What would happen if Mitchell was innocent? The Pioneer Press flashed his mug shot all over its web site. Claiming that police has the abductor. If is innocent, his life would never be the same thanks to the Pioneer Press. I think that the Star Tribune took a responsible approach in indentifying the suspect.

Gunflint Trails are Evacuated

A spreading wildfire prompted officials to issue a mandatory evacuation order on Sunday morning to about 100 people in homes, lodges, and resorts along the last 7 miles of the Gunflint Trail. The Gunflit Trail is on the edge of the Boundary Waters in northeastern Minnesota.

I read two stories. The first from the Star Tribune reported by Bob Von Sternberg and the second from the Pioneer Press reported by the Associated Press.

In the Star Tribune story Sternberg in the second paragraph provided the reader with the second most important facts, which was suppose to happen. He stated how much land was affected, how long the fire lasted and he also paraphases a spokesman from the Interagenct Fire Center. The one thing I would have done differently, I would have added the percentage of how much the fire affected the land. This way it's easier for the reader to consume how much was really damaged. When a journalists uses miles, it's hard to imagine visually how much is 12.5 miles.

Sternberg also uses a dramatic quote, "We're a long ways from controlling it, but were hoping we'll be helped with the wind dying down tonight and tomorrow...but it's still a bad fire situation." I think this quote fits perfectly in the third paragraph, because the reader is just learning all the fire stats and wants to know more about the future of the fire? They may ask how long is this fire going to burn? Sternberg answers those sort of questions in the third paragraph.

At the end of the story Sternberg writes about how 150 firefighters were "attacking" the fire, with three planes, two helicopters, 11 engines and fire crews that were from Michigan. I think this information is the least important was placed in its right spot. But the very last sentence says, "No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire."

This is probably one of the more important facts that should have been in the beginning. Not in the lead but at least in the third paragraph. Sternberg writes about how awful this fire is and how big the fire was, but fails to mention whether or not anyone was hurt. The reader is wants to know the stats on the fire and on the people at the beginning.

In the Pioneer Press story it emphasized on the damages and its costs. Versus in the Star Tribune story it talked about what was being done on the fire. The story even talked about properties that were in danger that were up to $33 million dollars. I think this information is irrelevant because it doesn't matter if a property is worth $120 thousand or $120 million, it doesn't mean that the reader should be more sympatheric toward the more expensive home. The way that the Associate Press worded this sentence implied such biasism.

The Pioneer Press ended the story with a history brief. Once again I feel like this is a nice way to end a story because it doesn't discount the horrific event but reminds readers of the reality and that is re-telling stories from the past. It also doesn't put the least important information at the end. Sometimes when we put the least important information at the end it almost mocks the story. When a serious story is brought upon us everything is important, so saving the least important for the end just seems silly when you actually read the story. It's like,"Hey by the way..." and it's hard to pull that off with serious stories.

Bombings killed 8 U.S. soldiers and 30 Iraqis

In Baghdad, eight American soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb on Sunday. The bombings tolled the highest single-day deaths this year. The deaths were announced on a day when car bombs killed 30 Iraqui civilians.

I read two stories, one from the Washington Post and the other from the New York Times.

In the Washington Post story, reporter Karin Brulliard wrote in the lead about how the deaths in Iraq threaten to deepend "sectarian tensions." Bruillard is taking an aggressive angle, she is stating that the deaths are creating deep tensions. Brulliard needed to verify this statement and she did a great job in doing so. She quotes Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, "All of us believe that in the next 90 days, you'll probably see an increase in American casualities because we are taking the fight to the enemy...this is the only way we can win the fight."

I think Brulliard did great in finding a good quote and supporting it with a reliable source. The problem that I see is that she is taking one opinion from a servicemen and crafting a controversy herself. This is huge because she is being biased. She only quotes Lynch, which proves my point on how she is taking information from one angle and creating it as news. She is setting a scene that there is deeping tension in the Iraq because of these bombinbs. Yes, I know that the war has done a number on soldiers and civilians, but Brullard should fuel the fire by stating an opionion as a fact.

Brulliard goes on about the future of the U.S. forces by quoting Lynch. She writes, "Lynch predicted that by August or September, U.S. forces would have a decisve effect on enemy formations." I would not personally use this quote because once again it's supporting the lead which is purely an opinion.

Although Brulliard uses a better quote in the following paragraph. She writes, "Lynch said he did not feel the same way about Iraq's political process, 'I don't see there will be signficant progress on the government side between now and fall...you can't just build a government overnight." Now this quote produces a much better angle on Lynches point-of-view NOT the point-of-war from Lynches perspective. Even though Lynch is in high ranking he still not a reliable source to get the war's future, UNLESS there were more than just one source.

In the New York Times story, it was reported by the Associated Press. In the lead it says, "Roadside bombs killed eight American soldiers in seperate attacks Sunday in Diyala province and Bagdad, and a car bomb claimed 30 more lives in a wholesale food market in a part of the Iraqi capital where sectarian tensions are on the rise." Once again they say that tensions are on the rise. Maybe they are but how can the journalist prove that tensions are truly there without finding mulitiple sources?

The AP story goes on it talks about past events that produced many deaths. It also quoted Iraqi civilans, which I think is a little better than the Washington Post because it's getting the perspective of the Iraqi people. The quote says," He called the attack 'a terrorist act aimed at creating more sectarian tension and strife." NOW this is right. The journalist was going to the people who are living in the city and who deal with death, injuries, sorrow, and war everyday. A journalist needs to go to the people who witness the ordeals, not a Maj. Gen. who doesn't experience these events at a personal level.

Kenya Jetliner Crash

A Kenya Airways jet with 114 people on board crashed early Saturday. The jet went down near the town of Lolodorf, about 155 miles south of the coastal city of Douala, where it had taken off after midnight. No word was available on survivors. A regional Communications officer, Alex Bayeck said that search planes were flying over the forested area where the airliner gave off a distress signal, but no wreckage had been spotted.

I read two stories. The first, from the Washington Post and the second, The New York Times.

The Washington Post story was reported by Emmanuel Tumanjong. Tumanjong wrote about how the jetliner was found. He wrote about how dozens of rescue workers and journalists walked through a swamp at night but did not find any survivors. I think that he did a great job of creating an immediate news worthy event. What I mean by that is he writes about what was done to find the victims and what needs to be done. The information was written so simplistic which I think creates an ergency. He also paraphrases reporters who at the scene, which you don't read too often.

Tumanjong than summarizes what happened in the crash. What he added to the summary was that the cause of the crash is still unclear. He does a great job on explaining what happened in the following paragraphs, making up for the unclear causation. This shows the readers that the reporting is thorough and gives insight from many different angles. He also avoided telling too much background too soon. This is important because it's not forcing the reader to understand the whole event all at once. If Tumanjong would have given too much information in the second paragraph it would have overwhlemed the reader and the reader would have moved on to another story.

The New York Times story was reported by the Associated Press. The story is from May 5, so it does not talk about how the jetliner was found, but about the crash its self. In the last paragraph, it says, "The flight departed Douala at 12:05 a.m. and was to arrive in Nairobi at 6:15 a.m." I think that this information should have been in the second paragraph. It should have been in the second paragraph because it's vital information about the story. Information that does not matter should be at the end, the time the jetliner was suppose to land is important. Also toward the end was the number of people involved in the crash, again this is important information that should have been placed in the lead. Maybe if this was a follow story it could be placed toward the end, but it was not.

French President Sarkozy Wins

On May 6 Nicolas Sakozy was elected French president for 5 years. I read two stories one from the New York TImes and the other the Washington Post.

The Lead.

The Washington Post reporter John Anderson, talked about how the president's father is a Hungarian immigrant. That the president is promising a new generation of leadership to France and restore its self-respect and reinvigorate ties with the U.S. and Europe. I think Anderson could have left out that Sarkozy's father is Hungarian. It's sort of racist, the fact that he is of Hungarian decent is irrelevent. Anderson also used the present tense toward the end of the lead. Journalists should avoid using present tense in a lead because the event ended by the time I read it.

The New York Times reporter Katrin Bennhold, talked about how Sarkozy is an immigrant's son who had the French presidency in his sights for three decades, and won a victory that would keep him in power for the next five years. I think Bennhold wrote a better lead than Anderson because it grabed my attention better. First because Bennhold told an interesting detail--his father wanted him to be president for the past few decades. WOW! With that said I just wanted to keep reading. Bennhold also used the word immigrant rather than Hungarian, which I personally sounds much better.

In the second Paragraph.

Anderson from the Washington Post wrote, "Sarkozy, a member of the ruling party and France's former top law-enforcement officer, defeated Socialist Segolene Royal, who waged a determined battle to become France's first female of state." He also said that Sarkozy won by a 53 to 47 vote. In the first sentence Anderson did write the second most important information. I do that the way he writes it could have been more effective. The part of the sentence, "...who waged a determined battle to become France's first female..." Well I'm sure that it true, but Anderson doesn't know for sure if she was really that determined to become the first female, she could have been more determined to do something else. Rather than being the first female, maybe be the first to change France in significantly.

Bennhold wrote a much better second paragraph, although I do think it's too wordy. She writes, "With 86 percent of the vote counted, the consevative former interior minister won 53.3 percent...His socialist rival, recieved 46.7 percent, ending her quest to become France's first woman president and dealing a severe blow to her party. I like this lead because Bennhold actually writes the exact stats on the election, which I think is important when the race was so close. I also like how she used the word, "quest" when refering to Segolene Royal. It makes more sense than to say determined because any presidential nomminee is on a quest. I also like how she ended the second paragraph by saying, "severe blow to her party." Yes, it sounds melodramatic, but I still want to read on. Bennhold shows the conflict and ends it perfectly.

The first quote.

The Washingtion Post quotes Sarkozy. Anderson quotes Sarkozy, "voters have chosen to break with the habits and behavior of the past." This quote is great, I think it shows Sarkozy's real attitude and personality, which is important because a journalists is providing the reader with only a snap shot of reality. Anderson does a fine job capturing this.

Bennhold uses a superficial quote that does not grab the reader. She quotes Sarkozy, "I love France as one loves a dear being." This quote is weak and does let the reader see Sarkozy's real personality or attitude, it just sounds so political.


May 6, 2007

Tornado in Kansas

In southwestern Kansas a dozen tornadoes struck down in a town called Greensburg. It left nine people dead and more than 60 others injured. The National Weather Service reported "double digits" of tornados in six counties, and meteorologists described the tornados as strong winds that raced up to 110 miles an hour. Strong winds lifted trucks and raked rooftops, plowing through businesses and houses.

I read two stories. The first story is from the Washington Post and reported by Peter Slevin. The second story is from the New York Times and reported by Reuters.

The Washington Post story emphasized on the damages. Slevin writes, "The tornado knocked out power and communications leaving residents of the town of 1,500 to search in darkness for neighbors and friends. Emergency vehicles lay tangled, and key buildings were badly damaged, including the elementary school, high school, city hall and emergency operations center."

The language that Slevin uses is powerful, yet melodramatic. The words he uses to set-up the scene in my opinion over do it, "knocked out," "badly" and "tangled."

Slevin goes on chronologically about what happened in the town of Greensburg. I think this a great way to interest the reader and put them in the story. If Slevin would have used an hourglass form I think there could be a bigger risk in having an unsympathetic undertone because it would be hard to put the reader into the story.

He also quotes Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a meteorologist, and a city administrator to explain the natural disaster. At the end he reports on what is being done about survivors, "By nightfall Saturday, hundreds of people were settling into Red Cross shelters elsewhere, many taken by waves of school buses." I think this is an awkward way to end a serious story. I personally would have talked about the survivors themselves and how they feel or what their experiences were, not how they shoved into a school bus.

In the middle of the New York Times story in all caps it reads, "HOSPITAL, SCHOOLS DESTROYED" Then the first sentence says, "Greensburg's hospital and schools were destroyed." That is all the information about the Hospital and schools. I find it odd that the Times would make hype something and not mention anything about it.

The first thing that the Times wrote that the Washington Post left out was information on the victims. Reuters wrote, "There's a lot of shock and concern," said a Red Cross volunteer. "There's a lot of concern for family members they can't locate." They also wrote about how Greensburg residents were served sloppy Joes for lunch and handed out stuffed animals to the youngest survivors and oxygen and medication to the oldest.

The second thing that the Times wrote about and the Washington Post left out is the statistics on tornados it says, "Tornadoes kill about 70 people on average in the United States each year. The worst cluster came on April 3 and 4 1974, when 307 people were killed by 148 tornadoes in 13 states. The most violent single tornado appeared on March 18, 1925, killing 689 people as it ran from Missouri across southern Illinois into Indiana.

I like it how the Times talk about the history because it reminds the reader the reality of tornadoes and how other people in different times have been greatly affected. Not only is it a reminder of the past and the reader into reality, but it also ends the story in a nice tone- it's not dramatic, short or dull.