January 2012 Archives

Lead Analysis

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By Shannon Corrigan

A lead that stood out to me as being exceptional is from the Washington Post's story on Jack Jablonski. The lead is as follows: "Swishing skates. Clacking sticks. Pucks pinging off the goal pipe. The sound of hockey is unmistakable." This is not a straightforward hard-news lead, but rather a sensational lead. The story is about a 16-year-old hockey player who was paralyzed after being checked through the glass at a junior varsity hockey game, and his family's attempt to make hockey safer. It's a news story that is used to provoke emotion and inspire the reader, not necessarily to simply lay out the facts. The reporter chose this lead to do just that, to engage and relate to the reader, in order to tell a heartfelt, inspirational story.

This lead doesn't use the basic hard-news lead elements we talked about in class. It provides imagery into the scene of a hockey arena, basically what the story is focused on. It doesn't describe when, why, or how, nor does it need to. The lead itself is specific. It describes the specific sounds of hockey, provoking the reader to hear the sounds while reading.

The title of this piece is "Jack's Journey: As Minneapolis Teen Tries to Walk Again, Mission to Make Hockey Safer Moves On." Instead of the lead telling us about the story, the title takes care of the who, what, and why. This reporter developed this lead to engage the reader whose attention was caught by the title.

Washington Post's Jack Jablonski Story

Christian Louboutin and the Red Sole

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By Shannon Corrigan

The famous French shoemaker Christian Louboutin appeared in a federal appellate court on Tuesday to claim the exclusive right to the iconic red sole of his high-end designs, news sources report.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Louboutin and his lawyer, Harley Lewin, were in appellate court to reverse a lower-ruling that suggested that Louboutin should not be allowed to hold a trademark for it famous red sole designs.

The Wall Street Journal reports "Christian Louboutin has created one of the more iconic trademarks of the 21st century," argued attorney Harley Lewin, before a three-judge panel. "Louboutin turned a pedestrian item into a thing of beauty."

"Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette," wrote Judge Marrero in his opinion, published in the Wall Street Journal. "Louboutin would thus be able to market a total outfit in red, while other designers would not."

The New York Times reports that the law does not always protect fashion design, but rather the rights of branding. Louboutin has successfully developed the red sole as an image of his brand. "Since a main purpose of trademark law is to protect one's investment in reputation, Louboutin's sole-saving efforts are understandable," the New York Times reports.

A law professor at Fordham University and an expert in law and fashion who has been following the case, Susan Scafidi, said to the Wall Street Journal that she hoped the appellate court would correct Judge Marrero in this hearing, who she believes "colored well outside the lines."

"There are broader issues raised by this case, and they're that fashion designs really have no protection," she told the Wall Street Journal. "The industry has been trying for 100 years, but intellectual property law still stops right at fashion's door."

Obama's Reveals Plan for College Costs

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By Shannon Corrigan

President Obama is proposing a financial aid overhaul that for the first time would tie colleges' eligibility for campus-based aid programs -- Perkins loans, work-study jobs and supplemental grants for low-income students -- to the institutions' success in improving affordability and value for students, administration officials told the New York Times.

In a speech to the University of Michigan Friday morning, Obama outlined his plan increasing Perkins loans from $1 million to $8 million. The president also announced plans to create a $1 billion grant competition encouraging states to contain public tuition rates, among others, CNN reports.

In addition to the new campus-based aid programs, the administration announced plans the push Congress to maintain low interest rates for current student loan borrowers, and double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years, CNN reports.

As the New York Times reported these changes would each require congressional approval.

In President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, he said "Let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down," as the New York Times stated.

There is some opposition from education experts who say that by tying aid to cost, such as what Obama proposes, may lead to lower-quality education with larger class sizes. They also worry that those institutions that are under the most pressure to raise tuition could be further hurt by losing access to some federal aid, the New York Times reports.

U.S. Rescues Two from Pirates in Somali Raid

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By Shannon Corrigan

During a U.S. Military raid in the Somali village of Galkayo, troops rescued a U.S. aid worker and her Danish colleague, after months of imprisonment.

On October 25, Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, the Danish aid worker, were kidnapped by two truckloads of gunmen as they headed to the airport in Galkayo. Both were working for the Danish Refugee Council, one of the few Western organization still operating in the after. As they finished up a workshop on land mines, they were kidnapped reported the New York Times.

The New York Times reports that the pirates have held hostages for months, often in punishing condition with little food, water or shelter, and past ransoms have topped more than $10 million.

After receiving "actionable intelligence" that Buchanan's health was quickly deteriorating, American officials said they were moved to strike "The gunmen had just refused $1.5 million to let the two hostages go, Somali elders said, and ransom negotiations had ground to a halt," the New York Times reports.

U.S. Special operations forces parachuted into Somalia Wednesday morning, and then advanced on foot to where the gunmen were holding Buchanan and Thisted hostage. The nine gunmen holding the hostages were killed, officials said CNN reports.
"For the American military, the mission was characterized by the same ruthless efficiency--and possible good luck--as the raid on Osama bin Laden in May, which was carried out by commandos from the same elite unit" The New York Times reports.

Pentagon officials said President Obama had personally approved the rescue plan and raid, and called several meetings on the case since the two aid workers were kidnapped. "As commander in chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission" President Obama said in a statement on Wednesday the New York Times reports.

"The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice," Obama said. "This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people" CNN reports.

Jack Jablonski and the Mission to Make Hockey Safer

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By Shannon Corrigan

After a serious injury that cost him his ability to walk, 16-year-old Jack Jablonski and his family develop the mission to make hockey safer.

While playing hockey for his high school junior varsity team Dec. 30, Jablonski was checked from behind and thrown through the glass. The hit severed his spinal cord, and paralyzed him instantly.

"Every time you hear that crash into the boards, you just cringe and pray to God that child gets up," his mother, Leslie Jablonski, told the Washington Post. "This time, when it was mine who went down, I can't even explain how I felt. When he didn't get up, I knew something was wrong. When I went out onto the ice, and he said, 'Mom, I can't move,' I almost collapsed on top of him."

The injury has inspired the family to promote change to eliminate the unnecessary roughness from the game. The Jablonskis have asked hockey teams and players to take "Jack's Pledge," an online vow to help achieve their goals. With this, they hope to limit the hitting, and make it a more skillful sport, the Washington Post reports.

My Fox Twin Cities reports that according to Minnesota Hockey, by taking Jack's Pledge, players and coaches "commit to knowing the rules of hockey and playing by a strict interpretation of the rules. Players pledge to do their best to avoid penalties and situations that lead to dangerous plays and unsafe situations. Coaches commit to teaching the rules of hockey, promoting strategies that minimize risk to all players and emphasizing clean play and a safe environment."

The Minnesota Hockey Organization and the Minnesota State High School League are working to develop rules and increase punishments surrounding checking, in hopes of avoiding future injuries.

Oregon Girl, 6, Swept Down Frigid Oregon River

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By Shannon Corrigan

Searchers continue to examine the freezing Clackamas River on Tuesday, pursuing the search for the 6 year-old girl who fell and was swept away, according to recent news reports.

Vinesa Snegur, a first-grader in Portland, had traveled to a remote part of Mt. Hood National Park with her parents Sunday to play in the snow, when Vinesa accidentally tumbled into the Clackamas River, according to Clackamas County Sheriff Sgt. James Rhodes ABC News reports.

The girl's father chased after her in a failed attempt to keep up as his daughter disappeared into the swollen river. Vinesa's parents continued to search desperately, but with no success the couple traveled back to their vehicle to call for help. With no cell phone service in the area, they drove seven miles until they reached a ranger station, from which they dialed 911, as ABC News reports.

Since Sunday, 50 paid and volunteer searchers have been searching the river and near-by woods in the area in hopes of finding the little girl.

"It's a never-quit attitude," Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Rhodes told the Los Angeles Times. "The question I keep getting is, 'When does it become a recovery?' That's not something you're going to hear us say. It is a search for Vinesa. We're going to provide her every opportunity and deploy every appropriate resource we can as safely as we can to return Vinesa to her family."

Searchers were disadvantaged Tuesday not only by the continued rain, but by low-hanging clouds that made it impossible to fly a National Guard helicopter equipped with heat-seeking infrared equipment, as the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Last night we scaled back for safety reasons -- we can't be in or near the water after dark," Rhodes said. "But at daybreak today we were back at it again at full force."

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